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Getting to Kosovo: an Ex-pat's struggle to cross boarders

1 Kudo
The richness of the journey was in getting there. As a history major in University, I was always fond of the different boarder disputes and history throughout Eastern Europe. A few other teachers and I decided that we should test the boarders and explore some history by trying to make our way from Bulgaria to Kosovo.However, when one looks at the map on Google, you cannot simply drive directly to Prishtina, for the "dotted-line" outlining Kosovo indicates that the disputed boarder between Kosovo and Serbia would make our journey more difficult.After some research, we realized that if you enter Kosovo from Serbia and exit through Serbia, as Americans, we should be fine. However, we found that no company would allow for us to drive across these disputed boarders.So we decided to play the map game and go a round-about-way. We rented a car, drove to Nis in serbia, and took an early bus in the morning that would allegedly drop us off in Pristina. What we learned is that because of the disputed boarders, we had to take a bus company that would drive through Prishtina on its way to a Serbian town located within Kosovo (This was recognized as Serbia by the Serbs). We boarded the bus and sheepeshly asked the driver to drop us in Prishtina. He looked away, waved us off and we sat in the back of the bus- understanding his movements as a confirmation.As the bus ride began we started to worry about approaching the Kosovo boarder. With a bus full of Serbs, we didn't know if we should indicate that we were headed there. We approached boarder control and on came the Kosovo Policeman. He scowled as he took the cards from the other passengers, but stopped suddenly as he reached the three Americans in the back.He looked at us, "American?" he said excitedly. "Welcome to Kosovo!" He announced. The whole bus turned and looked at us. Trying to brush it off I smiled, "uhh...thank you we're excited to be here". "Thank you for everything..." he said and trailed off the bus back to the boarder crossing station.The bus continued on and we entered into the desolate Northern area of Kosovo. We could breathe again. Now, we only had to find our way to Prishtina.As we approached a larger city, the bus began to pull over on the side of the road. One person got off. I looked around and motioned to the woman next to me. In broken Bulgarian I asked the Serb, "Tova e Prishtina, na li? "Da..." she scowled, and motioned for us to get off on the highway.We grabbed our things and jumped off the bus. It sputtered away leaving gas exhaust behind. We stood motionless on the highway. We had crossed the boarder, and we were safe. Success.
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