Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Twelfth Anniversary trip: Berati

Sunday Terry and I celebrated twelve years of marriage! We did end up taking a weekend trip to Berat with the kids, stopping on the way at a quiet beach, deserted in the cool pre-season winds.

Valerie enjoyed digging in the dirt and Gabriel loved throwing sticks into the surf. I made a little Zen garden out of random things I found near me. We had a picnic lunch under the cypress trees near the beach. It was quiet and peaceful and lovely. Gabriel took a nap in the rental car during the drive to Berat but Valerie just enjoyed the ride.

Berati is beautiful. It was one of the historic "museum cities" preserved during the communist era. As a city, it's about 2,500 years old - older than Christianity! It has cobblestone streets, white-plastered tiled-roof houses, and olive groves. I wish we could have spent more time learning about its cultural history and exploring more of its streets.

Saturday after arriving all we did was check in at the hotel (Mangalem, for those taking notes), take baths (the kids loved the huge jacuzzi-tub with a porthole window in the side, even though we didn't even use the bubble jets!), and eat supper. The hotel felt very old-world and it was fun just soaking up the vibe there.

Sunday morning we walked up a very steep hill (a great workout if you have a small child on your shoulders!) to the old city walls which also enclose the castle.

(I don't know what this building was - other than abandoned. It was inside the old city walls. We stopped here for a breather on the way to the castle.)

It was so peaceful and quiet up there, and the kids just loved running around on the green grass. We left just as a couple big groups started arriving so we felt like our timing was good!

We had a little picnic lunch in the car on our way out of town and then G fell asleep during the long, hot drive back to Tirane. Valerie didn't nap at all but played happily with the toys we brought (a cat, two buckets and shovels, a car, a tractor). We arrived in Tirane during the mid-afternoon Sunday traffic lull, and Terry turned in the rental car minutes before it started to rain. The whole thing went so smoothly that we kept holding our breaths wondering when disaster was going to strike - but it didn't! Sometimes... sometimes things just go well. Go figure!

Happy Anniversary to us!


tara said...

happy anniversary- looks beautiful. glad you were feeling well enough to go.

Anita said...

That's great that it all went smoothly. Those old stone structures are beautiful and interesting. Nice pictures. Happy Anniversary!

Becky said...

I've never heard of Berati, but it's beautiful! The laundry shot is my fav in this post, too, lol. Happy belated anniversary!