Raggalution on the road again, with special appearance by the Argentinian seducer Pablo Vitali on guitar! This time we are just taking a short trip to Serbia and Kosovo. First up: Novi Sad.
After stopping in Celje to pick up Pavel’s brand new passport (last-minute is our preferred style) we were off to Serbia. Let’s put some stamps in that baby!
The guys in Društveni Centar, Novi Sad, made us feel right at home. This would be a more intimate type of event. The show was loud. Really loud. They say that’s how they like it, and the atmosphere really was pumping it up, even though this was on a Wednesday, and it wasn’t exactly crowded.
Nocturne magazine wrote this extremely flattering review of the show (in serbian):
Thanks guys, we really enjoyed playing for you!
After the show the barman informed us that we had earned the right to an open bar. Cha Ching! We had the next day off, with just the small matter of driving to Prizren, Kosovo.
An open bar is either our best friend or worst enemy. Often both. This time, however, because of our day off, we had all the time in the world to recover. And we needed it. In the end, we wound up arriving in Prizren at 2am, which is obviously not how we planned things, but it was worth it.
Before we got to Kosovo, though, we had plenty of road and borders to go.
Fun at the borders
Driving through the Balkans is never a smooth ride. I don’t just mean all the sneaky little (and not so little) potholes on the highways. The border crossings can be a real bitch. Well, at least if you’re a group of 8 suspicious looking guys without the expensive bureaucratic bullshit known as ATA Carnet.
Ain’t nobody got cash for that!
Asking musicians to pay in order to transport their gear through your country is the lamest thing in the world. We’re not doing it.
We always get through in the end (please oh mighty lord Jah, let me not jinx it!!!) but it gives the customs officers a reason to hassle us a bit.
This time, we got into Serbia relatively easily. Just a few minutes of intense stress on the way in and no hassle on the way out. The Serbian border is the worst, they are the only ones who ever actually taxed us for not having ATA Carnet.
The fun started in Macedonia, where the customs officer actually remembered us from last year, when he totally made fun of us and declared that we “live for marihuana”. Not true… we live for the good vibration sound. Last year we gave him a CD (this is a custom in the Balkans – little gifts for the guys welcoming you at the border.) this year, however, he informed us that the bureaucratic apparatus is cranking it up, and ATA Carnet has become a really important thing. We entered Macedonia 4 T-Shirts lighter.
The way out was equally exciting. This time, we did not pay any tribute, that’s more of a “going in” sort of thing. But the customs officer that walked up to our van was a really imposing dude: big figure, strong, scary eyes, and, apparently, a love of rakija. The guy was absolutely wasted. Things were looking bleak. He was piiiisssssed at us, because he categorised our van as a minibus, and buses go in the other line. Then something strange happened. There was a total switch in his attitude, he decided we were not that bad, and let us go. Later we joked it was because an empty can of beer fell out when he opened the doors of our van and he saw that we were his brothers. Maybe.
The final customs officer in Kosovo also was not happy about our bureaucratic situation, but after saying something like “you can’t enter without the papers.” He just decided he’d had enough, turned around and walked away. Fortune favours the brave!
We breathed a sigh of relief and finished our approximately 10 hour journey to Prizren.
More quality time with The Man
There was, however, a final glitch. Prizren is a maze of one-way streets, and a crucial road on our way to the hostel was closed. We couldn’t find the way to the hostel for the life of us! So we decided to ask the Police 😀
When we arrived at Prizren City Hostel a few minutes later, we came with a police escort 😀
The guy that runs the hostel couldn’t believe it! And maybe you don’t either, which is why we took a picture.
We love Prizren. We were here last year and it was awesome, and this year is off to a great start. We received an awesome welcome at the Hostel, with beer, burek, and everything we needed waiting for us. As well as some excellent company 🙂
We finished the day listening to the muezzins singing, calling people to prayer, while the sun rose from behind the mountains of Prizren.
Novi Sad concert gallery at http://nocturnemagazine.net/galerije/1857/raggalution-drustveni-centar-novi-sad