On the Road: Apollonia

Saranda

Albania

May 16, 2015

My Driver and Me

So here’s what happens:

Sometimes I ask my driver to stop at what I consider to be a particularly lovely spot.  For example, we find a quiet agricultural scene in the mountains and a lakeside retreat.

Occasionally my driver will insist on taking me to an important site.  The ancient city of Apollonia is his choice today.  The Greek columns are grand, of course, but I continue to be enthralled by the sculptures.  How is it possible to convert a hunk of solid marble into a costume of diaphanous gauze?

Butrint: Archaeological Site

Butrint

Albania

May 15, 2015

A Fascinating Day

Butrint is surely the quintessential archeological site of Southeastern Europe.

Butrint became an urban center in the 4th Century BCE and was settled for several centuries before that.  And even before that, this whole area was settled in prehistoric times. 

The ancient Greek tribe Chaonians, the Romans, Byzantines, Ostrogoths, Bulgarians, Venetians, and Ottomans all occupied Butrint over the centuries.   Even the French were here for a couple of years.  Finally, Albania gained its independence in 1912 and rightfully took possession of this ancient city.     

Gjirokastër and the Blue Eye

Gjirokastër

Albania

May 14, 2015

In Tirana I met a young man who bragged that he had taken a swim in the Blue Eye.  Since I was heading in that direction, I decided to visit the Blue Eye and see what the fuss is all about.  Maybe I’d be able to make the same boast as my young friend.

Berati and the Citadel

Berat

Republic of Albania

May 12, 2015

Mirëmëngjesi – Good morning,

“I wish I had planned to stay here longer.”

Haven’t we all have expressed that sentiment at one time or another?

That’s exactly how I feel in Berati.   I’m here on a day trip from Tirana, but I wish I can stay longer.

Shkodra: A Pizza and A Fortress

Shkodra (pop 135,612)

Republic of Albania

Republika e Shqipërisë 

May 11, 2015

Buongiorno,

Pizza. Pizza. Pizza!

Isn't there anything else to eat here in Northern Albania?

Apparently not.

My driver, Mr. Edmond * and I search and search and search for some local or traditional Albanian fare along the main pedestrian promenade here in Shkodra (Shkodër).   Finally we find an outdoor café and order, you guessed it, pizza.  We also order a salad and a meatball dish that passes for “local” food.

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