Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Last day in Albania

After leaving Shkodra, we stopped for lunch at a restaurant in the middle of nowhere. A friend of V's husband had recommended it, though neither of our friends had ever been there. We were pleasantly surprised when the food came out. Salad and bread to begin with of course...then an amazing fish platter which looked way too big for four people. Amazingly enough, we finished just about everything on the platter - except the octopus and one lone fish no one could fit in. My favorite was the fried red fish. No idea what kind of fish it is, that's just what V called it - "red fish." I wasn't too sure about it since it looked like the whole fish was simply dropped in a pan and fried (head, eyes, tail and all), but it had a wonderful taste and consistency - just a bit crispy on the outside and tender on the inside...just thinking about it is making me hungry for it.

Following the fish platter, we had duck. The restaurant is supposedly well known for their duck. There were pictures of ducks on all the walls around us...so all I kept thinking while we were waiting was someone going outside to round up supper. When I say "duck plate" you may imagine slices of duck breast, pleasantly arranged on a platter...ah, nope. Try three little duck bodies, with the necks still attached, just siting on a white plate with a couple lettuce leaves around their little butts. Despite my hesitation based on the fact it looked like a tiny little duckling had been plucked and broiled just moments ago (which I guess it had been), I tried to eat it. I guess since it was a wild duck, it's supposed to have a special flavor but it tasted like liver to me. Since I'm not a fan of liver, V's husband ate mine. The meal ended, as usual, with a fruit plate.

On the way home I took several pictures of houses and scenery along the highway. As I had feared all week, my camera battery died so I didn't get very many. Next time, I'm bringing an extra battery or two as well as an extra memory card.

We had dinner with Valbona and her brother-in-law, packed and got up at 0400 on Saturday morning (4 Apr 09) to make our 0630 flight. It was sad to think of leaving, especially on such a historic day. Outside our hotel, everything was getting set up for a huge concert and celebration of Albania officially joining NATO. During our whole visit, throughout Tirana and in the smaller towns, there were flags and banners marking the occasion. We were amazed when we got to Frankfurt Germany that there was hardly anything on the news about Albania and Croatia joining NATO. Instead everything seemed to revolve around Pres. Obama and welcoming France back into NATO. Funny how different things seem important to different people at different times. If we had not been in Albania at the time they received their official invitation to join NATO and on the day they officially joined, we may not have even realized it happened. But one would think the major news stations would have at least mentioned it...Either way, I am glad we were there for it, even in such a small way.


  1. Thank you for taking us where we likely would not have gone on our own, describing foods we might not ever even hear about much less eat even if we did hear about them, and for sharing stories of your life, travels, and adventures with people we will probably never meet. You could easily become a good-will ambassador for Albania.

    Assuming you’re finished with the travelogue, will we get an update on your goals? Seems tomorrow is the big 100th day for our beloved president and the media will update us on how he’s doing---thought I’d ask how you’re doing. Besides, Steph asked me recently if you had given any updates.

  2. I would love to be a "good-will ambassador" or something like that (how about just Ambassador? :) ) for Albania, or even for the whole Balkan region. The two times I have been lucky enough to travel to/through the Balkans I've loved it. It's so different from the US and Western Europe which makes it interesting and exciting, but it's similar enough that you easily feel a kinship with the people.

    Thanks for asking about my goals. I did an update of my goals back at the beginning of March and had planned on another update in June. As much as doing an update the same day as we get an update on our president would meet my need for symmetry in life, I think it would be best to wait. With all the travel I've been doing, not much has changed since March as far as accomplishing my goals is concerned...

  3. Very diplomatically said! After all, it is not like an ambassador to outshine the president. Besides, with all the news media focusing on him, who would have time to read your blog?!?!?!