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IDEAS: City Escape

Tirana in August is hot! Many have headed for the hills or the sea. Just outside Tirana, escaping to the freshness of the beautiful Erzen Valley, I saw this field … Continue reading

August 3, 2014 · Leave a comment

BOOKS: The ‘Miss Mountain’ Festival

In her book ‘High Albania’ Victorian adventurer and author Edith Durham wrote of the ‘Accursed Mountains’ in the North. She said that they were: “in such majestic isolation, it is … Continue reading

August 2, 2014 · Leave a comment

BOOKS: Stalin and Dorian Grey

Shostakovich is playing. Stalin’s mother is showing us photos through a broken mirror. Stalin’s face is arresting and beautiful, far from the terrible face of later years. His face in … Continue reading

August 2, 2014 · Leave a comment

SOCIAL: The Hemingway Club Tirana

Has Paris moved to Tirana? “If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it … Continue reading

August 2, 2014 · Leave a comment

BOOKS: Tortoises And Edward Lear

Driving to the coast you see tiny Hermann tortoises everywhere, trusting their lives to their shells as they slowly hunt grasses and berries along the busy roads. It is an … Continue reading

August 1, 2014 · Leave a comment

ART: Communist Lapidari – Can You Forget Your Past?

The monumental Lapidari of the Communist period (1945-1991) are silent symbols of a hated past. Executed in Brutalist concrete they praise the “heroes of the nation.” Their real function was … Continue reading

August 1, 2014 · Leave a comment

BOOKS: Tirana Signs And Umberto Eco

Like any city Tirana is a mix of reality and illusion, fair and unfair. Like any citizens, the residents live a compromise of self-awareness and self-deception. In July Finnish graffiti … Continue reading

July 31, 2014 · Leave a comment