Moving apart from the other volunteers still makes me sad. Luckily, there are weekends- a perfect time to travel around the country and visit our long (it has only been 1-8 weeks) lost friends. After settling in, Group 11 threw our group a “Welcome to the Berat Region” party at my house, and we had some good old-fashioned BBQ and a lot of “get-to-know-you” conversations. I realized Berat is a good central region amongst my friends and since I have a mansion for a home it is an especially good meeting spot.
Most of the group reunited for 3 birthdays at the end of June in Durres (the 2nd largest city in Albania and near the beach). It was great seeing everyone and the beach was definitely beautiful- however, I must say that my most favorite part of Durres was our night out for dinner. If I have not previously mentioned, Albanians LIVE for coffee, it’s known as a coffee culture. You literally cannot step two feet without running into a café. Unfortunately, most café’s say “RESTAURANT” on them but FAIL to serve ANY FOOD WHATSOEVER- talk about false advertising. As a result, searching for a restaurant in an unknown town can be quite the challenge. My group finally stumbled upon a restaurant where a friend confirmed with the owner that they DO in fact have mish (meat). So, assuming it is a safe bet, we push together tables and sit down to order. (Other side note: menu’s do not exist). When we ask what they have, the woman says ONLY MEAT. We clearly take this for a joke and ask question after question along these lines: Do you have salad? ONLY MEAT. Do you have rice? ONLY MEAT. Do you have potatoes/fries? ONLY MEAT. ONLY MEAT. ONLY MEAT. Riddle me this: how often do you come upon a place that just serves up a plate of piping hot meat, any way you want it, no side dishes, JUST MEAT? This has GOT to be the only place that would do that- and I’m happy to say that we found it here in Albania. Unfortunately, we did not eat there and the owner understood so she kindly wrote a note in Albanian saying “These are my American friends, take good care of them,” and told us to go to her friend’s restaurant down the street. If you, however, are into the idea of only meat for dinner, come visit and I will know where to take you =) Happy eating!
Tyler grilling up the kebobs! Sofie & Kristine came to visit Berat
Host family giving me a box or two of juice for the bus ride home=)
Raino being escorted to the Durres restaurant while simultaneously being hit up for $$ Some of the bday party crew on the beaches of Durres