A Travellerspoint blog

This blog is published chronologically. Go straight to the most recent post.

A Trip to Berat, Albania


View Friendship Force International on pscotterly's travel map.

A three-hour bus ride - plus a stop at a local vineyard and winery - got us to the famous walled city of Berat at 12:40. Unfortunately, the museum closed at 1 PM - and it was at least 1/2 mile straight up the mountain on cobblestone streets. Many in the group had not walked that far and fast for at least 50 years.

We did get a tour of the museum that contains 16th century mural paintings and icons by Nikollë Onufri. The murals were whitewashed during the Communist era and the church turned into a gymnasium (as were many). The beautiful iconclassis (wall and doors that enclose the Holy of Holies place where the consecration of the mass is performed) was somehow never ruined.
Passsage into the walled city

Passsage into the walled city

The woman on the right was carving wall hangings. The tunnel reeked of mariuana, but no one else in my group seemed to notice it!
People still live in the walled city

People still live in the walled city


Steet in ancient walled city of Berati

Steet in ancient walled city of Berati

Enver Hoxha was the dictator of Albania that kept the country isloated for decades He built several museums to honor himself and also had his name posted everywhere. Here along the mountside is a huge NEVER laid out in white-washed stones near an Enver flag that was hung when he ruled. It is there as a reminder that Albania will never allow another Enver.
Never Enver

Never Enver

Everyone was ready for lunch, so we could not spend any time in the medieval walled town, where a few hundred people still live.

Although the restaurant owner had prepared a typical Albanian country meal with choices for us - some insistd all 30 of us order off the menu. Lunch ended up taking over 4 hours as the 2 old women in the kitchen went crazy and all the Americans complained about the bad service!

Did not have any time to visit the ethnographic museum because none of us were allowed to leave the group. I spent most of the afternoon sitting on the curb waiting for the Prime Minister to drive through town on his way to open the the new National University. A herd of goats and a pack of dogs came through town also.
Church on the mountainside

Church on the mountainside

Noice the church in the lower right corner.
Closeup of the church

Closeup of the church


Bridge and countryside

Bridge and countryside


Fishing in the Osum River

Fishing in the Osum River


Dogs, goats, and cops wait for the prime minister

Dogs, goats, and cops wait for the prime minister


Just opened - the National University

Just opened - the National University


Brita is also known as the Town of a Thousand Windows. These homes were built in the 1700s.
City of a Thousand Windows

City of a Thousand Windows


Shitet means For Sale

Shitet means For Sale


Ancient and new in Berati

Ancient and new in Berati

Posted by pscotterly 14:43 Archived in Albania Comments (0)

Tirana, Albania Street Scenes

Some pictures from around the city.


View Friendship Force International on pscotterly's travel map.

Chimara_Bazaar.jpg

Chimara_Bazaar.jpg


Tirana_Office_Max.jpg

Tirana_Office_Max.jpg


Tirana_post_office.jpg
Waiting_to..the_Pyramid.jpg

Waiting_to..the_Pyramid.jpg

Courthouse_and_jail.jpg

Courthouse_and_jail.jpg


Ancient_little_bridge.jpg

Ancient_little_bridge.jpg


castle footprint

castle footprint


At_the_end..h_of_lights.jpg

At_the_end..h_of_lights.jpg


Finally___ice_cream.jpg

Albanian_light_rail.jpg

Albanian_light_rail.jpg


Horsecart pulling cement mixer by the Tirana airport

Horsecart pulling cement mixer by the Tirana airport


LaLa's Place

LaLa's Place


During the communist era, all buildings were gray concrete. After the people's liberation, the Mayor of Tirana began a project to make the city more colorful. All government buildings were painted the same colors, apartments were painted cheerful colors - some with designs such as trees, flowers, and climbing vines.
Colorful apartments

Colorful apartments


Albanian American Embassy

Albanian American Embassy


At least 25% of the buildings around the city have been abondonded before they are finished. There are single family homes, apartment complexes, and even industrial buildings. Apparently for the past 40 years, construction would start and funding would disappear so the buildings are just left unfinished. In some cases 2-3 level homes are finished on the lower levels, but the top levels remain unfinished. I think this is why you seldom see homeless living on the streets as you do in Denver - there are many places in which to set up a permanent camp.
Abandoned construction

Abandoned construction

Typical_scene.jpg

Typical_scene.jpg


Rode the red bus at least twice a day

Rode the red bus at least twice a day


tirana_square_at_night.jpg

tirana_square_at_night.jpg

Posted by pscotterly 22:20 Archived in Albania Comments (0)

Public Art in Tirana


View Friendship Force International on pscotterly's travel map.

Skanderbeg statue in central square

Skanderbeg statue in central square


My favorite piece of art in Albania

My favorite piece of art in Albania


The former dictator demanded that thousands of bunkers (approximately 1 for evey 3 Albanians) be built throughout the nation to protect them from the foreign invaders. None ever invaded during his reign. This construction led to the bankruptcy of the nation. Many drab, cement bunkers are still seen throughout the nation, but many were sold for scrap to fund other efforts. This one is a bit of colorful art.
Decorated_bunker.jpg

Decorated_bunker.jpg


There seem to be many statues throughout the ages showing a young woman providing food or drink to a soldier - from the Turks - through WWI - to the last people's revolution in the 90s.
statue_in_parku_nacionale.jpg

statue_in_parku_nacionale.jpg


This hospital where my host worked was built in the 1930s. Laura Bush visited here when she and George made their trip to Albania. Many people love the Americans and George Bush. Because of our support, they believe we helped save their country from communism and dictators. Many people who speak English say " We love America. Thank you." I gotta say - it almost makes you weep.
Gynecological_Hospital.jpg

Gynecological_Hospital.jpg


Graffiti

Graffiti

Posted by pscotterly 00:04 Archived in Albania Tagged art Comments (0)

Dubrovnick

Out of Albania and into Croatia


View Friendship Force International on pscotterly's travel map.

Time to leave Albania - I think the hosts are quite ready to see us go.
A slightly bad start at 7 AM when we learn the bus driver needs a typed, printed list of all passengers and their passport numbers to present at each border. No one is pointing any fingers......but....someone didn't know....someone didn't tell.

A long bus ride through Albania, Montenegro, and in to Croatia.
The scenery is beautiful.

The bad start continued when there was a mix up for our group and the travel agency. We had been booked in a different hotel than originally reported. No one is pointing any fingers......but....someone didn't know....someone didn't tell.

I had been told that Dubrovnik was a beautiful spot, but I did not know what to expect.

The walled city, the cable car ride to the Napoleonic fort that is now a museum to the Homeland War, and the beuatiful residential and hotel areas. Add Dubrovnik to your travel plans and have a relaxing week. Just be prepared for thousands of tourists from buses and cruise ships in the walled city day and night.
View from the wall

View from the wall


At home in Dubrovnik

At home in Dubrovnik


Museum_of_Homeland_War.jpg

Museum_of_Homeland_War.jpg


Garden in the convent

Garden in the convent


Stairway  with restaurant

Stairway with restaurant


Flower garden

Flower garden


Dubrovnik_10.jpg

Dubrovnik_10.jpg


Dubrovnik_9.jpg

Dubrovnik_9.jpg

Posted by pscotterly 22:51 Archived in Croatia Tagged dubrovnik Comments (0)

A Swim in the Adriatic


View Friendship Force International on pscotterly's travel map.

A beautiful drive from Split to Plitvice National Park.
I had wanted to sea kayak in the Adriatic in Dubrovnik, but I chickened out when I thought the water was too choppy and I wouldn't be able to manage it. I decided I was not going to leave the Adriatic without doing something besides looking at it.

Testing the Waters

Testing the Waters


I go for a swim in the Adriatic

I go for a swim in the Adriatic


Lunch after the swim

Lunch after the swim


A yacht named Paula

A yacht named Paula


Perhaps I should be on this yacht instead of a touring coach.

Posted by pscotterly 23:09 Archived in Croatia Tagged me_sea Comments (0)

Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia


View Friendship Force International on pscotterly's travel map.

Some people on the tour had been here before and specifically wanted to return.
I enjoyed it very much, but after all the talk about the "wild forrest" and being from Colorado, I was expecting something a little more remote.
The lakes are beautiful, but tourists walk in long rows along the boardwalk around the lakes.
Perhaps it is like getting to Zion in Utah and realizing the unique beauty, but being overwhelmed by the crowds.

I did enjoy the chance to get a fairly good walk, the tasty wine, and a nice local-style dinner.
I didn't enjoy the lower level room with a view of the propane tank.

Jasmina sets us straight

Jasmina sets us straight


At Plitvice Lakes National Park Croatia

At Plitvice Lakes National Park Croatia


Here comes the bus

Here comes the bus

Posted by pscotterly 23:58 Archived in Croatia Tagged lakes park national plitvice Comments (0)

Split, Croatia


View Friendship Force International on pscotterly's travel map.

The drive along the Adriatic from Dubrovnik to Croatia was spectacular.
One beautiful town after another

One beautiful town after another


Farmland Delta

Farmland Delta


Islands along the Adriatic

Islands along the Adriatic

When we first entered Split, I thought it was just "an old, industrial communist city."
Then we were shown the Riva and the old walled city. I am surprised once again!
Originally built as a retirement home for Diocetian, the last pagan emperor of Rome, and then a major medieval Venetian-controlled city.
Many of the Roman walls remain and most of the medieval city was reconstructed from the materials. All are still in use as apartments, shops, churches, and tourist attractions.

I can't believe how ignorant I have been about this part of the world.
Roman wall

Roman wall


Flowers on home in Split

Flowers on home in Split


Oour guide describing the en suite in Roman home. Some of the aquaducts built then are still in use today. Before lead was used, so the water is completely safe.
Roman en suite

Roman en suite

Medieval homes in Split

Medieval homes in Split


Cellar of Diocletian retirement home

Cellar of Diocletian retirement home

Posted by pscotterly 15:55 Archived in Croatia Tagged split Comments (0)

(Entries 8 - 14 of 27) « Page 1 [2] 3 4 »