The antigone restaurant became our restaurant of choice over the time we were in berat. It was up umpteen steps0 but had several terraces overlooking the river and mangalem.
One particular waiter got to know us and we learned a lot from him about his feelings for berat and his future in albania. He said he was orthodox and from one of the original families of berat.
He was born there but grew up in greece where he learnt his good english. He was going back to his dentistry studies in tirana when the summer was over. Dentistry is where the money is, he told us. It is private in italy and expensive. The italians come over to albania to get their teeth fixed. Ever since we had crossed the croatian border we had been struck by the number of big posters advertising dental work and dental implants.
Our waiter, whose name we forgot to ask, said the training was good and so was the dentistry. It was hard to think it may be so having seen the awful state of the ambulances clustered around the hospital in durres ( i said we saw a lot of durres!) but i hope it is for our waiter’s future.
He told us berat closes down in winter and everyone tries to live off the money they make from tourism. Our hotel certainly had a high turnover of clients. I spotted one of them at butrint this lunchtime!