Patriotic in Albania

Fourth of July rolled around the corner and my fellow volunteers and I were ready to celebrate America. Leading up to the holiday I was lucky enough to show some fellow volunteers around Permet. Six people ended up staying at my little one bedroom apartment. We were cozy and it was a blast. 🙂

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Miranda and I like to work out and then eat cookie dough.

Miranda and I like to work out and then eat cookie dough.

Swimming in the Vjosa River, which runs right through Permet.

Swimming in the Vjosa River, which runs right through Permet.

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Jenny and Ian are the younger married couple that are in group 16. They traveled down from Bajram Curri, which is literally on the opposite end of the country from Permet. I am so glad that Albania is small and it is possible to still see other volunteers that you aren’t placed next to. It is about an 11-12 hour trip in total and kudos to them for doing that all in one day!

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It was interesting to see their reactions to how different the south is from the north. They kept talking about how there are so many people out and about. The North is more conservative, women are expected to be indoors and do not go out after dark. Women and children walk around at night here and there aren’t nearly as many restrictions when it comes to gender roles. Part of that may be due to the fact that I am located so close to Greece and many people in Permet have traveled back and forth out of the country. It is easy to forget that other sites are a lot different from my own. Their reactions reminded me to be grateful for the modern attitude here towards women that isn’t present in the north.

We traveled from Permet down to the southern city of Sarande on the morning of the fourth. We had to give our stomachs a little pep talk on that furgon ride because of the curvy roads. Thankfully, we arrived in Saranda without anyone puking and then hitched a ride down to the city of Ksamil.

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Ksamil is located in the far south of Albania and is a beautiful tourist spot in the summer. You are able to see the island of Corfu from the beach we stayed at.

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Where we camped for two nights!

Where we camped for two nights!

It was a typical beach town and it was a bit of a shock to be seeing so many tourists in one spot. We were no longer the sore thumbs that stuck out wherever we went. Being able to talk in English to some of the store owners was a nice surprise as well.

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Lunch time- we found a place that has burgers!! It might be worth the trip back down south, delicious!

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We’re American- we like food

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I swam out to the far island two days in a row. My new goal of the summer is to improve my swimming skills!

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We visited the ruins of an ancient Greek city called Butrint during our stay. Definitely worth checking out!

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A busy weekend traveling and sightseeing was a perfect getaway from site. Time with friends here is always appreciated and never boring. 🙂

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The last day we checked out a natural spring called the Blue eye. It is a popular tourist attraction in Albania. Jumping into the 50 m deep spring that is not more than 50 degrees was quite…refreshing.

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Lessons learned from my trip down south:

-The bus ride from Permet to Sarande should be on an empty stomach.

-Bingo is fun.

-Ksamil has some awesome food selections…it’s perfectly okay to have a burger and ice cream for lunch AND supper.

-It is also okay to have seafood pasta twice in twenty four hours if it’s available.

-Sleeping on the beaches of the Adriatic sea is a beautiful view to wake up to.

-When a stray dog wakes you up in the middle of the night by rubbing its mangy head on your feet be prepared to freak out a little when you come to.

-Hitching in one vehicle with 5 people is possible.

-After 3 days of sleeping on the beach and not washing my hair, I don’t need bobby pins. My hair “magically” stays in place.

-Friends that don’t care how long it has been since your last shower are probably keepers.

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2 thoughts on “Patriotic in Albania

  1. I enjoyed your update Amba; I am glad to see you had a good time celebrating the 4th of July with burgers and ice cream 🙂 I am jealous of your camping trip on the beach. It looks gorgeous!! Miss you!!!

  2. Amber Jean 🙂 What a fun blog and love all the photos. You had a good 4th too!
    Nan, Elise and I sent a ‘box’ off to you. hope it all gets there in one piece.
    Love YOU 🙂 Auntie Joycie

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