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Dangerously Fashionable

Two more Western newspapers carried stories on Albania at the weekend. The San Francisco Chronicle published a piece by Bill Fink on Sunday, Not Such a Joke. Here is a sample:
I arrived in Tirana expecting to see a city with a new surface but rotting at the core, a painted pig of a capital wallowing in its own filth. But as disasters go, it was another disappointment. Central Tirana parks are now filled with kids playing around new jungle gyms. Parents sit on public benches amid neatly manicured, trash-free lawns. Multicolored buildings create a skyline resembling a postmodern Lego set. Couples stroll through the formerly forbidden and now fashionable "bloc" district of bars, cafes and restaurants. At night, young groups order cocktails and listen to chill music in Euro-hip bars, while men sip their thimbles of coffee and smoke away the time in sidewalk cafes. People walk home without fear of mugging.
The same day, The Independent on Sunday published a piece by Alex Wade, taking issue with AA Gill's recent hatchet job in the Sunday Times. Here is a sample from his article, Wild Albania-Coming in From the Cold:

As I reflect on various trips to Albania, I recall sitting on a veranda in Gjirokaster, sipping a glass of raki, watching the sun set on the Lunxheria mountains. I think of swimming in the glistening Ionian sea, drinking coffee in Tirana, wandering among the exquisite ruins of Butrint.

I remember all the instances of friendliness from Albanians, and I think of Byron's words: "[The Albanians] are brave, rigidly honest, and faithful ... perhaps the most beautiful race ... in the world."

If anyone comes across good - or bad - articles on Albania why not pass them on? I will mention them here and maybe put together a post containing all the articles that I have mentioned and linked to in previous posts.


Anonymous said…
Great articles and keep up the great work... i enjoy reading this page and reading news from back home
aldoPlepi said…
Thanks for your frequent links to articles about Albania. And, of course, thanks for your posts. They are wonderful. I love that idea of having all the articles in a list of their own.
DAI said…
Will gladly point to articles of interest when I'll come across them, but you are way ahead of us...and I don't mean only time zone wise....:-) !
Keep up the good work, Alwyn -- the proposed collection is an excellent idea, and thank you for the great service you provide to many of us.
ourmanintirana said…
You are all very welcome. I'm glad people find this stuff useful. I'm also thinking of putting together a single page linking to all the official reports I have highlighted in the past year.

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Welcome to Our Man in Tirana. I moved to Tirana, capital of Albania, in October 2005 and left in October 2007. This blog is a mix of photographs, reports, links, impressions and, undoubtedly, prejudices relating to the city and the country.

Since I am no longer in Tirana I am no longer updating this blog. However, there are over 300 posts covering this two year period and I hope that they are still of some interest.

So if you are curious about Albania or if you are planning to visit I hope this blog will be of value.

Petrela Castle

This is Petrela Castle near Tirana. The site has been fortified since the 4th century, but the oldest surviving parts are from the 13th century. Today the castle is a restaurant where you can enjoy lunch while taking in the views.