I took a walk to local café. Tirana was still hot and humid. Took some photos of interesting textures and scenes along the way. I met with Asim. I had a tasty tea – lemon and something else? We had a fascinating conversation about Albania’s mafia, military, government etc. The owner of the café insisted on buying me a coffee.

We came home and hung out at Asim’s house until Celnike, Albi and Joni arrived. We had a great chat about restoring the Voskop family home. It was very interesting stuff. It seemed like all systems are go, everyone is on the same page so far! Albi said he will organize an engineer to survey the entire property and condition of house. I tentatively made plans to come back in 2015/6.

Talking with Celnike was very moving, she said she could see and trust my sincerity in wanting to save our only physical heritage that connects all the Musaka family for the good of us all. I teared up. It was a very warm moment, really connected with her and Albi – deeply connected! They left for Korce just after 2pm. Was sad to see the leave. I was left with a sad yet excited feeling, knowing we would once again connect in the near future.

A wonderful lunch with Jurgen, Asim, Alisa and Axhina whilst Halim, Meli got dressed to paint the town red at Erjon’s wedding. They are such a warm family. I really am falling in love with cousins in a new way now that I’m spending time with them all. They don’t seem to want anything from me except my connection.

I took the family to visit the National Art Gallery of Albania. It was a simple affair, not very well organized, minimal, interior room air temp was hot. The only video art installation was somewhat average. Though the art was just amazing! Renditions from the 1800’s til the end of Communism periods. The style of painting was diverse from impressionism to realism and subject matter depicted traditional, heroic, depression, utopian ideals, communism, darkness and bright themes. The Russian influence was somewhat apparent.

I took heaps of photographs even though it wasn’t allowed. Click here to see works of art – 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11 and 12.

The security followed me everywhere. Though I kept taking sneaky photos, hence the bad framing of the photos! Asked for a business card to try make a connection with them later.

We left gallery and walked towards a café in the park area nearby. Axhina took me to a nearby outdoor night-club that apparently pumps at night. We sate and drank yet more coffee, they were lots of fun to be around.

We walked passed the fashion strip near Alisa and Axhina’s house – they have a room at their grandparent place. Whom I met there. They were property developers, seemed financially well off, which was apparently given the great inner city location of their house. We laughed and drank soda with Nafije’s sister in their front yard. Her parents had then arrived back from Erjon’s wedding – I had attended the Vallja at their home the proceeding nights. They invited me for dinner and to stay overnight. We got a ride home from Nafije’s brother, sat on the front porch only to be bitten by heaps of mozis.

This was my last evening in Albania. I just didn’t want to leave. Three weeks was just not enough time! Together we ate a dinner of pule me petanik one last time, yummmmmeeeee! Thanks to Nafije and Meli for giving me a taste of home x

I reluctantly packed my bags, Asim put on the military jacket and hat just for laughs. We sat out front with Halim and shared a celebratory glass of Rakia, guzuar (cheers).

I was very tired by now, it was midnight, one more sleep and the adventure ends! A sad thought indeed!