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Admiring Albania

October 28, 1990

Your article ("Albania Now Open for Tourist Business," News and Briefs, June 24) was the word I had been eagerly awaiting. On the basis of it, I was able to travel to that little-known and isolated corner of the Balkans with Exotic Tours of Montreal, as noted in the article. What a delight to be among the first Americans not of Albanian background to explore this intriguing country.

A visit to Albania is a trip backwards in time to a land of primitive and unsophisticated agricultural methods and a correspondingly simple way of life.

The Albanian people are friendly, outgoing and hospitable to Western tourists who are presently a source of curiousity to them. Young people especially are eager to practice their English or Italian or French in conversation with visiting foreigners.

Times are changing, though, and Albania is changing with them. Soon the unspoiled beaches, forests, streams, mountains and lakes will be overrun by exploitation and joint ventures. Albania will be propelled from the 19th directly into the 21st Century in a process of mixed blessings.

A subsequent article by Times staff writer Barry Stavro ("Isolated Albania: Land of Startling Contrasts," Sept. 23) noted Exotik Tours' 12-day package, which was fairly comprehensive with one exception. The package omits one of Albania's highlights: the city and castle of Berat. Some of us arranged an excursion there for the day and were richly rewarded.

DR. HARVEY W. OSHRIN, San Bernardino

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