View of Petrela castle from Mumajes

I’m not very far from the army outpost “Reparti ushtarak Tefël” or better known as the “Air missiles army military base”. It’s about 45 minutes away from Tirana on the mountains behind the ancient village and castle of Petrela. It’s a beautiful and serene panorama. Unlike the atmosphere in Tirana at this time, where most people are trying to get finished with work and start preparations for the New Year’s festivities, the village scenery is just great.

At a short distance, from where I am parked, there are a couple of people cutting shrubberies. The chatter is incomprehensible, but it lets you know that you are not completely alone. The only other noise is that of the laptop keyboard and car radio.

From here, the outskirts of Tirana are visible at a distance but most of the city is hidden from view by the hills and mountains. Twenty some years after the first democracy years, the edge of the inhabited city has extended well beyond its original lines, which means that there are a lot more people and noise to be had.

As I followed the road further, slightly concerned if I had enough gas to return, I was pleased to find a small bar/restaurant adjacent to the army base.

I went in and as everyone inside knew that I was new, the owner welcomed me to sit somewhere I was comfortable. I chose a table near the window and ordered, after a long time, a “mëllenjë” (wild bird) that the villagers catch as a delicacy, but was also served in the restaurant. I ordered some local cheese as well and found it to be very delicious, just like I remembered it.

I plan on returning again someday soon to that place, and it is possible it will be more than just me as I spread the word to my friends.

Note: This post was written on location. I did little editing to it afterwards, but it remains raw as I wrote it.