The innkeeper at the Tradita Hotel set down his tea regretfully. “You want to see castle or bridge?” A mutual friend had asked him to take good care of me, but clearly he didn’t relish the role.
A few minutes later, four of us climbed into a dark sedan and lurched into the crowded streets of Shkodra, a city in Albania’s northwest. Heat and noise poured in the windows as Mr. Gila and his wife and brother continued what seemed to be a fractious debate in Albanian, punctuated briefly by Mr. Gila waving at various sights and shouting their identification into the back seat for me.
“There is cathedral, which Communists make into gymnasium years ago! Now crowded with Catholics again.”
“There is university!”
“Tobacco factory! Busy once, now closed.”
As the buildings became smaller and the streets… More…