Saturday, September 20, 2008


So we went to Kruja today. It's a town that is up in the hills about an hour's drive north of Tirana. Skanderbeg, the National Hero, (no one ever says his name without adding the "National Hero" bit) used Kruja as one of the major defenses against the Ottoman Turks. We saw the castle ruins, but there were no labels in English. We also went the the ethnographic museum and had an English speaking tour guide. The museum is in a "rich man's" home built in the 18oos. The rich man was a general and a Muslim, so the house is set up to reflect that culture. There were also original fresco and textiles. I am kind of nerdy when it comes to cultural things like that, so I enjoyed myself. Perhaps the biggest pull to Kruja is the bazaar. I plan on doing some intense Christmas shopping there in the future! There was an amazing antique store that deals mainly with wood products, so you know I felt at home. There were dowry chests, Catholic, Muslim, Orthodox and Jewish, and all sorts of curiosities. Oh! And Amy took us to a man who sells silver that his father makes and designs. Beautiful! I was a little overwhelmed, so I didn't buy any, but next time. It was art and the shop owner was so passionate about his father's creations. I could identify. Anyhow, I kept thinking how I'll have to take Lora Carter to that store when she comes in the spring!
Our transportation to Kruja. We had a fancier minibus on the drive home...but this one was an adventure!
The bazaar and Demetra standing in the street. The shops were lined up and down and most of the shopkeepers spoke English. You can get almost any Albanian (and otherwise) craft.
A weaver at work! There were a ton of rug shops like this one. I didn't buy any rugs. It's funny how I'm controlling my shop-o-holic tendencies!
Travis, working on talking turkey, at the museum. He actually has a great gobbling call. It cracked me up so I'm including this picture with this post!
Our tour guide demonstrating an olive oil press that "rich people" would have used....he also showed us the one the lowly masses would have used. It involved fancy foot work.
Tracey and our friend Fabian, from Germany, in front of the tower remains. The three of us poked around exploring.
Now these are the rocky mountains! Can't wait to visit again!
Here's what I brought home with me. It's a tray made of olive wood. I liked it. It spoke to me. I bought it for roughly $15. Oh, and my table cloth is a Danish import from our imitation Ikea store!


Chris said...

So, does it snow in Albania? If so, will the Kruja bazaar still operate in the winter? Just a thought. Might want to do your Christmas shopping now. :-)

Jody said...

I am all about the shopping. I am in awe of your restraint from purchasing. :)

Theresa said...

What a unique place to shop at!

Melinda said...

what a great story! I, too, am amazed at your restraint from purchasing. I'm with Chris, do the Christmas shopping now. You will be miles ahead of us! I have itchy fingers just reading your post!