Saturday, February 19, 2011

Balkan trip day 13: About Bill Clinton and a Babylonian situation

Today I wanted to learn more about Pristina and it's surroundings. During my visit in December I learned a lot about the political, social and economic situation of Kosovo by the meetings with politicians, youth leaders and representatives of international institutions. Now I wanted to learn more about Pristina and its surroundings.

Ruzhdi and his friend Jetmir from Macedonia showed us the most beautiful places in Pristina. They told more about the places and their opinion about the sights. Although Pristina is a nice city also you could see the consequences of the war. There are a lot of people still missing. They were taken away from their homes. They were transported to unknown places and no-one heard from then since then. The many pictures of the persons that were missed were put on a fence close to there assembly building.

At the other side from the road and further on you find interesting places like the old mosque, the central library and the new cathedral that is being built. Also we visited a small museum with on the ground floor old archeological findings dating back to 4000 BC. The first floor was mostly sponsored by the US state department and told about the history of the United States from their founding fathers and about the road they paved towards the declaration of the independence of Kosovo.

Although the museum was nice, I think that it would be good if there would be a section about the rich culture and traditions of the different groups living in Kosovo. I think personally that this would be very enriching.

Another interesting place was the Bill Clinton square where a big statue of the former US president is laughing and waving to the people walking by. I notices however that is hands were disproportionate with the rest of his body. Did the artist want to communicate something with this symbolically.

After a drink we went to the beautiful caves of Kosovo. The stalagmites and the stalactites were not only astonishing but the explanations of the guide who told many stories and legends connecting with them, made the cave also very special and even mysterious.After this visit we went home and enjoyed a traditional quick dinner. After this we drank the best Machiatto coffee there is (Kosovo is really recommendable for it's Machiatto!). The father of Ruzhdi joined us as well as a cousin who spoke Dutch because he lived in the Netherlands a long time ago, actually a few streets from the place where Auke lived (as he found out). Fortunately Auke did not force him to speak in the Groninger dialect to avoid a complete Babylonian situation.

After this I went to work a bit in the apartment where I stayed. Later on the evening I had a meeting with Ruzhdi, Remy (his brother) and Jetmir to discuss about the project they want to do in Kosovo. This as a preparation for the meeting with the representative of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) that we would have the next morning.

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