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The Kitchen Ketri

This Albanian Squirrel seems to have taken up residence in our kitchen at Rilindja.  Klod and I think he lives between the two cabinets that make the island in the middle of the kitchen.  He’s remarkably unobtrusive, and apparently impervious to insult.  In an ill-thought-out attempt to make friends, I accidentally chased him up up […]

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In Video: The Valbona Land Grab

The first part of a short documentary about the fight of local villagers in Valbona, in Northern Albania, against an illegal land grab being made by the local government.

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More Wordy Ramblings from Yours Truly

I am sitting in the restaurant, which means the main room, at Rilindja. I am in the Valbona Valley of Northern Albania. I am, somehow, home. After a lot of noise (arriving bands of local teenagers, out for a school-sponsored day’s exploration) it’s quiet, I’m alone, and all I can hear is the sound of […]

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Spring and Baby Bunnies Come to Valbona

Oops – sorry it’s taken me so long to add anything new here – I’m still getting the hang of using modern technology here in the land where we still cut hay with a scythe . . . but lest you think it’s all grim winter (I realized the other day that most of what […]

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Tropojan Security

Up until now, I’ve lived in New York, the land of  crime and theft – both informal and professional.  Accordingly, I find some things hilarious, in Albania.  Alfred carries a huge bunch of keys, which lock doors all over the place — but when I look at the doors . . . . I could […]

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What’s in a Name?

I do love a good coinkydink. As you may notice from other writing elsewhere in this website, the handiest analagous cultural reference for Europeans unfamiliar with Malesori culture is probably to the “Highlanders” of Scotland. You know the rap: fiercely independent, wild by reputation, appearing lawless to outsiders, honorable to the point of insanity among […]

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On the Death of a Much Loved Dog in Winter

I have just returned from spending two winter months in the north of Albania. On January 31st, a particularly heavy snowstorm tore down all the electrical wires and closed the only road – a 25 kilometer dirt road – to the nearest town. This effectively sealed off the whole valley from any form of modern […]

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Snowfall

The Malësori or “Highlanders” are famous for (and pride themselves on living with) the harshness of the mountains, and the winter in particular. In summer, one of the first things Alfred told me as I was oohing and ahhing about the beauty of Valbona, was “Yes, but the winter is very harsh – Three Meters […]

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Home Again Home Again Jiggity Jig

I’m just waking up at 3 am, back at Freddy’s Hostel in Tirana. In an hour I have to get up to meet Eri and catch the minibus up to Bajrum Curri and then on to Valbona. You would think that after 24 hours of traveling, involving four airports, no sleep for 24 hours before […]

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Dr. Robert Elsie, Foremost Authority on Albania Checks Us Out

On my way out of Albania the last time, I discovered (the the shock of my credit card) a sneaky secret resource of the Tirana Airport — its bookstore! In ten minutes in that bookstore I spent more than I had in two weeks in Albania (and then limped my way across several continents, hauling […]

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