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Lost in Time on Albania’s Llogara Mountain

There are places in Albania that seem frozen in time.

We’d left Tirana, the country’s congested and forward-looking capital, and steered south. South towards VlorΓ«, first, along the Adriatic Sea, and then the Ionian, which seemed to flow seamlessly into each other. Then higher, and higher still, up a nerve-wracking, treacherous, and winding, barrier-free road, which twisted and turned madly up towards the peak of the mountain, Llogara.

Halfway to the top, we see a rocky memorial that’s been boldly chiseled with Albania’s 2 headed eagle and the year 1920. It hints of rebel uprisings, aggression, and victory.

The restaurant hidden behind the fearless slab doesn’t seem real. It’s perched defiantly on the edge of the mountain, shrouded in mist, constructed of uneven rocks and feels lifted straight out of darker, more medieval times.

The water, obscured by clouds now far below us, in a straight drop down from the mountain’s precipices, feels somehow safer and more dependable.

And now, with the mellow light of the late afternoon sun streaming in through the windows, with the salty smell and clear beauty of the Ionian Sea far behind us, we sip on a cold Birra Tirana, and choose a meal from a menu made up mostly of meat.

Entrails, lamb, or goat. Accompanied by a simple country salad of tomato, feta, onion and cucumber, the all important basket of crusty bread and thick, garlicky salc kosi, Albania’s version of tzatziki. It’s roasted goat kid for me. A first. It’s absolutely delicious and incredibly fresh.

But wait a minute. Didn’t I see some goats running around before we entered the restaurant? In our current surroundings, I’m almost 100% convinced that the animal was selected, caught and slaughtered when I ordered my meal. It couldn’t be.

Could it?

Have you ever visited somewhere that felt stopped in time? Where was it and what did you do?

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7 Comments Post a comment
  1. Sadly I have never visited such place. However talking about food, once in China in the countryside they prepared our dishes very freshly as we even saw how they caught a rabbit and several fishes next to the little Inn

    February 14, 2016
    • Oh my! Not sure how I would feel about seeing a rabbit caught right before my eyes for dinner! Sadly, I’m of the generation that’s used to seeing it’s meat cleanly packaged and sold in a grocery store, not running around outside, before I eat…though the latter is better, and more humane…usually.

      February 15, 2016
      • I got used to it. In Finland our neighbour at the cottage own a huge farm with Galloway cattle. Several times they showed us which one would be next for the meat production/ end up also on our plate

        February 15, 2016
  2. Ahihihi Fresh indeed! πŸ˜€ Even the food has murky sense just as the place. πŸ˜€ You talked about the nail-biting ride to get here. So what I’m really wondering is if there’s something more to this?

    March 9, 2016
    • OMG roads in Albania are terrifying. No guardrails, crazy drivers, and steep mountain roads. Nail-biting is the least of it…I’m glad I survived!

      March 11, 2016

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