Tag Archives: Albania

A Weekend in Lezhe

In a whirlwind weekend, I visited my friend Minju at her lovely site, Lezhe! We spent a day at the beach and took a trip to the castle overlooking the sea – with plenty of coffees and ice cream in between!

Sunday, June 10, 2018, 10:21pm

Whew! These past few days have been a crazy, somewhat-spontaneous adventure, and I couldn’t have asked for a better visit in Lezhe, a town in northwestern Albania. Minju was a fantastic host, and it was beyond lovely to see her again. After two failed attempts at meeting up, it turned out that the third time really was the charm!

A Day at the Beach in Shengjin

I had a harrowing bus ride through Tirana and only just barely made it to the Lezhe station on time. When I finally arrived in town, I was happy to have finished my stressful solo travel and left the rest of the weekend planning to Minju, who met me at the bus stop.

Lezhe is a bustling city just south of Shkoder near the coastal city of Shengjin. As far as amenities go, Lezhe has a lovely city center with brightly colored buildings, ancient, architectural attractions including a castle overlooking the sea, and five Big Markets. I knew that Lezhe was a large site before arriving, but I had no idea just how big it was until I stepped off the bus and Minju whisked me past artisanal pasta shops, dozens of lokals, and a fancy river walk. Continue reading A Weekend in Lezhe

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4 Things I Love About Albania After a Year in the Peace Corps

With one year under my belt as a Peace Corps volunteer, I’ve grown to love Albania as a second home. My American and Albanian friends are my second family, and I consider Albanian my second language.

So without further ado, here are four things I love about Albania after over twelve months in the Peace Corps!

1. Albanian Food

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A typical Albanian feast with byrek, salad, and lots and lots of meat!

There are so many things that I love about Albania. But I’ll start with the food. Albanian food is comfort food. It’s warm bowls of bean soup on a cold winter day, egg custard pie wrapped in tinfoil for a picnic, fresh salads from vegetables grown in my host family’s backyard, grilled chicken over a campfire late at night, and all the bread you can possibly eat. When Albanians ask if you’re hungry or if you’ve eaten, they say, “Do hash bukë?” which translates to, “Do you want to eat bread?” Continue reading 4 Things I Love About Albania After a Year in the Peace Corps

The Permet Recycling Project

For the past few months, I’ve been working on a recycling project in the Permet schools with local NGO Cesvi! It’s been a long and winding road, and we’re only half done, but I wanted to share some photos and stories from the project!

As an Environmental Studies major, I’m pretty passionate about the environment.

When I was in college, I composted, tried living zero-waste, and volunteered at a community garden. I was a terrible parent to my collection of air plants (I need to work on my green thumb), but I loved engaging in the small, hands-on activities that helped to make the world a little more sustainable.

So when I was given the opportunity to help coordinate a recycling project right here in Permet, needless to say I was thrilled.

I’d been waiting for a chance to work on an environmental project, and finally a year into my service, I had the institutional support, community buy-in, and funding I needed to get an activity off the ground. Continue reading The Permet Recycling Project

Waterfall Lunch in Kelcyre

On Saturday, the Permet region volunteers celebrated a birthday in the lovely Gryka e Kelcyres (the Kelcyre Valley). We had a lovely time enjoying the sunshine and light breeze . . . at least until it started to rain!

Saturday, June 2, 2018, 9:15pm

Happy birthday to Meredith!

This afternoon, the other Permet region volunteers and I celebrated Meredith’s birthday in the Gryka e Kelcyres at one of the beautiful restaurants set atop scenic waterfalls overlooking the Vjosa River.

Arriving in Kelcyre, we had a lovely coffee at the lokal with the green awnings. We sat in the garden, enjoying the shade and the bright flowers, sipping our iced espressos and chatting about love languages and personality tests.

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The lovely scenery – mountains, river, and waterfall

Eventually we took a taxi over to the Gryke where we ate at a fancy lokal that overlooks the largest waterfalls in the area. The entire restaurant was bustling with tourists and locals taking advantage of the absolutely beautiful spring day. The sun was shining, and the ambiance of the waterfalls and rushing river below made the experience feel elevated and special. Continue reading Waterfall Lunch in Kelcyre

Biking to Ballaban

On a bright and sunny weekend, Brianne and I took a bike ride from Kelcyre to the village of Ballaban! We took in the beautiful landscape, prepared a picnic and enjoyed spending time outdoors!

Sunday, May 27, 2018, 5:41pm

Embracing our weekend stay-cation, Brianne and I made plans to shop at the treg, go on a bike ride, and picnic in the countryside with sandwiches and books. So I found myself at 7:45am in the morning in a taxi speeding away from Permet eagerly anticipating the fun day ahead.

The town center was bustling with taxis, vendors hauling their produce into market, and crowds of shoppers preparing for the morning’s activities.

When I arrived in Kelcyre, the town center was bustling with taxis and furgons, vendors hauling their produce into the market, and crowds of shoppers greeting their friends and preparing for the morning’s activities. Brianne met me in the qender, and we wasted no time heading into the heart of the treg. Once again, we found ourselves in a sea of secondhand clothes, piles of used footwear, and odd assortments of everything from home goods to axe heads. The treg is truly a wonderful and strange one-stop-shop for everything that I’m not looking for but desperately want because it’s so incredibly cheap.

With our purchases dropped off at Bri’s apartment, we were finally ready for the day’s biking adventure! Earlier in the week, my friend Ida had introduced me to a local businessman in Kelcyre who’d generously invited me to borrow two of his bikes whenever I wanted. With the beautiful weather this weekend, I immediately took him up on his offer, and arranged to pick up the bikes from his lokal in town.  Continue reading Biking to Ballaban