Berat is thought to be one of the oldest towns in Albania and is overlooked by the Kala (or castle to you and me). I spent most of the day exploring Berat and started off with the castle, which was mostly built in the 13th Century, but with origins going back to the 4th Century BC. A very beautiful place with great views of the surrounding area, as I was walking up the hill to get to it I heard the crump of artillery shells in the background, which is always an intersting backdrop to any walk:-) There must be a firing range in the area unless there was another Balkan war taking place:-)
Most of the castle inside the walls is in ruins, although there is a nice church which is worth a visit. The antiquity of the place is somewhat spolit by a TV/Radio generator and antenna slap bang in the old keep!
Litter is a real problem in Albania and nobody seems to care, as I was walking round the roads near the hostel a guy walked past me with a wheelbarrow full of rubble as he was building a house. He crossed the road with
the barrow and proceeded to dump it all the riverbank. There was a whole mound of rubble in the area, such a shame. When I was at the castle I walked to one of the battlements and as I looked down there were thousands of plastic bottles that had just been dumped over the wall.
In addition to the castle ther are a number of ethnographic museums but I've never been a big fan of those, everywhere I go there's one of them and I still don't know what ethnography means:-)
The nightly stroll - this I think is very romantic, everybody dresses up in their best gear (especially the women) and go for a stroll in the main street evry night before and during sunset. This happens evry night and goes on for about 2-3 hours. Everybody just walks up and down the street a few times and then go home, I expect that many marriages start off this way:-).
I had some new roomys that day Katia from Australia and Michelle (who would accompany me to Kosovo the next day) from London, I took Katia for a stroll with the locals, which I'm assuming is
why I lucked out with any of the local ladies:-).
We all had a great boozt night and fortunately for me I caught up on some sleep although the rest of my rooms were kept awake for most of the night by the snoring of a huge Estonian guy. One of the guys in the room kept getting up to turn him on his side but this didn't make much difference.
Only one Hostel in Berat - Berat backpackers
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