Saturday, March 15, 2014

Tirana: Summer Day

We arrived in Tirana on March 14th, Summer Day in Albania.  In China, Chinese New Year, aka. Spring Festival is celebrated in winter.  Here Summer Day is celebrated in the spring.

Our day started in Berat with the requisite Summer Day cake, ballokume, a giant cookie, as a part of our breakfast.  When we left Berat on the bus the whole town looked to be on the street going somewhere.  Our hotel told us the tradition is for people to get together for an outing, e.g. a picnic in the hills.

While Tirana is short on sights, the city center has one park after another.   On this particularly fine holiday, the main boulevard was decked out with special holiday decoration;  people spilled from cafes, parks, and streets; street fairs, fun rides, street vendors, and ambulatory sellers brought much entertainment for the crowds.  There was such joy in the air.  There was even a Critical Mass ride.  As much as Albania reminds us of China, I cannot image something so progressive happenings in China.

We were charmed by Tirana  and decided to spend an extra day.   I have much respect for the Albanian people.  In spite of adversaries, they still have their own language and their own country, be it a little poor.  Their Communist apartment buildings may be crumbling, plain, if not ugly, nothing some creative painting cannot fix -- is there ever a grander shabby chic project?!

The traditional Summer Day ballokume are in the center of the OJ and omelettes. And that's two bowls of yogurt at top.
Tirana, Albania

Brisk ballokume business at a street fair in Tirana.
Tirana, Albania

Byreks for breakfast!
Tirana, Albania

Scaling the Pyramid - a fav youthful pastime in downtown Tirana.
Tirana, Albania

Critical Mass ride.
Tirana, Albania

Tirana, Albania

Communist era architecture.
Tirana, Albania

And a fav contempory building.
Tirana, Albania

And a 3rd Century AD Roman Mosaic that's just outside city center.
Tirana, Albania

Painted apartment buildings.
Tirana, Albania

Tirana, Albania

Tirana, Albania

What copyright laws?
Tirana, Albania

Tirana, Albania

The most famous Albanian after John Belushi is Mother Teresa.
Tirana, Albania

Dinner at Vlla Boni Restaurant.
Tirana, Albania

3 comments:

Kathy said...

Sounds like your timing has been really good so far. Glad you're having fun.

Crash Eddy said...

John Belushi is/was Albanian? What an education you provide to us loyal followers. Two totally different views of your fave contemporary building, I had to scroll back to compare. Sun Ling with a butterfly - a bonus photo for sure.

john said...

Thanks Eddy and Kathy!