Sunday, November 20, 2016

Report from Berati

My friend who visited Albania over the past summer sent an interesting account of her visit to Berati, a UNESCO World Heritage site south of Tirana. Below is an edited version of her story.

"The roads we drove from Tirana were smooth, with four lanes near cities, but we occasionally came across donkey carts sharing the highway. Once we nearly ran over one as we curved down from an overpass. Donkey carts have little choice but to travel along the verge of the highway, and people dart across when they detect a break in traffic."

Her party got lost near Durres, but eventually reached Berati "located in the steep-sided valley of the Osumi River, which retreats to a sedate trickle along a rocky bed in the dry summer. The city rises up along both sides of the valley, houses stacked upwards to the top of the cliffs. The commercial centre lies in the flat area along the river...All the houses are white with wood-framed windows and doors, and tiled roofs. The effect is extremely pleasing to the eye, as the houses mount up the hillside, surrounded by greenery and gardens. Berati is known as "The Town of a Thousand Windows" and it might also be the city of a thousand steps, as the minute you leave the area around the river, the climb is straight up...

"We fetched up at a tiny inn, the Onufri. The hotel door opened into a courtyard surrounded by stone walls draped in grapevines. Our rooms were up a set of wooden stairs that wound up to a large balcony overlooking the courtyard, and were equipped with modern bathrooms and comfortable beds. The walls were white plaster while the woodwork around the doors and windows was dark. It was a lovely place to stay."

She writes a lot more about the things to see in Berati, and about the other places she visited. I'll be posting additional notes from her travels in future.

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