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Showing posts from May, 2006

What's On

Walking round the city I'm seeing many more banners advertising forthcoming events. These are some that I have come across in the last few days. I haven't yet found out how to get notice of events in advance, so I am sure I am missing some good things. If anyone out there knows of a Tirana 'What's On' guide and where to get it, let me know.


Today I visited the latest shopping centre to arrive in the city. Galeria is located in the first four floors of the European Trade Center. There are about 70 shops including well known names such as Benetton and Nike. Of greater interest to us is the soon to open supermarket from the Italian Conad chain. Since the demise of the Xhea markets we have had little choice but to drive out to Euromax. Now it seems that we might well have a new option in the heart of the city - the ETC is at the junction of Bajram Curri and Lek Dukagjini for those who know Tirana. I'm not a big fan of shopping or shopping centres but this is definitely a great addition to the city. It is clean, bright, airy, nicely designed and remarkably smoke free - so far. As well as the shops it has cafes on all four floors. Since the complex is air-conditioned I imagine these will be nice places to escape from the summer heat.

Down South

At the weekend we finally headed South. Together with some friends we drove down to Llogora, between Vlora and Himara. The weather was great, the beaches were pleasant and uncrowded, the water was clear and the food was superb. I even tried some lamb's head at last. The lips (I think they were lips) were fine; the brain was disappointing - mushy with very little taste. The raki tasted better than usual, though I resisted the suggestion that I should have some with breakfast. Below are some photographs of the area and of part of our Sunday dinner. The last photograph is of the Independence Monument in Vlora.

This and That

The cycle of hot sunny mornings and wet thundery afternoons seems finally to have ended and we have been treated to almost non-stop sunshine in these last days. As spring takes hold there is a lot more going on in the city. On Monday we visited the Egyptian Trade Fair being held this week at the Palace of Congresses. When not being trampled by the herd of reporters, heavies and cameramen following the Prime Minister around, we were treated to an eclectic mix of Egyptian products, from aluminium pots, to stuffed olives to fake horsehair chairs. Just down the street the Rognor Hotel is advertising its Schnitzel Week. The connection here is that the Rogner is owned by an Austrian company. We have not tried their restaurant yet, but this might be a good excuse to do so. Good schnitzel has proven elusive so far, but we would like to think that the Austrians should be able to get it right. Perhaps holding the Egyptian Trade Fair in the Pyramid would have been a little too contrived, but it

Adventures of Dougal

On Saturday as we returned from shopping Dougal came bounding up to greet us as he usually does. We noticed he was hobbling as he ran and then we noticed the blood dripping from his paw. He left a trail along our driveway before settling down on the patio where we tried to spray him with antibiotic - not that he was very co-operative. On Sunday he was still hobbling along and I managed to get a look at his paw. He had a very deep and, by that stage, dirty wound. What to do? Let him look after it himself as best he could? Or get him some help? We decided to take him to the vet. On Monday we loaded him into the back of our car for his first ever drive. I was worried that he might get too excited and bark, jump around, throw up or pee all over the car. In the event the poor dog was terrified. He lay in the back whimpering and trembling. At the vets, I held him down while this strange man stuck needles in him. Eventually the anaesthetic took hold and his eyes glazed over. Thirty minutes