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At Least Wave Your Handkerchief At Me: The Joys and Sorrows of Southern Albanian Song

Culture, Music November 3, 2017

“Why not give yourself a break from the unending cavalcade of modern high-speed insanity, and rest up with this album of deep soul from Southern Albania.” – Ry Cooder

Brazilian Samba, Bosnian Sevdah, New Orleans Jazz, Cuban son – and Albanian Saze! The turn of the last century saw mass migrations to the world’s cities with rural people bringing their music with them, adapting their traditions to new circumstances and modern instruments. Of all these great musical forms, the mesmerizing arabesques, joyful dances and heart-breaking laments of Saze are among the least recorded, and they remain largely unknown outside Albania. Continue reading …

399 total views, 4 today

The Capital of Albania Has Transformed Into a Lively, Affordable Destination

Travel October 15, 2017

“Great energy comes from the young population that has inherited the hospitality and warmth of the Balkans combined with the Mediterranean spirit. All these youngsters travel and see the world, and we think that Tirana has all it takes to be a new favorited location.” In tandem with the Albanian Riviera’s beaches and the staggering natural vistas in the south-western part of the country on the Ionian Sea, buzzy Tirana is a delightful, cosmopolitan beginning to a seaside Balkan adventure…

275 total views, 4 today

Tales of heroism on the Second World War’s forgotten battleground

History, Travel October 12, 2017

It was hard to imagine these mountains in eastern Albania being anything other than serene. But this, I discovered, was the very spot where Brigadier Edmund “Trotsky” Davies, who was leading Special Operations in Albania against the occupying Germans, was captured in 1944. As a part-time soldier, I thought I knew my military history, but I had no idea that the British had done anything in Second World War Albania. My guide to this little visited part of Europe was Ed Reeves, a man who is researching for a book about Davies and who has set up a specialist tour operator, Balkan Secrets…

383 total views, 6 today

Little Tony Blairs of Kosovo: the boys named after the great man

History October 12, 2017

When Nato eventually intervened in 1999 to stop the ethnic cleansing by Serbian forces of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, the UK prime minister Tony Blair was hailed as a hero. As refugees returned to the province, several new parents of baby boys called their sons Tony Blair. For Kosovan Albanians, Tony Blair is more than just an ex-British prime minister turned globetrotting statesman. He’s the hero of the nation, who saved them in their hour of need. And how better to show gratitude than to name their sons after him?…
Continue reading …

665 total views, 8 today

7 things you didn’t know you could do in Albania

Travel September 2, 2017

Have the beach to yourself… Eat superb seafood… Hike through alpine countryside… Explore underground nuclear bunkers… See a living citadel… Drink home-grown wines… Shop for antiques; Just outside the capital, the town of Kruja is famous for being the stronghold of Albanian national hero Skanderbeg during his resistance against the Ottomans in the fifteenth century. Today, an old castle remains with a few good museums inside, but the most entertaining activity by far is bartering for goods in the old bazaar just down the hill…

563 total views, 2 today

Unexpected Highlights of a Trip to Albania

Travel September 2, 2017

What we found in Albania was a mix of remarkable natural beauty, deep history, tempting food, and some of the nicest people you’ll meet anywhere. It’s like Italy with limited public transportation and the French Riviera with more partially-constructed buildings and less attitude. Albania is like its neighbour to the south, Greece, but with far fewer tourists and a whole lot of Cold War bunkers. In a lot of ways, it’s probably like other parts of Europe were 30 or 40 years ago, which gives it a feeling all its own. You won’t find a McDonald’s or Starbucks here. And, yes, it is cheap. And safe…

463 total views, 2 today

Albania an important gateway in the heart of the Mediterranean

Culture, Travel July 18, 2017

One hour flight distance from European capitals. Stretches along seashores of the Adriatic and Ionian seas. More than 300km of coastline. Memorable holidays. Unexplored shores. A varying landscape of nature. More than 2700m high mountains. More than 7700 acres of forests. Hidden Valleys. In the heart of mountains, tall-stone architecture, guest houses. More than 3200 plant species. Among Europe’s biggest water resources. More than 500 lakes. 12 National parks spreading across 39% of the country. More than 20 underwater caves. Sport and adventure. More than 5000 years of history. 7 Ancient theatres. Unesco heritage. More than 95 cultural monuments. More than 250 days of sunshine per year. More than 160 castles and fortresses. Fresh bio food. Capital city Tirana is a dynamic vibrant metropol. Youngest population in Europe…
Continue reading …

968 total views, 7 today

A photo story about Albania in black and white

Photography July 18, 2017

A black and white story from different city’s of Albania! Traveling in Albania, you might get the impression that someone hit the “pause” button on Albanian culture in the 1950’s. Having been closed to the world for so long, the older generations still dress and live as they did 50 years ago. And while the cities have hardly changed in the last few decades, the villages have hardly changed in the last few centuries. It’s a fascinating glimpse into a different pace of life that has largely been left behind in the modern world…

535 total views, 2 today

Things to see and do in Albania

Travel July 15, 2017

Hike through the Albanian Alps. Explore ancient archaeological sites. Cycle the mountains for unbeatable views. Be on the look out for birds of prey. Find fantastic frescoes in Voskopoja. Delve into Tirana’s communist past. Uncover the legend of Rozafa Castle. Meet Albania’s national hero at Kruja. Explore the Ottoman architecture of Gjirokastra and Berati. Reclaim the abandoned city of Butrint. Raft down Albania’s rivers. Stand in awe at the religious art. Set sail on the Lake Komani ferry. And many more attractions…

406 total views, 3 today

Go slow: Albania’s new food movement

Food, Travel June 13, 2017

From the Adriatic coastline to the Accursed Mountains, a new generation of chefs is putting a modern twist on the country’s traditional dishes. “Drying our homemade jufka pasta in the sun”, “watermelon jam”, “corn bread and white cheese”, “sucking clover in the meadows”, “omelette with wild fennel”, “fritters with plum and honey sauce”… These are all delicious-sounding childhood meals recalled by members of Albania’s new “slow food” movement…

560 total views, 2 today

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