I travel a lot. Not as much as I would like to …but for a traveller it’s never enough.
I’ve been through Europe…still lot to see, lot of places waiting for me to visit.
I usually don’t write about places and impressions, but now I will make an exception.
I do it because this place needs to be known better, needs to be shown and the world must know more about this small country on the West of Balkans.
I had been living in Albania, Tirana for almost one year, and I must say I’m in love with this country. Arriving here I found exactly what my body, mind and soul needed for healing, for open up again, and to smile back to life. I was a foreigner with big fears meeting and working with good and hard-working people. By the end of the year I must say that I got blessed with some special friends, sweet and caring, open minded, and highly educated young people…who despite the difficulties, decided to stay and work in the country, choosing to live here, loyal and proud of being Albanians! They work hard, most of them have more than one job and they believe in a better future of the country despite the present situation. Because you know…there is also another side of the coin. There are masses of people leaving the country to try their luck in foreign places, helping the family from abroad. The fear of losing the next generation is there in each conversation, the insecurity of tomorrow is printed on the faces of the people. And still…despite all, as soon as you arrive you will notice the genuine will of people to help you in any way, to make sure you feel good and enjoy being in Albania.
My biggest sadness is that this place is labelled with all kind of negative and prejudice and fearful stories.
Let me tell you something about this place. First day you arrive with curiosity mixed with some fear, and by the end of the day all what stays is the curiosity. Because the vibes of this country, the beautiful landscapes and the nice and warm-hearted people give you the answer…why to let go fear. You will have the curiosity to see, taste and experience. What I love? The list is endless. Starting with the people, the mix match of the city, how the old and the new finds balance, how the need and love for beauty shows up in most unexpected places and ways. The colourful wall paintings, street art…the genuine love for sweets, the deep and strong connection between people, hundreds of coffee shops. Among many other things you will notice one thing that the Western countries have lost in the last few years. You will see Families. Altogether, no lonely grandparents, no one is left outside the family. You will see people walking and talking with each other. People who love to sit next to a coffee and share stories, helping and teasing each other. You will see a not too wealthy country with rich people. Rich by heart, rich by having and loving their families and friends, rich by having a smile and a good heart, rich by loving their home. And you will meet young people with healthy self-esteem, having the confidence of those who were always loved and wanted. No doubt and no question. Family is all. Children are always first.
Visiting Albania is always full of surprises. But all I can say that it’s a series of nice surprises. With its beautiful landscapes, mountains, wonderful beaches, with the cities developing each day, the people of Albania; are all good reasons to visit the country. Placed on the West Coast of the Balcan Peninsula, the land of eagles as the locals call their home, in a Mediterranean environment, with the Adriatic on North and Ionic sea in the South, the seaside is 360 km long. 2/3 of its territory is covered by mountains, the highest peak at 2.764m the Korab.
Albania is like an unpolished diamond, shining in a beautiful chaotic way between the world of the East and West. Yes, this is a place where there is a big chance to see donkeys, cows, sheep walking down the streets or even crossing main roads. This is a place where nature and human-kind is still in connection, with respect for the traditions, the word family is still a value, where generations are living and working together for a better life, for a better future.
Most of its population lives a modest life, the buildings are not very special to remember them, there are a bunch of un-finished houses all over the country. But then…there are the old towns, old cities, the castles imprinted with history and charm, which gives you a unique plus to your journey. The roads are a huge surprise, renovating them, and building new ones is visible from one day to another, meanwhile there are many streets and roads in extreme conditions.
All the discomfort can be easily forgotten when you meet and talk with the people. Their hospitality is beyond any imagination, nice surprise is how easy you can find people who speak English or Italian. This little country, whom not so long time ago was still struggling under the dictatorship regime, is changing and developing day by day.
This is a country that leaves you with the curiosity, you want to see more and want to tell everyone to dare to visit and you want to come back to see how it changed, what changed…meanwhile you pray that the things you love, the bond of the families, the traditions you respect so much to be untouched and there forever.