This weekend about 25 of us volunteers gathered our sleeping bags, stuffed snacks, water, and beverages into our backpacks, and had an all-night rendez-vous at the top of the plateau in Belёsh, where sheep herders regularly take their “dela” to graze. From the top of the “koder” it is possible to see endless green layers of farms, lakes, tiny villages, and even Elbasan in the distance, which is “shumё i bukur”! [ie: very beautiful] Some people brought speakers and ipods, one gal actually lugged her acoustic guitar up the steep slope, and together we sat around the bonfire drinking and laughing until the wee hours of the morning. No surprises here! It was a lot of fun—and luckily the weather was warm and without wind or rain. Around 2 a.m. everyone slowly crashed on top of a giant plastic tarp purchased in Elbasan; the sun was kind enough to rouse us groggily from our shut-eye at 6:15, and we spent a long morning getting refreshed, recovering lost articles that somehow were strewn down
the mountainside, and chatting once again around the (morning) campfire.
Eventually we gathered our belongings and cleared the area of signs of a party, then walked back down to the town and had brunch in a restaurant overlooking the central lake. From here many people were exhausted and caught furgons to go back home, while Chris and I joined a small handful of people to participate in the first meeting our PCV History Club. We went to the house of another married couple and watched part of a DVD relaying the history of Yugoslavia’s break-up, followed by a short (due to our own exhaustion) discussion. Next week we’ll be taking a historical tour of Elbasan, and I imagine there will be plenty of opportunities in the next two years to visit sites and really get to know Albanian and/or Balkan history. I really appreciate the PC’s encouraging of these various clubs with which we can really enjoy our time here and develop our experience here in multiple ways.
Once back home, Chris and I were pretty useless for the day. We lounged upstairs for most of the afternoon, where it was sunny and warm, and we could read books and catnap to make up for lost hours the night before. Sunday is our only day off here, so we usually plan trips to other villages or random PCT get-togethers, but sometimes it’s good to just relax and turn off the socializing and language practice!