We have been traveling in Kosovo for 5 days and it amazes me how the traces of war are always there. Mostly, I see it in the people. They are kind and warm and incredibly strong. There is a toughness there that’s hard to describe but a warmth that’s indescribable as well.
On Saturday we drove to Germia Park which is just outside of Pristina. The park rests in the foothills and is wooded and beautiful. As you walk through the park you need to stay on the path. There are warning signs posted, such as this:
which basically tell you that there are unexploded land mines in the forest and it’s better to stay on the road. If you happen to stray, you are immediately reminded by the razor wire that curls through the underbrush off to the side.
The beauty is incredible and it’s wonderful to hear the wind in the trees and the birds singing when you’re so close to the big city. On our walk we passed this old hotel:
The hotel was bombed and crumbling and somehow, it feels as if the forest is trying to swallow it up.
Our forest walk held many reminders of what had been and one sees reminders driving through the countryside as well. Monuments and graves line the roads, commemorating fallen soldiers and loved ones. Although the land and many buildings are so old, the gravesites are relatively new and a constant reminder of just how real this loss is and has been. Outside of Pristina is a memorial park, remembering soldiers who died in the war. The monument was erected with the help of the U.S. and is quietly beautiful and somber.
I am humbled by this experience. Somehow, the perspective that I carry is wiped away and a new one takes its place.
I am learning.