As always, our thinking is determined by prejudices. So also about Kosovo. Entry into the country is completely hassle-free. As we have already learned in advance, the introduction of the car is not a problem. We briefly show the passport and the vehicle registration is already waved through.
You always think of yourself as incredibly impartial, but you’re a liar to yourself. You always have prejudices, even if you don’t admit it to others or to yourself. That’s how I feel with Kosovo and again and again in other countries, such as Russia. Either you have no or bad associations with countries that you know little about or that often appear in bad press.
The Republic of Kosovo is not an autonomous country per se. Although it proclaimed its independence in 2008, recognized by 115 of the 183 countries that make up the United Nations, the country’s territorial status remains a matter of dispute. Serbia claims the region as a result of the dissolution of Yugoslavia and the war in Kosovo. Officially, Kosovo continues to be in the company of unrecognized autonomous states with Transnistria, Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Nagorno-Karabakh
From the Albanian Valbona valley we drive into Kosovo and I expect an unspectacular landscape, destroyed by countless wars. For the time being, behind the border there is only a landscape of mountains and fields. I’m waiting for the picture of burned-out wrecks of tanks and ruins of houses, like I saw in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Our journey continues and we reach the first villages behind the fields, when it dawns on me that the landscape, which in my mind bears a strong resemblance to Steven Spielberg’s “Private James Ryan”, will no longer come. The roads are far better than in Albania and traffic is relaxed. The villages look so fresh and clean that every Swabian would green with envy. The villages even look like in the “Ländle” and on the streets every second car actually has an Esslinger or Stuttgart license plate. I really didn’t expect that…
In Kosovo you pay with euros. Although the country is not part of the European Monetary Union, this does not prevent Kosovars from using the euro as a safe means of payment in their country.
The hills sway in gentle curves in lush greenery in the field of view. There is also no trace of the sparseness of Albania here, the vegetation is entirely Central European.
On a street we see a cow in front of us, which is blocking the roadway by constantly rotating around itself in a small radius. I notice that a rope has wrapped around her neck around her foot. I don’t hesitate and cut it free with a knife, whereupon the cow trotts down the street relaxed.
We drive through other villages and admire the German house architecture. Many houses are still missing the plaster and you can tell how new the buildings are. Nevertheless, it looks like a bourgeois new development area in Leonberg. The cars also do not have the usual damage such as scratches, dents, scrapes, dents or missing bonnets, as in Albania.
Only in the town of Peja do we encounter heavy traffic. But it’s not crazy here and there are no wrong-way drivers coming towards us in the middle of the street.
When we reach the green again after a while, we notice that a lot of cows have the “problem” that their necks are tied together with their feet. We have the vague suspicion that this was not an unfortunate coincidence at first, but ice-cold intention. Cold sweat runs down our backs at the thought that we now owe the Kosovo Albanian mafia a cow, and we step on the gas. Ah yes, the prejudices, you can’t eradicate them…
We drive back up the mountains towards Montenegro and stop at a cafe. We drink an espresso at German prices and enjoy the view over half of the whole of Kosovo. For the first time on our trip it starts to rain lightly and we think that even the country’s weather was imported from Germany.