jazzhands

Our rushed day in Durrës went like this; rain, walk, rain, walk, rain, where the hell is the amphitheatre, rain, walk, oh there’s the amphitheatre, oh there’s the archeological museum, oh man am I ever hungry, torrential rain, thunderstorm, emergency picnic, walk, rain, salad, mosquitoes, vagina lamp. I have the impression that Durrës, due to […]

fancy

If you want to visit Zekate House, a traditional Ottoman home in Gjirokastër, Albania, walk up a steep hill, make a right, ask directions from a man tending his grape arbor, go up hill a bit more and then find the building with it’s two wood-capped towers and go inside.  No, Zakate house is not locked and no one works […]

korcecheeto

This Wednesday, November 10, 2016, I finally gave up on  trying to sleep, slammed down two espressos and started looking though images of the apocalypse.  Wednesday morning’s art binge was not out of character, given my love of medieval apocalypse manuscripts and Romanesque church art with all it’s fabulous carvings and frescoes of sinners tormented in […]

corner

Our furgon (minibus) arrived in Gjirokastër, Albania in the lower part of town and since we didn’t have a map and the old city is built on a steep hill we took a taxi to our guest house.  When I say we took a taxi I mean we paid a guy who was using his […]

tiranarainbow

Here’s what happened to Tirana, Albania: communism screwed it over for 40 years, destroyed much of its historic architecture—mosques, Orthodox cathedrals and an Ottoman era baazar—and then replaced those once beautiful buildings with architectural train wrecks. Architecture train wreck case in point: this so-called Pyramid of Tirana was originally the Enver Hoxha Museum.  (For those of you […]

wobberat

Now if I told you that there’s a town called Berat in Southern Albania with UNESCO protected Ottoman era houses, a romance novel-worthy castle, and an exquisite icon museum, you’d probably want to go, right? Berat is gorgeous but also relaxing and super-duper friendly.  Let’s make that gorgeous, friendly, relaxing and budget friendly too—-our lovely guest […]

boat

This morning we woke up in Shkoder, Northern Albania, ate a ginormous breakfast at our  hotel and met up with a driver who drove us two hours to get on a small boat through Lake Koman. Lake Koman is actually a reservoir formed inside a dramatic mountain gorge in the 1970’s and it powers a hydro electric system.  We cruised […]

Optimized by JPEGmini 3.13.3.11 0x4b57a825

The worst grade I ever got was in high school architectural drafting.  I signed up for the class because I thought it would be a cool elective and had visions of studying the great buildings of the world through drafting their architectural elements.  This did not happen—instead we traced pre-designed building features from templates in various […]

DSCN8106

The first time I visited the Baha’i Temple, about ten years ago, I said “Wow!  This building is so symmetrical” and then didn’t think much of it afterwords. I’d like to believe that my architectural frame of reference is more sophisticated these days, so I made another visit to the temple.  This time my reaction was “Wow! […]

alarm-clock

Packing makes me happy and after last week’s picture deleting debacle I sure needed cheering up, so I got busy packing for our next trip.  Packing light is one of those things that’s great in theory but in practice I want to stuff too many things in my backpack.  Here’s what I’ve learned is worth schlepping around […]