Kite valley in Kosovo

I love places that are far from shiny and polished, but have some esthetic feeling to them.
It may be the pink sunset over the steep mountains or rather the liveliness, diversity and energy of the people.
And it’s all in the country, that’s like a little hole in most of our mind maps.

People in mountains in Prevalla, Kosovo

Welcome to Kosovo. Many outsiders think it’s still war there. Actually the war ended long 15 years ago. Instead of rockets and bombs, today kites are floating peacefully over the Sharr mountains.

Kites in Prevalla, Kosovo

Lots of kites. We nicknamed Prevalla a kite valley, cause it’s such a big green slope, full of kids, kites and cars with Deutsche number plates. But no Germans here, just locals back home for holidays.
Emigration topic just floats around in Kosovo, though not so lightly as kites. It’s around when talking German with most of drivers and when walking past 3km queue before the border with Serbia: only cars registered abroad, but full of local families and huge sacks of paprikas. Travelers, who would rather stay in their mountainous homeland, but with German salaries. Travelers whom we continue to meet on the “migration road North” in numerous gas stations. Sometimes praying there kneeling among the dust and trucks.

Prevalla kite valley, Kosovo

Meanwhile the kids in the kite valley are praying for the gods of clouds

Kid and the sky

to bring their red and smily kites far away

Red kites in Prevalla, Kosovo

and turn them into birds…

Kite like a bird, Kosovo

Back to the ground, this little place can get pretty busy. The main road is passing through and there is some serious buying/selling, walking/driving/talking to be done.

Road in Kosovo

And the asphalt needs to be watered. For the less dusty world!
I walk around and get a lot of attention. I chat with the kiosk keeper in Russian (which turns into Serbian from his side), get comments in English/German and buy cheese in my “baby French” from the local cheese maker also on the same dusty road. Spicing all this language mix with many “faleminderit”!

Street in Prevalla, Kosovo

“You – journalist?”
“No, I just like photography” I smile shyly,
“Hmmm”, the market team of the place gets noticeably disappointed not to get to the international media.For a second. Another second they’re posing happily, curious to meet a foreigner.

Mushroom traders in Prevalla, Kosovo

Then they show me boxes full of mushrooms. “Boletus, good mushroom!” These guys are buying mushrooms from tens or hundreds of people who spread out through these picturesque slopes everyday. Though looking mostly down.

Mushrooms in Prevalla, Kosovo

These green slopes are full not only of mushrooms, they are blue with blueberries. We went mountain hiking and what could be better than having lots of healthy blue food on the way! We enjoyed mouths full.

Blueberries in Kosovo

Locals are collecting not only for their own mouths. Most are selling to the truck people, while this guy goes on his own. He’s been standing long, but he has pink horizons to enjoy. And his friends are possibly still teasing him about becoming “international star” after I took a close up of him.

Blueberry seller in Prevalla, Kosovo

When the mountains turn pink, the road calms down, market disperses, as if shown some sign from the nature. Only a few locals still pass by.

Girls in Prevalla, Kosovo

And that’s when the kite valley fills with sheep. A little miracle. All kites and kids suddenly gone, just hundreds of sheep in the colourful background.

A shepard in Prevalla, Kosovo

I don’t know why, but there’s some sheep theme following our travels this summer. We met them in French Alps, in Albanian olive fields, then Kosovo mountains.
Black sheep seem rather independent here,

Black sheep in Prevalla, Kosovo

while some of them are pretty good at posing

Posing sheep in Prevalla, Kosovo

and the shepard dog too.

Shepard dog in Prevalla, Kosovo

I follow them around until they dissapear in the horizon.

Running sheep in Prevalla, Kosovo

With this idyllic view of white sheep in the sunset still hanging in my brain, I see this.
It shakes me for a second, but ach, that’s the life in this village.

Sheep skins in Prevalla, Kosovo

Then slowly everything turns to darkness. Only the last lost sheep are crossing the road.

Sheep silhouette in Prevalla, Kosovo

Of course, it’s just a little piece of Kosovo.There are more mountains, more villages and towns. There are also some national tensions in people’s minds, there are local Serbians who don’t wanna be part of Kosovo. Then there is beautiful Prizren, full of old mosques and crowds of people in the evenings, Prishtina, also lively, but very pedestrian unfriendly and so much more we haven’t seen…but that little hole in my mind map called Kosovo is already filled with colours.

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