Pristina, Kosova 9 August 2004
At the boarder between Serbia and Kosova we were met by United Nations
Security people who sped our process of entering the region. Every tenth
person has on a uniform. UN vehicles and NGOs are abundant. Upon entering
Pristina on a very rainy Sunday we wove our way through flooded streets,
numerous noisy wedding processions and thick traffic with determined
drivers. 27 bicycles created more confussion. The group is staying inside
the church of the Seventh Day Adventist in the middle of the city. The room
is small, crowded but dry and secure. Three mosques are nearby sounding
prayers. Small overcrowded cafes serve coffee and tea. Burek, a meat or
cheese pie is offered at many kiosks. The markets is full of large
quantities of fresh fruits and vegetables. Everyone has commented on their
feeling of safety with many going into the town in the evening for dinner
and drinks. Musulim habit is not strong but obvious.
The political tension in the region is still raw. This is apparent in the
bombed and burned churches and mosques we have seen. Our group has been
instructed to not use Slavic languages, only English.
We had a climb in elevation of 600 meters over 30 km to reach the mountain
pass to the boarder. The climbs were steep and long. A 10% grades 7 km long
and another 8% grade 2 km long. The down was equal. With the added feature
of heavy rain the holes in the road became invisible causing dangerous
riding conditions. Hitting a hole at the sped of 50 km per hour can cause
the bike to buck. One rider fell but was not hurt.
John Dennis Clark 111