Somewhere in the noughties Then it was over to Petrit’s bar on Hobrecht Straße for the grand opening of the joint. Ladaslava, a Slovak Gypsy girl from Prague had stenciled “Gypsy” flowers on the wall. Petrit had managed to scrounge together an ensemble of secondhand furniture, mostly bought at the flea market at Boxhagener Platz. I had arranged for a ...

Yesterday I biked around the Wannsee, to Potsdam and back to Berlin. Then I went to Isigym, boxed a little and rode my bike to Centrala just as the bar was beginning to get crowded. I pulled up on my bike in lederhosen shorts, blue Serbia  jersey and black wraparound shades - my usual summer attire. Szilvia stood behind the bar. ...

I had come to northeastern Montenegro from Novi Pazar because I wanted to take the 1849 meter high Čakor mountain pass from Montenegro into Kosovo, winding through the Rugova gorge and ending up in Peć, Peja in Albanian, or Ipek as it was called in Turkish times. In 1915 a retreating and exhausted Serb army had passed over it in ...

The guy that worked the hotel reception desk looked at me, as if to make sure he had heard correctly. “Tallava? You want tallava?” he said, like I wanted a dose of the clap. “Are you sure you really want to hear this shit? I know of a place on the edge of town. But I’m warning you, it’s a bit ...

Over and over again I would hear  the famous date 1389 bantered about. For the Turks it was the date of  a decisive battle on Blackbird Field in Kosovo, which paved the way for their ultimate incursion into the Balkans and their foothold there. For the Serbs, however, it was much more loaded in import – a  date which spelled the end of ...