The hardest part of living in a foreign land is crossing that invisible divide between being an outsider and getting to know a country properly. An old foreign correspondent friend of mine said that the newspaper standard was that it always took at least two years and a lot of language learning.
In reading Elizabeth Gowing‘s lovely and fascinating book it is obvious that she has found another way to cross that invisible divide and begin to really understand so much of what makes Kosovo and its people tick. Her secret is beekeeping. After her partner, Rob, gave her a beehive for her birthday, doors began to open into the recesses of Kosovan life – its connection to history, to tradition, to food and to the land. The result is Travels in Blood and Honey: Becoming a Beekeeper in Kosovo (Signal Books, 2011), which gets beyond the history books and allows us more insights into what is now Europe’s newest (disputed) country.