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  1. Logbook to the middle ages. XI

    In Albania, I am told, religions know how to get along.
    Shqipëri is tiny and it is ancient so it is a place that has been invaded, pillaged, conquered, raided and demoted/promoted from region to country to fiefdom to Kingdom to district to Empire (part of one) to now a republic. So it is not hard to realize that religions here have had to live with each other for a long time. In ancient times, the Apollonians (the beautiful ones) constantly quarreled with the Vulcanians (those that followed ...
  2. Logbook to the middle ages. X

    How about Albanian, the language? The WWW tells you that it is so ancestral that is can be at times be considered a dialect, not a language in the proper way. This is the thing over which the pedantic split hairs, the difference between the gradients of human folly. Why was Pluto demoted from Planet to Planetoid? Why is a 1920’s Gershwin classic “classical”, while a 1925 jazz legend “popular”? We are so odd in that aspect.
    Albanian is classified as a dialect and it seems very strange to ...
  3. Logbook to the middle ages. IX

    Along the promenade there is the Piazza Café. It will certainly not win any points for originality nor for accuracy. It is not in the piazza and it is not a café but a pizzeria. It has some charming tables facing the boulevard and I can sit there and enjoy an Albanian beer.
    There are two main brands. Tirana, named after the capital city, and Korca, named after another city. They are close to identical, simple pilsners that will not impress anybody but will satisfy most. In the balmy Beratian ...
  4. Logbook to the middle ages. VIII

    A few days later I travel to Fier, a small town (is there any other kind of town in Albania?) northwest of Berat. It is only 45 minutes and we need to source some equipment from there so I am in charge of inspecting them. I leave Berat and in about 15 minutes am transported in time.
    I have tried to paint Berat as a medieval town, a castle on top, the streets of cobblestones, the time placid and basically immeasurable. But as I leave it this time, my time machine, a Japanese pick up truck, ...
    Tags: albania, berat, fier
  5. Logbook to the middle ages. VII

    I will find out that most of the food in Berat is like that. There are small markets around town but most of the fruits and veggies are locally grown and farmed by the owners, who then go to town and sell them on the spot.
    There is no concept of “health food”. The bread in the town is baked in a few small bakeries which cater to all. Our young Albanian translator insists that it is therefore NOT homemade, as he has his mom and wife to make him “real” bread. I ask if the small bakeries use ...
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