Things Albanian People Like

White head kerchiefs. It was one of the first things that set Albanians apart. Whether it was a nice lace kerchief, a simply cotton cloth or an old t-shirt, women opted to cover their heads with white fabric. Most non-religious head covering we've seen, throughout Eastern Europe and the Caucuses, was done in black or just whatever scarf was lying around. In Albania, they were uniformly white.
Littering. Unfortunately, Albanians really, really seem to like littering. Young men do it with relish, sending a wrapper or soda bottle out the window of a moving bus. We saw a woman at Berati Castle empty her cafe's small trash can over the edge of the castle walls. Needless to say, we got into the habit of carrying our garbage until we saw a proper place to dispose of it. Trash covers so much of Albania's beautiful landscape and is basically an ever multiplying invasive species in Tirana. It's a huge shame.

Molto Way. Just about half of the wrappers tossed here, there and everywhere were from Molto Way snacks. These cream-filled croissants are advertised on billboards all across the country and found in the hands of just about everyone. To be fair, there is also Replay, a rival filled croissant packaged snack, but Molto Way is definitely the front-runner in the market. We tried a Molto Way Double, filled with coconut frosting and chocolate frosting. As a loved one of ours likes to say, it was a "sugar gut bomb."

Living on the top floor. This is really a strange phenomenon and I haven't uncovered a reason. At first I thought it had to do with locking family members away to protect them from violent blood feuds, but it seems only to be "vernacular Albanian architecture," as one source put it. Since most houses are in some state of construction, these one floor homes on stilts are everywhere. Many finished houses never bother with walls on the bottom floor.
Warding Off the Evil Eye. While completing said construction, it's very important to ward off the evil eye. This is most often done with a stuffed animal hung from the highest point. We saw teddy bears, cabbage patch kids and one very large Spider-Man that would have fit in at a boardwalk carnival. Good luck charms in high places.

Bicycles. I've come to notice that a large amount of bicycle riding occurs in countries that are either particularly poor or particularly well off. It's probably because you either have a green initiative that develops bike paths and encourages the use of bikes for environmental and traffic purposes - or people simply can't afford cars. In Albania, this is definitely the case and even the bicycles are well-worn, antiques.
Loading down their bicycles. I just wanted an excuse to use this photo, because I couldn't decide between it and the one above. You don't usually think of bicycles as having a full trunk load - until you go to Albania.
Homemade Raki. This isn't the raki of Turkey, made from anise-seed like Greece's ouzo or France's pastis. It's more like moonshine, made from anything. Some locals like to liken it to grappa, but I'm not sure that grapes are necessary. It is often infused, always strong and, as far as we can tell, almost completely homemade. In fact, when we went to buy a small bottle of it, we could find none at all. Jack Daniels, Russian vodka, but no raki. What gives? We went to a bar and the woman pulled a whiskey bottle out when we inquired about raki. No, not whiskey. She handed us a taste. So, we were able to buy a bottle of raki after all - a whiskey bottle filled with the stuff. Home-made for sure.
Work-horses. They trotted alongside our rental cars on just about every non-highway road in the country. Most often, their carts were loaded with huge piles of long grass on their way to begin the transition into hay. We saw this horse-drawn mock pick-up truck a few times and were ecstatic about getting a photo. Sometimes, the horses carried only the load of its owner. This brings me to another thing Albanian people like, riding side saddle. We did not see a single person riding otherwise.

Honorable Mentions 

Being some of the nicest people we have ever encountered, anywhere. This is really true. We also benefited from two other things Albanian people like: Speaking English and America.
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