The more I learn about the Balkans, the more I want to know. These people are passionate and beautiful. It is also an area which has been torn apart by multiple wars and is now living in peace but what a terrible history they have had. I ran across a video (thanks WCH) which attempts to explain what has happened and why. It is truly informative. Set aside about an hour to watch it.
The tensions are always present, however. The Skopje bus company has installed electronic signs at the stops to let you know when the busses should arrive. Unfortunately they only are using Macedonian and not Shqip and we are hearing about it almost daily on the news.
Many of the street signs are in Macedonian, English and Shqip. In the Macedonian areas of Skopje, the Shqip translation has been spray painted over with black paint. So in the Albanian areas of the city, the Macedonian has been painted over with blue paint. I don’t know the significance of the two colors –maybe it was all they could find!
However, I have not seen any physical hostility in my area of the country. Everything is quiet and peaceful here. The worst thing that might happen to you is then when you step outside the gate you might step into either sheep or cow dung. Yes, it is very rural and pastoral and that suits me just fine!