During my adventures through Europe last (Australian) winter, I managed to make it to the rather peculiar destinations of Macedonia and Kosovo, and honestly I have no idea what to write about either…
They’re puzzling places, with small, young populations (I have it on good authority that Prishtinë has the youngest population in Europe) that in a way create a fantastic vibrancy, but as with many of the former Yugoslav states there’s a palpable struggle to make the countries function independantly. Both are constantly seeking an identity, and both, in their own way, are finding it bloody hard; Skopje was in the midst of an obsession with nation-building monuments (although I’m not sure the populous shares the enthusiasm) and Kosovo is yet to concretely establish it’s very existance, given mostly to Serbia’s insistance that it remains their territory.
Then there’s the very, very strange issue of Macedonia’s name (‘Republic of Macedonia’ or ‘The Former Yogoslav Republic of Macedonia’) and Greece. Google it.
They’re complex and contradictory places that I haven’t even come close to unravelling, and for better or worse I feel are going to see immense change over the next decade.
They’re also remarkably beautiful, and home to some of the most fascinating people I’ve met while travelling.
And they make very good coffee.