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Took a bus to Gjirokastra, a city with a great fortress and just nice, peaceful village (of course it's not tourist season yet either). The photos say it all but hiking up the steep, narrow cobblestone street I was passing a small market (the kind you find everywhere in Albania), and stopped for a breather to buy a couple of carrots. When I 'asked' how much the gentleman motioned to me to just have them! At first I thought I misinterpreted him and took out my coin purse but he shook his hand/head, no just take them! See photo of man in his market. This is the character of Albanians I've found everywhere, generous, helpful and proud of their country - no matter how many times they've been invaded and ruled by outside forces. That being said, Mari went on a bus to see a 'blue hole' spring nearby and got into conversation with several Albanians about their country. She had commented on how beautiful their country is and they had laughed. On further in the discussion she discovered that they had misunderstood her reference to 'beautiful' as being applied to the whole of their country including politics. Once the discussion turned political their cynicism came out when they pointed to the potholed roads and said nothing was being done to fix the roads they only talk about building a huge, new parliment building in the capital! Sounds familiar! Some indication of their pride comes through in having kept their own language and when you show an interest in learning a few words they are happy and most insistant upon teaching you. Before catching the bus back I tried to buy an apple from a vendor selling from the back of his truck with the same result as the carrots. I developed a stomach ache later which I at first attributed to eating the carrots/apple which I had rubbed off well but not washed. When we got back to Sarade I thought it might be something I could nip in the bud with cipro and lomotil so I took them without reading the directions. Then we went to eat - salad and veggie soup. The result was a huge increase in the intensity of the stomach cramps. I felt like my insides were going to explode, even halucinated it with Bon & Mari having to clean up the mess, ha! I the midst of my misery Bon read the cipro instructions which called for drinking lots of water and NOT taking the lomotil until after a first BM! That'll teach me to read the directions first but then I'm 60's old school, ha! At any rate, Bon came to the conclusion that all my trials with the cramps were due to dehydration in the first place! This made perfect sense since we had been hiking vigorously and because it was somewhat cold and windy I did not feel a need to, thus didn't, drink any water the whole day!

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