Northern Albania in the summertime

Summertime has given me an opportunity to travel and visit other volunteers. This last week I made a trip to the far northern corners of Albania. A pit stop at the capital to enjoy some American food was the first stop on the list.

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Bajram Curri is a city located on the border with Kosovo and it sits in a rural mountainous region.

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It was a fellow volunteers birthday and we surprised her by showing up to celebrate. Birthdays rock. 🙂

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There are different dialects in Albania, similar to different accents in America. In the north it literally sounds like they are talking with a sock in their mouth. They also tend to shorten words and phrases so it sounds like they are talking complete jibberish. I was even more confused than normal.

Mountains by Bajram Curri

Mountains by Bajram Curri

Dumpster cows- a problem in Bajram Curri. No one knows who the owner is so the cows just wander around the city and eat from the dumpsters.

Dumpster cows- a problem in Bajram Curri. No one knows who the owner is so the cows just wander around the city and eat from the dumpsters.

The girls

The girls

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The group of us playing basketball

The group of us playing basketball

Intimidation

Intimidation

A common theme when volunteers get together is cooking Mexican food. Ethnic foods are what we miss most since they are not available here.

Cooks!

Cooks!

Chopping veggies for salsa!

Chopping veggies for salsa!

One of my best friends here, Miranda, was able to move into her own apartment this week as well. I was able to visit her city of Milot to help her get settled into her own apartment.

Milot!

Milot!

Milot is a smaller city in the middle of Albania. It is one of the hottest places in this country and I visited there in July. Yikes. It was a neat experience to be able to see how different it is to live in a smaller site. Everyone knew who Miranda was and by the end of the day they knew that I was the other American visiting. It was awesome to see how well she has integrated with her community.

Coffee with the Americans attracts a lot of people in Milot!

Coffee with the Americans attracts a lot of people in Milot!

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Miranda, Milot and the sunset!

Byrek- a delicousy all over Albania. It can be filled with cheese, spinach, tomato, onion, all of the above or none of the above.

Byrek- a delicousy all over Albania. It can be filled with cheese, spinach, tomato, onion, all of the above or none of the above.

Here is a greasy piece of byrek to go- put it in your purse for later. Ummmm no thanks, I think I will just carry it haha

Here is a greasy piece of byrek to go- put it in your purse for later. Ummmm no thanks, I think I will just carry it haha

The byreketore lady teaching us how to make byrek. My grandma would have been proud!

The byreketore lady teaching us how to make byrek. My grandma would have been proud!

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It is hot here in the summer, so much so that it is downright uncomfortable to do anything during the day. Albanians have developed the habit of migrating to the beach in the summer in order to enjoy the hot weather. We followed suit and visited a popular beach up North called Shengjin.

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Beach time!

Beach time!

The middle of June marked move in day for Miranda in Milot. The Peace Corps had placed her with a host family to live for the next two years. In the end, there was too much confusion and not enough preparation done to keep her living there for the rest of her service.She could not have been more excited to find her own apartment and finally have her own space. 

Yay!!

Yay!!

Coffee with her host dad and his friends

Coffee with her host dad and his friends

Every Sunday Milot has an outdoor market where people come to buy and sell different things. You can find anything from fruit, to homemade utensils, to livestock, to furniture. It was the perfect place to try and find what Miranda didn’t have yet to furnish her apt.

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Seems sanitary... :s

Seems sanitary… :s

Don't forget to buy your live chicken at the end of your trip. Or you will be carrying it around all day like this lady!

Don’t forget to buy your live chicken at the end of your trip. Or you will be carrying it around all day like this lady!

Grilled corn, a common snack here.

Grilled corn, a common snack here.

Some little boys showing off to us.

Some little boys showing off to us.

Bajram Curri is about a ten hour bus ride from Permet. I am thankful that this is a small country and it is possible to visit my friends located on the opposite end of Albania. It’s been fun to experience the differences in culture when it comes to the north and the south. The people, the sites and the things you see along the way all add to the experience. Traveling here isn’t difficult, it just takes time. If you can plan your trip right, you will land a seat on an air conditioned bus. And sometimes that’s enough to make your weekend!

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