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BERAT ......I didn't do Berat justice. It is one of the best cities to explore in Albania, or so I read. But, I didn't explore it. It was extremely hot the day that I arrived. The plan was to stroll the city for the afternoon and then continue on my way to Tirana. However, when I stepped off the bus in the blazing heat, I decided that I'd have to see Berat another day. I headed on to Tirana.

For forty years of communism, Albanians heard they needed to prepare for the immanent invasion from America. So, dotting the countryside, beach fronts, cliffs, city perimeters, and farms were the remains of the bomb shelters. Some were built for large portions of the population, but most were built for about three people and a machine gun. There were an estimated 700,000 of these cement mushrooms scattered around the country.

On my second visit, I saw mushroom shaped ashtrays carved from stone. Some clever Albanian found some good marketing use for the mushrooms. I bought one and I don't even smoke.


Copyright 1995 and 2009 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved.