Blog

My Day Off

It is 2 o’clock in the afternoon, on a Sunday, after what MAY have been one of the most insanely over-committed weeks of my life.  Which, if you know me, is really Saying Something. The sun is strong, enough to make you squint.  A few birds – mostly just one – are chirping and twittering […]

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Catherine of Tropoja

When I decided last year to take a house of my own . . . well, it wasn’t an easy decision.  I knew it was important, for my personal sanity, but I also didn’t know what it would do to my declared public identity.  For years, I had been “The American of Valbona.”  Who would […]

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The House in Dojan

Today was the eighth day in a string of oddly perfect days.  Even the weather has been ‘perfect’ – if you don’t mind climate change.  Warm in the sun outside, just a jacket.  Sitting on a blanket on the ‘shpati’ or hill-bank next to my house, with the sheep grazing around me, eyeing the ever-increasing […]

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Travel Info and Help

Valbona with Young Children?

I mean, it isn’t compulsory to drag them up mountains, is it?  If you spend a day or two in Valbona first, you can always get a sense of how the kids are doing against some comparable-to-Theth hikes (but don’t leave you stranded in the middle of nowhere if they melt down).  In general, I think […]

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Travel Info and Help

A Very Good Question! Where to Stay to Avoid the Hordes?

Dear Catherine,   I was looking for information about Albania when I stumbled upon your sweet and inviting website. We are thinking of visiting Albania in August, and we might want your help in planning our trip. But first and foremost I would like to know: how busy is the Valbona valley in August? I […]

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Travel Info and Help

European Wilderness Society

Wilderness in Albania in peril! “A short glimpse from the outside can create a feeling that finally at least in this country a large piece of real European wilderness can be secured. Several protected areas have been established in the past years to create conditions for longterm protection of biodiversity and natural values of this country. […]

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Travel Info and Help

We visited in 2014 . . . .

Just as I was thinking I’d better put more cheerful stuff on here, an email arrived from “Niki and Martin”! “We visited Valbone in October 2014 and had Rilindja all to ourselves one rainy day, at the end of which we chatted to you both while the thunder rumbled around the mountains and the lights […]

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Travel Info and Help

It’s winter. And days are long and slow and boring, and silent. And sliced up by sudden changes between sloth and imperatives. When the wind blows, and the snow falls, and various natural things howl, the electricity is prone or likely to go out. In which case, at which time, a small wood stove is […]

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Travel Info and Help

On the Dubious but nonetheless Glorious Triumph of Being [Recognized]

About 7 years ago, I uprooted my (hurly-burly) life in NYC and moved to this small, remote, isolated village in Northern Albania. I did this quixotically, with no planning or financial strategy, in a few suitcases. And no legality. After 6 years of uninterupted life here, I am now (I guess) firmly illegal everywhere. Not […]

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What Passion Feels Like

                                                             

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