Visiting the Republic of Kosovo

I hadn't actually planned to visit Kosovo this day but the friendly kids I asked for directions to central Albania sent me straight to the Kosovo border!!! 

 Check point in mirror. 

Check point in mirror. 

Easy crossing, usual passport and bike rego and insurance check. Then I was invited for coffee by the supervisor, so off I trot accepting bottled water instead.  

 

 It didn't take me too long to figure out his ulterior motive. 😩😩

It didn't take me too long to figure out his ulterior motive. 😩😩

I move on and stop in the first major town. Gjakova. It has an amazing bridge, I'd not seen one like this before. Since then though, I have seen several more. 

 

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 I keep asking but I can't find out much about the history of this bridge. 

I keep asking but I can't find out much about the history of this bridge. 

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I met some local lads by the bridge and they took me for coffee also. More bottled water and a visit to the loo!! 

These young men, one Moslem and one Christian are good friends and their different cultures and faiths makes no difference. However they did say that they prefer not to do business with the Serbs that live in town. The town has many mosques and churches and even though it all looks a bit impoverished the people seem happy. The memory of the fighting and atrocities of 1999 will never be forgotten by them though. Not far from the bridge is the remains of the Serbian military base that was disassembled by NATO and President Clinton.  

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The younger of these two fellows has built himself a cafe racer from an old Honda 400 twin. From his photos he's done a brilliant job, but it's in pieces again as he had a problem with the gudgeon pin. 

 some of his bike bits 

some of his bike bits 

 his own design for a tattoo. It's a stylised version of the Albanian national symbol, double headed eagle.

his own design for a tattoo. It's a stylised version of the Albanian national symbol, double headed eagle.

Both the young men regard themselves as Albanian, as many in Kosovo do. They are hoping their government will negotiate with Albania to make border crossings more seamless for them, much like the idea of the schengen group of countries in Europe. 

Both ese men work in their respective family businesses. The older young man wanting to become a lawyer, but tertiary education opportunities in Kosovo are limited.  

 towns in tassie or anywhere in fact that are small enough to allow tractors down the Main Street are my kind of towns. 

towns in tassie or anywhere in fact that are small enough to allow tractors down the Main Street are my kind of towns. 

 another tractor moment for me 

another tractor moment for me 

 Main Street of Gjakova, Kosovo. 

Main Street of Gjakova, Kosovo.