A month or so to go before we set off on Wild Frontiers’ recce trip, Walking in Northern Albania – Into The Accursed Mountains, and this has popped up in my Twitter feed:
Sometimes referred to as ‘the Albanian Braveheart’, for centuries Skanderbeg was lauded throughout Europe. https://t.co/hnpzqL6YnC
— History Today (@HistoryToday) April 30, 2018
Two Skanderbeg snippets I learned from Karen Murdarasi’s article were that he was born, in 1405, in Krujë – where we spend out our last night, and that he
“…left his homeland at the age of nine for Adrianople (Edirne, in modern Turkey), where he was converted to Islam from Christianity and given a new name: Alexander, or in Turkish, Iskander. He was trained in the art of war and granted the title bey (lord or chieftain) and so the warrior ‘Skanderbeg’ came into being.”
A few weeks ago Thelma-from-my-WF-Pakistan-Trip booked the last remaining place on the tour and is joining Hazel and me on our whistlestop pre-tour night and morning in Tirana – home to Skanderbeg Square – so I’ve changed our Villa Tafaj reservation to a triple room.
It’s a little early for looking at weather forecasts, but here they are on Yr:
- Day 1: Tirana – Shkodër
- Day 2: Shkodër – Liqeni i Komanit / Lake Koman / Koman Reservoir – Fierzë – Valbonë
- Day 3: Kukaj
- Day 4: Çerem
- Day 5: Qafa e Valbonës / Valbonë Pass – Theth
- Day 6: Theth: Ndërlysaj
- Day 7: Theth – Krujë
- Day 7: Krujë – Tirana – Barbican, London
Looking for books to read about Albania has led me down a couple of interweb rabbit holes. Join me in exploring the lives and works of:
Robert Elsie (1950- 2017): writer, translator, interpreter and specialist in Albanian studies.
His marvellous website – http://www.elsie.de/ – houses a wealth of material relating to Albanian art, history, language, literature and photography, which led me to….
Edith Durham (1863 – 1944): an English artist and anthropologist, who travelled and worked in Albania between 1900 and 1914; Nicknamed the Queen of the Highland Peoples by the Albanians of the Northern Alps.
The Photo Collection of Edith Durham (on Robert Elsie’s website)
Albania’s Mountain Queen: Edith Durham and the Balkans by Marcus Tanner, book review (Anna Aslanyan, The Independent, 12 June 2014)
I read Robert Carver’s The Accursed Mountains: Journeys In Albania in 2010, and struggled through Ismail Kadare’s The Accident (translated by John Hodgson), and so based on Planning your own reading journey? on Around the World in 80 Books, I’m going to track down the following in the library – Albania: The Search for the Eagle’s Song by June Emerson and Ismail Kadare’s The Three-Arched Bridge and Agamemnon’s Daughter.
I’m flying hand baggage only, so I’ll have to be ruthless. Time to start piling up the potential packing on the spare bed….