14th Aug 2016 - Eastern European Express
Mountains, Streams, and City Walking in Albania
My sleep last night in my wool bed was much better than I thought it would be. The wool does compact under your body which helps keep your position. I woke up and almost had a perfect imprint from the night before.
This morning, we were served another large breakfast, even though we were still quite full from before. We them got in the car again for a car ride to a beautiful area with mountains and rivers. On the way there, we stopped to see a 2400 year old bridge. It was made with hand placed stones and curved quite beautifully. While we were there we saw children herding cows, goats, and sheep along the roads creating their own sort of traffic jams.
We drove a little further along the base of the winding roads until we reached a perfect spot to stop. We were at the base of the mountains an the stream was a variety of teal blues to indicate the depths of the water. There were many good spots to swim and a couple of locals were there for the day to cool off in the water. This made for some great photo opportunities.
We headed back towards home when we were done and found a cafe on the river for some cool drinks. Here we enjoyed watching the local men trying to catch the fish that repeatedly jump out of the water. It was as if the fish were taunting the fishermen with they rods, but one man was fortunate to catch a good sized fish. We enjoyed wood oven baked pizzas and some drinks before heading home.
It was siesta time for everyone. I didn't quite feel like it and opted to work on my blog (I was almost two days behind) on the front house steps in the shade of the many fruit trees. Azra came to join me after about one paragraph and I quickly put my phone away to spend some time with her. She is such a kind person. Some family friends came by to visit and soon I was enjoying listening for the few words I knew in Albanian. The three ladies decided to have espresso and went to the side fence to meet with a teenaged girl who brought them a tray with three espressos later. I was amazed. I found out later that the one house offers a cafe type of service to the neighbourhood and it just so happens to be adjacent to Azra's house.
After everyone had woken up from their siestas, we all walked into town to see a photography museum exhibit. However, we arrived at the closing time and decided it would be postponed until tomorrow. Instead we did some of my favourite things: ice cream and ring shopping. We went for traditional Albanian ice cream which is made with just milk (it was sweet which makes me think it was condensed milk). It was incredibly creamy and delicious. Yum. Then Azra and I kept popping into the few jewellery stores that were still open and on the third try we found my ring. I had a lot of fun walking with Azra as I got to learn a lot about certain Albanian traditions. I was very interested in their marriage ceremonies. There is the legal marriage and then the ceremony. Which differs based on religion in Albania. Being that they are Muslim, I learned about their two engagement/wedding ceremonies called "coffees" (I really should have double checked the spelling). The little "coffee" ceremony is like an engagement where the little ring is given and the big "coffee" is when they are considered married after the exchanging of wedding rings. There was a lot more to describe about who attends and expectations and present exchanges that was interesting to learn.
We walked along the piazza and found a cafe for a nighttime drink and meet Azra's sister-law before heading home to bed.
Or so I thought.
When we got home at ten pm, Azra brought out dinner for us! We are so completely full from this trip. However, it is impolite to say no. We had Burek and yoghurt. Burek is a traditional meat and onion dish that is cooked and rolled up into a phyllo pastry dough. It is delicious and you pair it with yoghurt.
Now it really was bedtime. I went to sleep on my wool bed.
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