I’m drinking beer in the Hotel Partizan, Bresoviča with ‘Radio Ilir’ on full power. He’s telling me ‘briefly’ about post-war Albanian history. Fortunately I’m very interested. Whether it was explaining the iconostasis in the Cathedral of Saint Clement of Ohrid, Skopje, the Roman amphitheatre in Dürres or the story behind the Chinese MiG’s, Ilir knew what’s worth knowing. One of my very favourite Ilir talks was ‘How to live under a dictatorship with dignity AND keep your sanity’.
It was just as well that we had Ilir with us as this road trip scored ‘nul points’ for skiing. The weather was atrocious. After our day and a half on brick hard ice in a gale at Bresoviča we drove off, Ilir and I in front, an Albanian and a Scot speaking French in Kosovo. Through Serbian villages flying Serb flags, occasional Turkish villages with Turkish flags and with Albanian flags flying everywhere else we at last saw the flag of Kosovo at the border with Macedonia. Are these flags a sign of increased tolerance or a provocation? Both I expect.