Online travel forums are filled with gems, if you have the time to dig for them. Luckily we do the dirty work for you in our somewhat regular Forum Ferreting feature.
We're convinced that Albania will become the next popular destination on the Adriatic (and Ionian) coast. Maybe not today, but there are few places in Europe that are as vibrant and cheap while still feeling so foreign. We're not alone thinking this: British Airways is starting nonstop flights from London to Tirana this month.
Albania is not a good starter country for travelers, though, as there are a lot of nuances to learn. Here are a few that we gleaned from a recent Lonely Planet thread:
·Staring: Wherever you are, AVOID staring at Albanian males. Prolonged eye contact is offensive for Albanians, and in many cases has been a cause for fights.
·Talking: When having a friendly discussion with an Albanian, it will most probably drift towards POLITICS. This is one topic that Albanians spend probably 40 - 50% of their time talking about. My advice to you is DO NOT get involved in such discussions. Albanians can become very passionatly involved in such conversations, and it is no news that friendships have gone sour because political views did not match!
·Blood Feuds: You may have heard of the so-called "Gjakmarrje" (Blood feud) which is still present in northern Albania. If there is a quarrel about land and a male from a family gets killed than the victim's family has the RIGHT to kill another male member of the murderer's family (or the murderer himself). My dear friends, blood feuds in NO WAY affect foreigners. First of all it is unlawful by the Code's rules; second of all you'd have no reason to get involved.
We were pretty worried about the blood feuds, too.
[Image via avb212/Flickr]
· Tirana Guide [In Your Pocket]
· The New Croatia [NY Post]