Tuesday, October 14, 2008

On the narrow road back from Himare we took a detour to the tiny town of Jale (Yala). The winding cobblestone streets and crumbling stone houses made this a charming stop, but what really made it memorable was an invitation into a local home. As we were walking through the town, we noticed a man making Raki, the traditional Albanian drink, a clear robust liquor made from grapes or other fruit depending on where it's from. After hearing Travis exclaim, "Raki!" the man invited us into his courtyard to sample his fine product. And it was fine. I was a little nervous at first because I have heard horror stories about home-brewed Raki and how, if made wrong, can kill you in an instant. But I couldn't resist. You can see from the picture below how they make it. He stores it in barrels outside his home and probably sells it to local markets. His wife then came out to greet us with a baby on her arm. Another small child was walking around covering his eyes, too (See picture). The lady of the house told us he was too shy to look at us. They showed us around their small vineyard and gave us a sample of grapes and brought us some orange soda too. Lovely gracious people.

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