Traveling…

I have been posting some of my pictures from our travels on Facebook but I know that everyone that follows my blog is not on Facebook and vice-a-versa so I wanted to update you on our travels on the blog too.

Kruja

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Our first day trip was taken in late August.  The school took all the new teachers to Kruja which is about an hour’s drive up some steep mountain roads from Tirana.  We used public transportation (a bus) to get to Kruja and it cost roughly $1.50. The city of Kruja dates back to the 3rd century BC.

We visited this castle-ish museum which told us the history of Albania’s struggle against the Ottomans.

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The museum features Skanderbeg who was probably the most significant single individual in the history of Albania.  He is responsible for gathering support to resist the Ottomans.

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My favorite part of Kruja was visiting the bazaar which is closed to traffic and full of authentic Albanian wares like rugs, scarves, olive wood bowls, etc.

Durres

In early September, Randy and I and a friend took a day trip to the coastal town of Durres which is about a 45 minute drive from Tirana.  Once again we took a public bus to get there but his time we figured out how to do it by ourselves. 🙂 When I said we took the bus, it really  means we were just in an oversized van. On the trip over the bus would stop at what appeared to be random places along the highway to drop off or pick up other passengers. There were no bus stop signs or stands just people standing along the highway waiting to board the bus.

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The coastal town of Durres has been inhabited for 3,000 years! It is best known for it’s beautiful beaches which we did not get to on this trip. We did visit this amphitheater which was only discovered in 1966. It has not been fully excavated because people still live in some the houses that were unknowingly built on top of the amphitheater.

Randy is seated where up to 15,000 spectators would have sat at one time. This amphitheater is about a third of the size of the Colosseum in Rome.

Under the seats there was a small Byzantine chapel dating back to the 6th century. If you look carefully at the picture on the right you can tell that it is a badly damaged mosaic of some saints and archangels. The lower left picture is of the chapel’s baptismal font.

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Also under the seating we could see the pens where the lions were kept and the tunnel through which the gladiators entered the arena. So cool!

Berat 

In early October we rented a car for the first time so we could drive two hours south to Berat. We rented the car through Enterprise and it only cost $35 a day. Yay! There was not much difference between renting a car here and renting a car in the States. Driving on the highways was not an issue although the traffic speed is slower. Driving in Tirana can be quite an adventure because of the lack of lane markings (particularly in the roundabouts),  people changing lanes with no signals and all the pedestrians.

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We drove through this archway as we entered this 4th century B.C. castle where we spent the night.
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Kris Berat Guest House… so charming!
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The view out our guest house window.

We enjoyed a lovely and plentiful breakfast the next morning.

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Look at the grapes hanging from the vine that surrounded the guest house.
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The following are views in and around the castle.

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There were originally 24 churches and mosques housed within the castle walls.
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We have now left the castle to go into the town of Berat for dinner. This is known as the 1000 windows.
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…and again at night.

 

Vienna, Austria

I had a week off from school in October so Randy and I decided to fly to Vienna to visit Peter Bernal Reyes and his fiancé, Julia Ellinghaus. Peter is originally from Germany and stayed with us for a year while he was in high school. It was wonderful to reconnect with Peter and Julia! Our son, David, came over from NYC to join us for the week. Loved it!

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Peter is now a pilot for Lufthansa and met us at the airport when we arrived Vienna.
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The next morning we went to church where Peter and Julia will be married in July. Wow, beautiful!
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Bavarian Brunch at Julia and Peter’s apartment. Yum!
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We are headed to Oktoberfest. David has borrowed some lederhosen and Julia is wearing the traditional dirndl.

Oktoberfest was so much FUN!!!!

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We climbed 340 steps up the steeple of St. Stephen’s Cathedral.
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Outside of the cathedral was this gorgeous flower shop.
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Vienna’s City Hall
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This gorgeous building houses the equivalent to our Supreme Court.
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Schonbrunn Palace, the summer home of Emperor Franz Josef and Empress Elisabeth (Sisi).
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Bike ride around two of Vienna’s parks.

We went to see an opera called “Elektra”.  It was very unusual but still glad we did it. The opera was sung in German but each seat had their own screen that included subtitles in English.

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We are headed to Salzburg on one of Austria’s super efficient trains.
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Look how each of St. Peter’s burial plots has a personalized garden maintained by the family.
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Mozart’s birthplace
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We ate dinner at St. Peter’s and  listened to a quintet playing music by Mozart.
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Need I say more…
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The church where Maria from the “Sound of Music” was married.
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The view out of our hotel room in Salzburg.
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We attended a Marionette Theater in Salzburg which we absolutely loved!
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On our last night in Austria we took two buses out into the countryside to visit two vineyards.
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A great way to end a wonderful week…

Theth

In early November two friends and I took a trip to the far north of Albania to visit the small village of Theth. Randy is now back in the USA for a couple of months for hunting season so he was unable to join us. My friends and I were part of a tour that included transportation, one nights lodging and three full meals at a very reasonable rate. The last hour of the drive was “hair raising” because of the very steep, narrow roads that the tour bus needed to navigate. Yikes, it was scary at times! The drive was well worth it though considering the absolutely gorgeous setting.

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Theth is primarily Catholic even though the rest of Albania is primarily Muslim.

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Look how clear the water is!

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My traveling companions on this trip were Dana and Kelly who teach Chinese at Albanian College. They were such fun to be with for the weekend!

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This is the tour book we bought from Amazon before moving to Albania. When you look at the picture on this book cover and the picture above it, can you see that the pictures were token from roughly the same place?

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This water came straight from the side of the mountain. There were several of these throughout the village. The water was so refreshing to drink.
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The meals were plentiful and delicious!
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This is the guesthouse where we stayed.

If you are still reading this blog post, I have to apologize for it’s length. As I said earlier, most of these pictures have already been posted on Facebook so the blog may be redundant for you.

Life has been busy with these travels plus lots of report card paperwork with the end of term one. I am going to try harder to keep up with this blog. 🙂 Tomorrow is the beginning of a five day weekend.  There is no school because it is Albanian Independence Day and Albanian Liberation Day. Two friends and I are headed to Venice for a four night stay.  I have never been to Italy so I am really looking forward to this trip!

12 thoughts on “Traveling…

  1. Hi Sarah! Your photos are absolutely wonderful! Thank you for sharing your amazing adventure with us! I am speechless and just in awe! Thank you!

    On Wed, Nov 28, 2018 at 3:02 AM Teaching in Albania wrote:

    > Sarah Williams posted: “I have been posting some of my pictures from our > travels on Facebook but I know that everyone that follows my blog is not on > Facebook and vice-a-versa so I wanted to update you on our travels on the > blog too. Kruja We visited this castle-ish museum whi” >

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi, nice to see pictures of your travels. Also good to see Randy at the hall–Jim Murray

    On Wed, Nov 28, 2018 at 3:00 AM Teaching in Albania wrote:

    > Sarah Williams posted: “I have been posting some of my pictures from our > travels on Facebook but I know that everyone that follows my blog is not on > Facebook and vice-a-versa so I wanted to update you on our travels on the > blog too. Kruja We visited this castle-ish museum whi” >

    Like

  3. These beautiful pictures and your details of the adventure reinforce the great decision you made to seize this opportunity. Thank you for taking the time to share!

    Liked by 1 person

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