10-Aug-2003 -- It is just two years since the ethnic tension in the region erupted into civil war, even leading to a short NATO intervention. The absence of large scale riots and shootings at the moment does not mean, that the conflict between moslem albanians and orthodox macedonians is settled. It is still dangerous to go to Tetovo or Gostivar, the strongholds of the albanian minority, and showplaces of the battles two years ago. Even some suburbs of Skopje the capitol of macedonia are not to be visited by foreigners. It is quite save two drive through those places, however getting out of the car and running around unaccompanied by locals, is like begging for troubles.
We asked our macedonian friend Daniel to arrange a visit to the confluence which is about five kilometers from Tetovo. He advised us to skip this confluence, but we were determined to go. He talked a busdriver, who was stationed during his time in the macedonien army in the Tetovo area, into bringing us to the confluence in his car for about twenty euro. We reckoned, that this confluence should be easy to reach, because on our map the highway between Tetovo and Skopje was running right through it. We approached the confluence from Skopje. As churches and mosques are somehow political statements in this country, every village beside the highway, no matter how small, had one or the other, or both dependant on its ethnic composition. We parked the car a few hundred meters after the tollbooth for the last section of the highway Skopje-Tetovo.
The confluence lies some 40 meters south of the highway, in what seems to be some sort of illegal car dump. Both our driver and Daniel were very happy, that we needed just about ten minutes for finding the confluence and taking the pictures. On our way back we saw a group of cars whose co-drivers swung huge albanian flags attached to them, coming in our direction. It turned out to be a wedding company, but we were nonetheless scared.