Monday, June 13, 2016

Allez allez allez

This weekend was a bit less hectic and intense than the week before. We mainly engaged in discovering the Kosovar culture. On Sunday we went to Prizren for a day-trip. Alongside Albanian and Serbian, this city in the southwest of Kosovo has Turkish as an official language. I indeed attempted to speak Turkish with our local tour guide. Coincidentally, I met a Turkish woman who was on a trip to Skopje and went to Prizren for the day. Prior to the Turkish customary selfie that followed, the group had visited an Orthodox church and the Kalaja (fortress). The next site were Our Lady of Ljeviš, which is an Serbian Orthodox church and the Sinan Pasha mosque. It was fascinating to see an Orthodox church and a mosque close to one another. In other historic cities, such as Istanbul, you can witness this all the time, but here, in a post-conflict state like Kosovo it was an entirely different experience. It does, however, reflect the role of religion under the Ottoman Empire; everyone was free to practice whatever faith they pleased, but for convenience reasons many Albanians chose to covert to Islam. Still, the Ottomans did destroy monasteries and churches when conquering Prizren. Fortunately, many monuments were preserved and repaired so that we can appreciate them now.

After the historical landmarks, it was time for one of the primary needs for humans: food. We settled at a local eating-house and had delicious cevap and qofte. The food reminded me of the food in Turkey. The Albanian/Balkan kitchen seems to be very similar to the Turkish kitchen, which some uncanny resemblances. I coined this style of cuisine ‘Ottoman’ because it can also be found in parts of the Middle East.

Fun fact #71: The Balkan-style burek are notorious in Turkey.

Because everyone wanted an Albanian stamp in his or her passport, we decided to cross the border to Albania, only to find that the restaurant we intended to visit did not possess the capacity for our group. Meanwhile, it was quickly discovered that Turkey had lost its match against Croatia, which infuriated somewhat bothered yours truly. Anyway, luckily we were able to find another culinary establishment a bit further down the road. And wow, the view was just stunning. After an extensive game of Werewolves, we had a nice dinner. With all the little brains gathered around the table, except for Shelby who was very zealously writing a piece for Scriptus, it was a great evening.

I am dreading for this course to be over. I could stay in Kosovo for ages. Love this group.

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