February 7, 2010 |
If you go THE BEST WAY TO SARANDE AND BUTRINT The only daily cruises to Albania sail from the northern Greek island of Corfu. Communications are quirky in Corfu; my ATT cellphone, with a built-in GSM chip for Europe, worked perfectly in Athens and Santorini but not at all in Corfu. The safest way to buy tickets is to visit the head office of Ionian Cruises, a 15-minute walk from the heart of Corfu, and buy them with cash. Credit-card fraud is rampant throughout Greece. Seats are available even during the peak summer season a day in advance and often on the morning of the cruise.
March 19, 2009 |
The senior U.S. diplomat in Albania and his staff have been cleared of allegations that they were involved in covering up the illegal source of ammunition shipped to Afghanistan by an American military contractor, a State Department spokesman said Wednesday. Justice Department officials have informed the State Department's inspector general that U.S. Ambassador John Withers and five other members of the embassy team are not targets or subjects of an investigation, spokesman Robert Wood said.
February 18, 2009 |
Ismail Kadare is, in many ways, among the most problematic of major writers in contemporary Western letters. But that shouldn't prevent readers from savoring "The Siege" for what it is, a significant work by an important, fascinating author. Though he works completely within the context of the West's mainstream 20th century literature, Kadare's perspective is that of a writer preoccupied with the themes and history of his native land, Albania.
February 8, 2009 |
Once Europe's most forbidding coast, this sparkling stretch of the Ionian Sea is slowly revealing lost treasures that date back 2,500 years and shipwrecks from ancient times. Over the last two summers, a research ship carrying U.S. and Albanian experts has combed the waters off southern Albania inch by inch, using scanning equipment and submersible robots to seek ancient wrecks. In what organizers say is the first archaeological survey of Albania's seabed, at least five sites were located, which could fill in blanks on ancient shipbuilding techniques.
November 23, 2008 |
Drene Markgjoni spent 12 years in a hard-labor camp, punished for her fiance's attempt to flee Albania's regime, then one of the world's most repressive and isolationist. She swore she would never suffer like that for somebody else again. She pledged to forgo sex and marriage for the rest of her life, and declared herself a man. That was six decades ago. Now 85, with close-cropped white hair, dressed in a man's blue striped shirt and black trousers, she greets visitors with a manly handshake.
September 28, 2008 |
The "Accursed Mountains" tower high above the Shala Valley, snow clinging to their summits even in the summer. Their jagged peaks hide one of Europe's most remote areas, where tribal culture lives on even as the modern world encroaches. For about half the year, Shala, a protected national park, is cut off by heavy snowfall that blocks access to the two rock-strewn dirt tracks snaking through the mountains. The only way in or out is a seven-hour trek by foot to the nearest road, if the snow is not too deep.