Balkans 2014 travel blog

Muzeu Etnografix

Ottoman Meeting Room

Ottoman Family Room

Entering the Bazaar

Do Five Guys know about this place?

Seen from my hotel

Another view from my hotel

Yet another view from my hotel

The houses cling to the hillside

Enjoying the view


A town like Gjirokaster shouldn't be a quick stop on a tour bus. It isn't like Disney World where you rush from one attraction to the next. Indeed, there are very few “attractions” available here. It's best to wander its streets and absorb its unique history.

My reservation for this hotel listed that breakfast was included. So, I walked into the dining room to see what I might find. The owners motioned for me to sit at any table. I sat and waited. Soon, dish after dish came out of the kitchen. First several slices of warm bread and rolls, then a fresh fried egg and cheese. Finally, a corn fritter and a pot of chai (tea). That makes the $25 for the room an even better bargain! Around here, you're never sure what will be included in breakfast. It's usually a buffet with bread, croissants, and rolls with tea or coffee. There always seems to be fried egg or hard-boiled egg. I can usually find corn flakes and mils. At smaller establishments like this, there's no buffet, they just bring you something whenever you arrive.

After a delicious breakfast, I headed out to explore the village. No destination; no plan; just head out.

I soon came upon the Muzeu Etnografix, which I translated as "Ethnographic Museum", which should be a study of cultures. It turned out to be another historical building open to the public. As with yesterday's visit. The ground floor had no windows, just loopholes to defend the home. (If loop holes are made too big, the enemy might be able to crawl through them, hence our modern day use of the term "loop hole".) The upper levels had large rooms, each of which was surrounded by smaller rooms.

As I descended the hill into town, I came about the bazaar. Unlike the one in Macedonia, these were simpler stalls. Most were selling fruits and vegetables; many were selling clothing. None were targeting tourists like me.

One curiosity was the number of Mercedes in town. Albania is one of the poorest countries in Europe with high unemployment. Why so many Mercedes? In looking a little more carefully, I noticed that the percentage of Mercedes to other makes increases as you go higher up the hill until around 75% of the cars are Mercedes. I'm guessing that, just like in America, the properties with the best views command the highest prices and attract the most affluent. That's just my guess; I could be completely wrong.

I continued to roam around town until sunset, which comes early this time of year.

Once back in my room, my coughing started up again and continued throughout the night, affording me very little sleep. I'm becoming more suspicious that the feather pillows and down comforter are to blame.

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