Berat is famous for its white stone houses and their windows, ‘the city of a thousand windows’.
The area is known as the mangalem which was where we were based. A smaller area across the river is called gorica.
Mangalem is traditionally muslim and gorica christian. We started our day by climbing up and around the alleyways of the mangalem. A good night’s sleep had made me feel much more positive and that part of berat was much cleaner than tirana had been.
After some clambering and back tracking we came out on the cobbled marble hill to the castle but decided that could wait until the next morning. Opposite us was the ethnographic museum which was tiny but an absolute delight. A house had been built in traditional style using traditional methods and then filled with museum pieces showing the clothes, crafts, tools etc of berat in the past. The staff were very welcoming and noticed we may have missed one room as a german group were being lectured in it as we moved around. I wrote in the visitors book as i always feel a bit let down if our clients don’t! 🙂
walking down the hill lou spotted a camper van so had to take a look. It had a world map across the bonnet and turned out to belong to neville and barbara, two aussies a bit younger than us who had been on the road since last january, driving overland from china. Music to lou’s ears! So a chat and a nosey in the van, bien sur. Names were swapped and an invite to crouzi if they come our way! 🙂
Coffee time and then a visit to the ‘historical centre’ a collection of three buildinGs, one of them being the king’s mosque.
Another larger german group were being talked at but i slipped around them and admired the impressive painted wooden ceiling.
Two small boys were making some attempt at praying, each trying to outdo the other. It didn’t look very devout!
A hunt for a different place for lunch which ended up as soup and bread in an albanian version of the ouvrier cafe. Then the zzz through the hottest hours of the afternoon before exploring the gorica.
Similar to the mangalem but with two churches, sadly both shut. A couple of drinks at ‘our’ place until one of them opened around 5.30.
We studied the icons and enjoyed the perfume rosemary lined stone pathway outside.
An evening meal in an upstairs restaurant lou had spotted from the terrace across the river the night before (we were running out of choices at antigone). The terrace was open on the road and river side. Suddenly we realised three men were moving down the river bed. The sudden swish of a circular net being thrown showed them to be fishermen. What might they be catching we wondered? Earlier when we crossed a different foot bridge over the osium river we had noticed very strange and very large animal prints in the mud below. What might try to catch our fishermen?
Meanwhile we had opted for shishkebab for lou and lamb for me. The garnish had nine choices of veg plus chips. The albanians must certainly be getting their five a day! 🙂
How wonderful to find an ethnographic museum! It sounds as if you really enjoyed this location.
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Coming after the shock of driving to tirana and the challenge of walking around it, berat was wonderfully calm.