When I got on the plane in Budapest to return to Pristina, one of the airline employees who checks your passport and ticket as you go through security asked me where I was going. I said, “Kosovo” his response was “Nice place,” …short pause… “Just kidding.” This both amused and annoyed me. It amused me because when non-native English speakers try to make jokes in English, invariably their timing is off and it isn’t funny, which in a way is kind of funny for different reasons.
It annoyed me because, while Pristina may be no Budapest, it doesn’t suck. People are always short changing Kosovo. Part of that is the fault of the people who live here, they won’t pick up their trash, they smoke everywhere and planning doesn’t seem to be their strong suit (example: they have torn up all the roads and all the sidewalks at the same time so you can’t easily walk or drive anywhere right now, why not do it in phases?), but all-in-all life in Pristina isn’t so bad.
What does this rant have to do with Novo Brdo? I am spelling it correctly by the way. Nothing really, I guess, except Novo Brdo is a cool place and it is in Kosovo, just like Prizren is an attractive city, Ragova is a beautiful valley and the Scharr mountains are a fine looking mountain range. So quit diss’ing Kosovo, it is the size of a big American county, your expectations have to be in line with that.
….Anyway… I rode with a friend of mine to Novo Brdo a couple of Saturdays ago. I have wanted to go there and she was going to scout out a location for an Embassy social event and called and asked me to go along. Novo Brdo is about a 40 minute drive from Pristina, according to Google Earth, as the crow flies it is only about 13 miles east (I can’t believe this is correct). Nothing here is as the crow flies. As we headed out of town it began to cloud up, we made it to the site of the planned picnic at a little restaurant on the mountain side just west of and overlooking the ruins at Novo Brdo. We finished our business there before the rain started. Unfortunately by the time we got to the fortress it was raining lightly. I still walked around and explored a bit and decided this would definitely be a place to return to when the weather was better. About the time we left the castle the rain stopped.
On the way back to Pristina we drove through a small Serb village and decided to take a detour and check out some of the interesting looking barns on some of the farms surrounding the village. The people in the country here definitely live a hard life. The electrical power in Kosovo is not reliable outside of Pristina and in the countryside they often go without for fairly long periods of time. Many of the people in the countryside are subsistence farmers. It may look sort of romantic to drive around and look at their houses and farms but I would not want to have to actually live their lives.