Dear Reader,

Hello.  I have been encouraged to make posts more often and so I will try.  Yesterday in Skopje I learned that the bus to Tirana only leaves every-other day; so I had to leave last night.  One trip from Skopje into Albania will make you realize just how difficult it would be logistically to move an army over this terrain, and why there are not more roads and railway lines in the area.  We took a route which must have been devised originally by hunters tracking a very wild animal.  

I had the good fortune of sharing this trip with a man named Eugen.  While standing at the bus station in Skopje, we attempted making conversation, but I soon realized that Eugen and I have no language in common.  Mostly he would return my words with unblinking eyes; as though I had his attention and he was waiting for me to stop clearing my throat before I began addressing him properly.  Once we stopped trying to talk, communication was relatively easy.  

There are two ways to cross into Albania from Macedonia, one to the north and one to the south.  The southern route past Lake Ohrid is the one we took.  I am told that Lake Ohrid is the most beautiful part of Macedonia.  Our 7PM departure brought us past the lake at around 11PM, so we couldn’t see anything.  Like so many things I’ve nearly seen so far on this trip, maybe I’ll make it back some day.  At the border there were 26 of us on the bus until the border police took one man off.  He never got back on, and we ended up leaving him there with security.  No one seemed alarmed by this. 

The bus finally arrived in Tirana at around 3:45 this morning and so, I am here in Albania writing to you.  The driver from the school picked me up from the cafe I had been taken to after getting off the bus.  The school is where I will be staying once I arrive for good on the 18th.  The school is located on a hillside where every square meter that doesn’t have a house on it is either wild with trees, or has been manicured for farming.  The people are lovely here, of course they are.  I plan to leave for the port city of Duress tonight so that I can catch the ferry to Bari.  Durres is rumored to have been one of the places that Saint Paul came to.  It has been a city for over 2000 years.  I am excited as you can well imagine.  We’ll talk soon.  Love,