Travel Glimpses around Shkodra, Elbasan, Durres…

December 7, 2023 || views

Nada Dosti

Evlija Celebiu  Road descriptions

“But there are so many beautiful and pure Albanian girls from the surrounding villages that they look like fairies with their angelic faces and looks..“

Through the streets of Skampi , every cobblestone is signed with the signature “I rest my hand” . Right next to the bazaar, the fairies walked without stepping on the ground and entered heaven. With dresses made of silk collected in Ullishte and washed in the waters of Shkumbin. Long hair braided to the middle and cheeks like ballokume . Neither white nor yellow. Brown skin and emerald eyes. They speak another language with all kinds of musical notes, as much as flowers were in their dresses. Guilds weave carpets, while children weave dreams.


“I went to Elbasan to buy a dress” but I couldn’t find dresses like I used to. I found old radios that broadcast memories from another era. The Clock Tower seemed like a tall lady standing stoic right in the middle of the square, and watched everyone from its tribal height. Heavy air is being breathed, the same one that for years killed innocents and maimed many other souls. Half-human creatures roam these cobblestone alleys. Their fate was written on bright sheets from another world, no later than the forty days of existence in the mother’s womb, and sealed with the charcoal stamp of the regime of the time.


The aroma of baguette buns mixed with the famous Tava has a magical ability to take you back in time, to your early childhood. The perfume of jasmine covers the whole city, while the sound of a ballokume breaking in two when shared with others is carried to every corner. Cause Hospitality, in the city where the doors to the guest are never closed, is the main character of a fairy tale on spring evenings. A tale that the grandmother tells her granddaughter by tying a bracelet made of braided tricolors to her hand, woven with the illusion that it will protect her from ghosts and wild beasts. “Sweet sleep” and “good night” become prayers that accompany the little girl until the morning of the fifteenth of March.


Carnations and Snowflowers

“The carnations that Shkodra has for me are so beautiful’”

All four seasons can be found in this city. At the entrance, there at the roundabout and all the surrounding areas, lies a harsh winter. Even in the middle of August. Winter in, winter out. But above all winter in people’s eyes and hearts. Winter on the sidewalks where peasants sell their crops and beggars their faces.

It was August when I visited Shkodra for the second time. And I found the summer on the sidewalk full of carnations and snow flowers. every two steps drove two wheels. With or without people on top. They rolled to the end of the walkway and then turned back to the starting point.
It was always spring beside the lake. The fish tasted like soil, and the breeze smelled of childhood. A hill could be seen from there.

There the autumn vegetation was growing. Always wet, full of rain, like the tears of Rozafati and the milk that wet the walls of the castle, and the streets down to the city. When I was a little girl, every time we came here on a school trip, everyone was having fun near the castle walls. While me, I used to sit in front of her. I don’t know if she listened to me or answered me, but I know that I used to talk to her a lot. I always prayed that when I grew up, God would give me a son.


My parents abandoned me when I was forty days old. Right on the seashore. They didn’t say a word to me, even though I deserved at least an explanation. They gave me that “when you grow up you’ll understand. We’re doing it for your own good” look. At all! Not even a word. And I remained like that, abandoned in front of this ocean. Instead of praying for me, someone should have cursed me. Even the ballad that is recited in this place is cursed.

So the Sea adopted me. It became my mom and dad. So, I quickly learned to swim. But I drowned several times. When I dived in deep water, as far as touching the bottom, I learned that by pushing your feet above the shallows, you can give more power to yourself to reach the surface. It is that push in those moments that gives you the strength to survive. Down there, at the bottom of the Sea, I realized how time can stop. There exists another world where every moment lived seems like an eternity.

Then I learned to fight the waves, sometimes even to give up. But above all I learned to rest. To retreat to the shore when my powers were draining me. And I swear this is the hardest thing to do. It takes experience and superpowers to achieve it, because no one teaches you that during life. Only life itself.

I learned to make crowns of shells, to build sandcastles that could hardly be destroyed by wind or tides. Until one day I grew up, and decided to find out what lies beyond the Sea. I noticed that there were palm trees. On the long road surrounded by palm trees, my feet stepped on some colorful pebbles. I pulled back a little to get a better look, when I saw the pebbles formed the image of a girl as sad as she was beautiful. Surrounded by lilies and mimosas. The most beautiful girl in this country. With hair made of the stones of the surrounding rivers, with emerald eyes and skin the color of the moon. They say that she may have been the daughter of a rich man there, or an orphan who sold her body day and night to survive. But it doesn’t matter. The girl was not smiling. She wasn’t happy. It’s hard to be happy in the city of the Cursed Poems. A city flooded and shaken hundreds of times. Growing up from the Sea is both a lung-filling blessing and a bone-crushing curse.
A little below, looking out at the Sea, a red-haired woman stood stoically on her throne. Queen by profession, woman as a mission. All the girls of the Sea took her as an example. Most of them swore to themselves that one day they would become strong like her. Did the Queen know the beautiful girl? They probably lived in different times even though they were so close to each other. Otherwise Her Majesty would never have allowed all that sadness on her bright face.

Both were separated by a lonely Tower, which called itself a Castle. The tower from a city across the sea. The flooded city, where houses and buildings float endlessly. A little further, towards the cradle of the sun, I could see a warrior inviting us all to save the Deserted Tower from the hands of the enemies. He was standing there and never did he leave his spot, day and night.

Climbing the hill, right at the top I discovered a small royal palace. How majestic the Sea looked from that height. It was no ordinary hill. It was a fabulous place where the first hugs were given as soon as the mimosas started to bloom. The royal palace was located at the very end of the route, paved with pine trees and crowned with manna. The royal family had abandoned this place taking all the treasures with them, leaving us empty handed. On the top of the hill. In the city of Coursed Poems