Tuesday, October 20, 2020

2020 Travel the World - Week 42

I started a Travel the World Series last year. (It should be noted that I did a similar thing in 2018, only it was the 50 states.) For 50 weeks in 2019, I visited a different country (virtually) and shared facts about that country. I then selected one tidbit of information about that week's country as inspiration for a card. Fifty weeks; fifty countries... BUT there are 195 countries in the world so that was just a little over 25% of them. Of course I couldn't stop, so this year I'm continuing with fifty more countries, one per week.

This week's country is...


Albania is located in south-eastern Europe. The country is bordered by the Adriatic Sea to the west, Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, the Republic of North Macedonia to the east, and Greece to the south.

Geographically, Albania is slightly smaller than the state of Maryland.

You could say that it’s the country of mountains since 70% of the total area is covered by them. The highest mountain is Mount Korab at nearly 9100 feet.

Forests and swamps are also common in Albania.

Currently, there are more Albanians living outside the country than living inside it. The estimates range from seven to ten million Albanians living throughout Europe, primarily in Macedonia, Montenegro, Kosovo, and Greece. Only three million Albanians actually live within its borders.

There is a castle in the city of Berat, locally known as the kala, which was built in the 13th century.

Transportation in the country is underdeveloped. There are only four airports in the country and just 420 miles of railways. There exists a total of 11,000 miles of roadways, out of which only 4,300 miles are paved. Buses are abundant, but their schedules are not fixed. You cannot rely on buses to move on time unless there are sufficient passengers available for the trip.

Like most of the Balkans, Albanians are huge coffee lovers. The art of chilling in a cafe, catching up with friends over an espresso is prominent. Therefore, there are many coffee shops in Albania.

During the hottest part of the day (2:00 to 5-6:00 pm), most shops will close to have a sort of siesta. During this time Albanians will relax and take some time out to drink coffee, or do nothing whatsoever.

Albania has more than 3250 species of plants, which is about 30% of all European flora.

Albania is also home to 350 species of birds and 80 species of mammals.

The eagle is the national and ethnic symbol of the Albanians. The symbol appears in a stone carving dating from 1190.

At one time Albania had more than 750,00 bunkers but many of them have now been demolished. Some of those that remain have been turned into museums, while others are used for storage and other purposes, or they simply sit abandoned.

In the evenings, Albanian locals like to walk.  But it’s not just a walk.  Known as xhiro, it’s an official evening walk where every resident comes out to stretch their legs and catch up with their neighbors.  In many towns, the roads close to cars for certain hours! Apartment blocks empty and everyone gathers at various places, walking and talking until nightfall.

When an Albanian is agreeing with you, he or she will shake their head, and when they are disagreeing with you they will nod. 

Tirana, the capital of Albania has a lot of things in common with other European capitals – except one.  It’s one of the only capitals without a McDonalds (another is Vatican City). In fact, there isn't a McDonald's anywhere in Albania.

Major industries in Albania include textiles and clothing, oil, lumber, and food processing. Tourism is also a growing industry, especially in the capital city of Tirana.

Main crops in Albania are wheat, corn, and potatoes. About half of all working Albanians have jobs related to agriculture.

Albania has some of the most beautiful beaches in Europe. They are found along the coastline of the Ionian Sea, which has waters as clear as glass.

Primary and secondary education is free in Albania.

Under communist rule, private car ownership was banned so only the highest ranking government officials and some businesses could own a car, the ret used horse drawn carriages and bicycles to get around. When the regime fell, car ownership became the ultimate status symbol and a sign of capitalism. Today, everyone in Albania owns a car.

The car of choice in Albania is Mercedes. They are reliable cars and perfect for the poor roads in Albania. 

Albanians have been banned from using speedboats. Speedboats were used for human and drug trafficking from Albania to the shores of Italy and Greece.

Mother Teresa was Albanian. An international airport in Albania—Nene Tereza—is named after her. 

People get slapped on the neck after getting a haircut in Albania, followed by the slapper will saying “me shëndet” meaning “on your health.”

Albanians are known for being superstitious, especially the elder generations. For instance, the following things are considered bad luck: to cut your nails at night, if your eye twitches something bad will happen, to throw away bread, to enter a new house with the left foot, Tuesday is unlucky.

Many Albanians believe touching your throat when you have a sore throat will make the illness worse.

They also believe if your hands aren't cold, you're not being honest.

Another belief - if a pregnant woman doesn't give in to a craving, the baby will be born with a birthmark.

Also - if you don't hold on to your hair after spotting a dead mouse, your hair will fall out.

On the other hand, it is considered good luck if a bird poops on you or if a baby pees on you. (I'm not sure I want that much good luck.)

Another common belief - spilt coffee will increase your bank account.

I decided to let this Albania fact be the inspiration for this week's card... 
Albanians believe that a scarecrow placed on a home or other building while it’s under construction will ward off envy from the neighbors.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

: Whipper Snapper Brody stamped with Memento Tuxedo Black Ink and colored with Copic Markers

Papers: Accent Opaque 120# White and SU Pumpkin Pie CS and DP from my scrap file

Dies: MFT Mod Stitched Rectangle and Rubbernecker Nested Rectangle Stitch

Embellishments: Paper Studio Mini Brads


Holstein said...

Darling card with the scarecrow. Enjoyed your post about Albania. Hugs

JD/ Jill said...

Your card is adorable! Very interesting post...learned a lot of facts that I did NOT know. Must revisit your blog when I have more time and learn about some of the other places you have posted! Thanks for sharing.

kiwimeskreations said...

What a gorgeous card Jeanette - love that scarecrow and how you have used it on this sweet card. Albania is certainly an interesting place!!
Stay safe

Beth Norman-Roberts said...

The colours on your card is awesome. Cute card.

Lynn McAuley said...

How cute is this adorable scarecrow!! Delightful card, Jeanette!