(By Chiara Tulp)
As some of you might have read in the other posts, during our ten days in Kosovo one of our main challenges was to juggle Pristina nightlife with days packed with meetings. We often spent hours sitting in rooms without air conditioning just to go back out into the burning sun. So, what better way to freshen up than to sit down on one of the many lovely terraces Kosovo’s cities have to offer and enjoy some coffee and fresh orange juice?
Spending the days in cafés is a big part of Kosovo’s culture and social life. If you are wondering how it is possible that all cafés are filled with people pretty much any time of the day - we were wondering the same thing. It turns out that this lovely way of socializing and enjoying the day is closely related to the high rates of unemployment in Kosovo. The numbers we found ranged between 45 and 55 percent oft he overall population and 60 to 70 percent oft he youth being unemployed. The next question we had was how the people in Kosovo can afford to spend their time in cafés drinking coffee without a steady income. The answer is simple. A lot of money is flowing back into Kosovo from the diaspora living abroad, in countries such as Germany, Turkey or Switzerland. The fact that this is where the money goes is perceived differently. On the one hand people say that it is good because, well, at least it is spent and goes back into the economy. On the other hand, some are very frustrated by this behavior, because they believe the way to get the economy back on track is to increase employment.
On the positive note, this lifestyle makes for a very vibrant social life. Especially if you speak English with each other people sitting on the table next to you are likely to start a conversation. And trust me, they have very interesting stories to tell, and they will give you the best tips on which areas of Pristina and Kosovo you should visit. There was only one problem; you might not always get the coffee you ordered. During our stay it took Olafs about 5 days to find out how to get a cappuccino just the way he wants it, which could leave him let’s say slightly frustrated. So let me translate the language of coffee for you. If you order a classic cappuccino you have a 90 percent of chance of getting an extra thick layer of chocolate syrup on top, which sounds lovely, but apparently there are those who are not keen on chocolate in their coffee. So his next attempt was to order espresso, which in Kosovo usually comes in a small cup with milk froth. If you order a cappuccino and the waiter asks you if you want milk with it, he probably means a huge layer of cream on top of your cappuccino. Luckily some cafés, especially in areas where a lot of internationals work, the coffeemenu might have pictures. So order from the pictures rather than from your knowledge of coffee terms. After five days Olafs had almost given up hope and just reduced his order to plain coffee. And surprise, he actually got a real cappuccino! So let me sum this up for you: Espresso means Espresso Macchiato, Coffee means cappucchino, cappucchino usually means an extra layer of chocolate syrup, cappucchino with milk means cappuccino with extra cream, and don’t ask me what you get when you order a latte macchiato, because I haven’t quite figured out what we got. It could probably best be described as a giant café au lait, or koffie verkeerd. So, bare this in mind when you plan your next holiday in Kosovo.