Krujë District, Albania
The "Old Market"As old markets go, this is now one of my favorites. Its completely contained along one short stretch of a cobblestone, pedestrian-only walkway. Wooden storefronts all have shade casting awnings that make it very comfortable to meander even on a hot summer day. The town is well known enough to draw visitors, but not so famous that the crowds are overwhelming. The shopkeepers are friendly in a genuinely helpful way, without the expected manipulations to purchase. The products are an eclectic mix of typical trinkets, handmade crafts and communist era relics.
I spent a leisurely few hours of pressure-free strolling. I bought a cattle bell collar (can’t visit Albania without memorizing that sound), a few handmade wool rugs and seriously considered a WWII soldier’s brass belt buckle.
About halfway down the street there is a shop (most of them are unnamed) that sells wall hangings and carpets of all colors and sizes. Within the tiny space is an actual full-sized loom where the proprietress will demonstrate her skills for you. Another shop touts “folk art” and contains some rather risqué paintings. The olive wood shop has beautifully carved wares but for very high prices.
Unexpected were the numerous old musical instruments being sold throughout the market. I didn’t get a chance to learn if there is a story behind this. But I rather enjoyed imagining the possible explanations for what seemed like a full ghostly orchestra.