e mërkurë, dhjetor 19, 2007

From Aberdeen to Albania

It is almost 14 years since I made my first visit to Albania.

Flying in around 10p.m. to a country in darkness (or that’s the way it seemed) there appeared very little sign of life except for the odd house light around the airport.

It is a long story as to how I ended up in Albania. Imagine a Scotsman, from Aberdeen going to a little country like Albania and falling in love with the people and the place.

I find it amazing!

But the question I ask myself now is this…
Is it really THAT amazing?

I ask myself this, as I have found that I am not the only person from Scotland to come to Albania, nor am I the first person from Aberdeen to fall in love with Albania.

When I was young I attended Aberdeen Grammar School, the very same school that Lord Byron once attended.(Photo of statue of Lord Byron at Aberdeen Grammar School)

Lord Byron himself went to Albania spending around 2 years in Albania, Turkey and Greece. When in Italy he wrote “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage”…
“Land of Albania! Where Iskander rose,
Theme of the young, and beacon of the wise,
And he his namesake, whose oft-baffled foes
Shrunk from his deeds of chivalrous emprize;
Land of Albania! let me bend mine eyes
Oh thee, thou rugged Nurse of savage men!
The Cross descends, thy Minarets arise,
And the pale Crescent sparkles in the glen,
Through many a cypress-grove within each city’s ken.”

My very first job was not in fact in Aberdeen, but in Elgin, a town around 60 miles north of Aberdeen. This was the birth place of Margaret Hasluck who grew up there and later attended Aberdeen University. Apparently, (and I only discovered this recently) there is a display at Aberdeen University of some items from Albania in tribute to Margaret Hasluck!

She lived for around 14 years in Albania. She wrote “Our woman in Tirana:The Life of Margaret Hasluck, scholar and spy” and also the excellent book on the “Kanun” called “The Unwritten Law”. I hope to post something of this book later on. Due to intelligence work she did during the First World War, Margaret Hasluck was forced to leave Albania in 1939.

So I ask myself…is it really all that surprising that someone from Aberdeen should go to Albania?

5 komente:

Anonim tha...

Yes, yes it is :)

traveller one tha...

Just found your blog! Will be delving into the archives now!

Albanians are often compared to the Scots are they not? There are similarities between the Highlanders and the Mountain Tribes of the north.

Shkoder is a fascinating city- it must be neat to live there!

Kolin tha...

Yes, we are compared the Albanians.

In fact the ancient name of Scotland in Gaelic is ALBA, and some historians claim Scotland used to be called Albania.

So, is it a surprise that someone from "Albania" ended up going to Albania?!

diongi tha...

May be the Albanians are compared the Scotish,but you can't compare rakija to the scotchwhisky ;-)

Kolin tha...

I agree you cannot compare rakija to Scotch Whisky!!

...but for the opposite reason! ;-)