Monday, June 1, 2009

Olive Oil Festival

Don't laugh. There is such a thing as an Olive Oil Festival! And believe it or not I could actually taste the difference between a "good" olive oil and a "bad" olive oil. This event took place on the site of the ancient ruins of Apollonia (which are no where near as amazing as Butrint, but the location is lovely). Many families from school were there, so it was a very social festival. There was traditional dancing and singing (I'm going to try uploading a video of the music), Albanian wine, local olive oil, but sadly, no olives.
There were 18 of us, teachers and parents, who got a ride to Apollonia. A parent from school is helping a local man, George, get his driving service up and running. She organized this complimentary trip for teachers and then opened it up to other parents. (We've used this service for Saranda/Butrint. George will be who I use when I get visitors over here). We hiked to the top of a hill for a typical Albanian meal- mixed meats, Greek salad, French fries and toast. I took this picture of two students, one who I'll have next year, catching butterflies. Jaz is actually an expert! She amazed me.
The four of us girls have a rating system for bathrooms. The scale goes from 1-10. To be a 10, the bathroom must come fully stocked and also be aesthetically pleasing. A 7 is the essentials, minus towels. I don't like Turkish toilets, but some actually rate quite high if they come well stocked. This was a Turkish toilet in a little house. It rated as a 3 in my book (maybe 4 if I'm generous), though it is so charming I'd like to give it at least a 7. This one is tricky to rate.
Sometimes I'm so struck by similarities between California and Albania scenery. Here I am with my friend and fellow teacher, Miss Violeta who teaches the 3s, overlooking farm land that could be Santa Maria 100 years ago.
I've mentioned the restaurant, Serendipity, in a previous post. I think I also mentioned the yummy mojitos. This is the guy who owns Serendipity. He's always there and is very friendly. Tracey and Sarah like his "crocodiles" which are basically mojitos with gin instead of rum. Anyway, moral of the story: you never know who you might see around!
The Larzeliers and the Hemphills standing among ancient ruins.
Tracey decided to walk down the amphitheater steps (Violeta and I had climbed down another way). It's amazing how steep and narrow the steps are.
Posing by the columns! Can't wait for Italy and more pictures with ancient artifacts (and preserved bodies... I am so excited to live a life- long dream of seeing Pompeii!)
If you look to the horizon, you'll see the Adriatic. It was another beautiful Albania day.


Matt said...

booking.. flight.. tomorrow... :)
i wish.
vacation? whats vacation?

Melinda aka Passionfruit said...

oh my gosh, yet another Albanian adventure as I live vicariously through you! I am echoing (SP?) Matt's post!

Andrea said...

Oh my gosh Holly- the scenery, the pictures, the adventures, you ARE living the life long dream of many of us!!! Your bathroom rating system made me laugh, totally a Holly thing that I would partake in too! Hope you have fun on your next set of travels, I can't wait to hear & see more! Take care, loves to you!

Dolores said...

Hi Holly,

Grandpa and I are looking at your blog and wondering if these are the same ruins as on his Albanian calendar?

Jennifer said...

I am not surprised about the olive festival. I am so glad you went. The pictures again are amazing. I especially love seeing the wildflowers in the area.