I woke up early this morning to stunning light which demanded me to get up and go out for a pre-breakfast walk.
I walked down the river, observing how deep its channel is to deal with snow melts (there is plenty of snow in the hills and in dirty grey piles around the town), and then wandered in to the Turkish part of town where I couldn't resist sneaking a photograph of these two men chewing the fat over their early morning glass of tea and perhaps incidentally smoking the sausages hanging above them.
Maybe they were discussing the possible outcome of this afternoon's football match between the local team Novi Pazar and Partisan Belgrade. When we took a late evening stroll around the streets last night large groups of young men, supporting the local club, were roaming the streets chanting "Istanbul, Istanbul" (apparently welcoming a group of Fenerbahce fans who had come to support the local team). This is a reminder that this part of Serbia (Sandzak) was part of the Ottoman Empire until 1912, and remains highly Turkish in character in parts (whilst being in other respects Yugoslav/post-Yugoslav, although less so than almost any other part of the former YU I have ever been possibly even including Pristina). This is a deeply conservative region, and women are not very evident in the streets and bars. We were introduced to some of the fraught politics of the Sandzak region, including autonomy and minority claims, by a local TV journalist yesterday, and today we are meeting other local activists and actors.
Meanwhile, the sights and sounds of this Muslim part of Serbia continue to charm and intrigue in equal measure. Although this is a relatively large regional centre, when I opened by hotel bedroom window this morning to take photographs (of mosques in the landscape, and of the snow covered hills touched by early morning light) I could distinctly hear the sound of cocks crowing. In that respect, it's much more like being in a village than in a town or city.
I've just had two incredibly yellow-yolked eggs for breakfast, with freshly baked unleavened bread. On yesterday's experience, the cevapi are not as good as they are in Sarajevo, but they aren't bad. And there is some baklava swimming in honey in a fridge nearby, but I'll have save that treat for later, and have it "cut" with an espresso in order to prevent the immediate clogging of my arteries.