Today is September 1, a big day for us. After exactly 100 days in current and former communist countries (plus three days in Finland), and after all these weeks across Asia and down through Eastern Europe, we’re driving a couple hours north up to Vlore and taking a ferry across to Italy. Western Europe. Familiar territory. We get into Brindisi this evening, then take a train to Naples tomorrow for four days, my first trip back since I left in 1976. From there we’re taking advantage of all this time we have by spending a total of 11 days on the three islands in the Bay of Naples – three nights on Procida, four on Ischia, and four on Capri. It should be glorious.
Meanwhile, we spent our last full day in Albania yesterday back on the beach. We drove about 20 minutes south to Jali to another beautiful beach, very popular with the twenty- and thirty-something crowd. Not much to say except beautiful water, lots of sun, and plenty of time to read.
So it’s farewell to Albania, a country struggling to leave behind its crazy Maoist communist past. The hotel we’re staying at here in Dhërmi is a great example. It’s brand new, opened just a month ago, and has some beautiful features. Still, there are things they’re still learning to get right. This picture of the elevator is a great example. You’ll notice it’s all bright and shiny and new. It’s only missing one thing – buttons to call it. Yup, they’ve put in the place for an elevator, but somehow there is no actual elevator there. They know what they’re supposed to do, it’s just the execution that’s challenging.