Belmont Club

On the road

Michael Totten continues on the Road to Kosovo.  What makes a trip in those parts singular is that the borders along the way are apparently mostly human in nature — demarcated by communities rather than lines on the map. Moreover they were shifting.  So unlike most travel stories in which the landscape is fixed, Totten’s trip through Albania, Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo is full of unexpected encounters and he finds he has crossed the invisible line from place into the other.  So in this world of GPS navigation, the only way to find out what was ahead was often to resort to the time-tested method of asking around.  Is it safe to continue into North Mitrovica? No map will help you here. Try asking someone you meet on the road.

Two days later, Sean and I met two American police officers in the charming Ottoman-era city of Prizren. He and I still hadn’t figured out the real story in North Mitrovica, and figured these men might know. One was from Texas and spoke in a very slow drawl. The other was from Southern California.

“Was it dangerous for us in North Mitrovica?” Sean said.

“Yes,” the American police officer from California said. “There are some real extremists up there, and it only takes one to ruin your night.”

“The road is open now, though,” Sean said. “So the situation has been resolved?”

“No,” the officer said. “This is by no means resolved. Nothing in Kosovo has been resolved. We’re at the very beginning of a new stage here.”