Tuesday, October 24, 2006


The best part of the day trip to Shkodra was visiting the mask factory that made the carnival, Venetian masks for the movie "Eyes Wide Shut" with Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. The masks were absolutely incredible. This mask to the left is our proud purchase.

Incredible view from Rozafa Castle where you can see the huge mosque.

In September we took a trip to the northern city of Shkodra, about 2 hours by bus from Tirana. We hear that Shkodra is much more conservative than the modern Tirana. There are a couple of interesting articles about Shkodra: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4273020.stm and http://www.unicef.org/albania/reallives_765.html

We visited Rozafa Castle, which is about 2,400 years old. This was Amy's first castle ever. Rozafa has kind of a cool legend, you can check it out here: http://www.geocities.com/spiritofalbania/legendofrozafa


Travis went to a football match complete with fireworks and totally crazed fans. Albania was playing Romania. Albania lost 2-0.

Monday, October 23, 2006

This is the Kolonat, otherwise known as "the broken arches", however the word Kolonat means "towers". It even has McDonald's style rolling highchairs and their own version of a happy meal called "happy kids". I haven't seen Ronald yet. In any case, all the kids love it. They have more ice-cream flavors than I thought possible. In case you're wondering why it looks like its housed in a tent, one look inside at the strong resemblance will confirm why it's probably not so smart to invest in a long-term permanent structure.

Another view from another balcony...when we go downtown we have to cross these soccer practice fields of the University. We pretty much live on the University campus. Grazing alongside these soccer players are cattle watched over by their weathered caretakers. Sometimes there's even a horse or two. It truly is a multi-purpose field. Travis likes to eat dinner on this balcony and watch the scrimmages. When Amy goes to the gym, she likes to say hello to the old women who are knitting and tending the cattle. The other day, two men with drums tied around their necks were walking along making music and young boys were catching bees in bottles.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

This is the view from our kitchen balcony. In the bottom of the yellow building is a little market where we can get most of the basics. A couple of doors to the left is a new pizzeria that delivers. The street is newly paved. Changes are happening everyday.