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Eastern Europe

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Nikola Kljusev 3, Skopje 1000, Macedonia (FYROM)
A Macedonian legacy of winemaking goes back to the 13th Century BC, and today the southeast European nation’s industry is witnessing a rebirth. While in the country’s capital, Skopje, we attended a wine tasting and lecture at a sleek club, along...
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2643, Bulgaria
During my time in Sofia I took a drive south to the famous Rila Monastery. This surprisingly colorful building was established in the 10th century, but experienced multiple raids during the Ottoman occupation and suffered a fire in the 19th...
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Blue Eye, Albania
This place is in the middle of nowhere in Southern Albania. There is no bus stop. You just have to motion to the driver to pull over at the side of the road when you see a promising looking dirt trail. You take that trail off the main road, all...
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On day seven of our Bike Beyond Boundaries tour of Albania's World Heritage Sites, we cycled from Gjirokastra, birthplace of feared dictator Enver Hoxha as well as renowned writer Ismail Kadare, over the steep Gjerë mountains to the straits of...
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Lake Ohrid
Looking for a European locale as a possible retirement area, we traveled to Albania. A one hour flight from Rome, we landed at Tirana airport, rented a car and made our way to Lake Ohrid and the town of Pogradeci.. There we had a lakeside lunch...
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Berat, Albania
Berat is a charming 2400 year old Ottoman town with houses built one on top of another, earning itself the moniker ‘Town of a Thousand Windows’. When I arrived there I was excitedly met by my host and taken to his ‘welcome room’ for a shot of...
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Berat, Albania
As mosques go, it’s a rather typical one. It’s really the name that catches the imagination. When I first read about it in the guide book I had visions of young handsome men gathering around its doorways, intensely discussing manly-men topics,...
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Berat, Albania
“Are you going to the Xhiro tonight?” he asked. “It’s Monday so it should be good.” He pointed down to the town. The Xhiro (pronounced ‘giro’), as it turns out, is one of the most curious rituals I have come across. At a time when we might be...
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SH64, Tushemisht, Albania
My Bike Beyond Boundaries tour of Albania's World Heritage Sites began at the Millennium Hotel, at the base of the Gramoz Mountains in tiny Pogradec. Set directly on Lake Ohrid, the Balkans' deepest lake, the tiny town begs for fishermen to plumb...