5 Fun Facts about Albania (part 2)
More facts about Albanian habits…
Going for an evening walk
During the day the streets seem a bit empty and abandoned. Well, of course, the heat doesn’t make it quite enjoyable outside, so the Albanians hide at work or home. As soon as it cools down in the evening, people get together to take a walk, stretch out their legs, and socialize by having beer or coffee in a bar. In a few cities, they even close the roads and turn it into a pedestrian zone for the evening, so that people can enjoy their evening walk, which they also call ‘xhiro’.
Be our guest
When you spend time with Albanians, you experience exceptionally generous and warm hospitality. Inviting you to their homes to share food (enough for a whole village) and drinks (their self-made Rakia of course) or offering help whenever you might need it, is just a common thing, they would even run after you at the market to give you back your change of 20LEK. They would always give more than they have for a guest of theirs.
Having a coffee with Albanians and try to pay for their coffee? … Well, you need to be sneaky and quicker than them to be the actual person who pays. Since you are the guest of the country, you are everyone’s guest and usually, they just want you to feel welcome.
For some mentalities, like the Germans for example, who might seem a bit distant and need some time to warm up, it can be too much and too forward. But just get used to it and appreciate it, you will get the chance to show your gratitude in other ways, maybe once you might be even quick enough to pay the coffee.
Questionable driving skills
Certainly, Albania is not the only country with, let’s say a different driving mentality. Italy, as well as other Balkan countries, probably have a similar atmosphere on the roads. However, driving in Albania teaches you patience but also some degree of audacity to get going after all. In particular, at the roundabouts, it appears that there are no rules at all. Cars might stop to let you pass but not necessarily due to different traffic rules from the neighboring countries.
It does seem strange, however, that shortly after communism ended and not everyone was allowed to drive back then, lots of Albanians suddenly had a driver’s license. That could be one reason for today’s quite chaotic driving style in Albania. Nevertheless, honking is an important way of communication in traffic. So just drive mindful and enjoy it.
‘Welcome to Shqipëria’
Albanians, calling themselves Shqiptar, welcome you in their country Albania often using Shqipëria. The language, Albanian, it has a short version: Shqip. It does seem confusing at first, but either you get used to it and adapt it after a while, or you probably forget once you heard it.
What is it about all those bridal shops?!
When strolling along the streets or even driving down the main roads, you can see magnificent princess dresses in front of bridal shops almost at every corner. It reflects the meaning of weddings in Albania to some degree. Usually, weddings are celebrated hugely, with hundreds of guests, if not the whole village, lots of traditional dancing, can last for several days and might end with a hangover due to a large amount of Raki.
Weddings are one of the most important feasts Albanians, so people spend a fortune on it, some might even take a loan.