The U.S.S. Enterprise in Vulcan, Alberta.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Jasper, Alberta on Friday.

Monday, May 24, 2021

It's not every day you have lunch with a MIG jet fighter pilot

Well yesterday was an interesting day!

Remember I mentioned that we had a noise coming from the transmission of our rental car? Well on Friday, we did a switch and they gave us a temporary car until they can figure out what's going on with the other one. So we were talking to the guys at Go Rent Albania about the great time we've been having here, and Zeni suggests that we should have lunch together during our time in Shkodra. Of course we agreed. Then on Saturday, he called and invited us to his family home for lunch! He said we would have a real traditional Albanian experience. And boy, was he right!

We walked around downtown before arriving at his place.

Fancy mosque.

A beautiful day, and lots of people were out enjoying it.

Weird statue.

Ruth and the Shkodra sign.

So we arrived at Zeni's place, but this is not actually where he lives. It turns out that this is the historical home belonging to his family. It's located right in the center of the city, and the 300 year old property has been in the family for about 180 years. In fact, his great grandfather was the mayor of Schodra and lived in this home.

Including us, there were 15 people at lunch! And what an interesting group of people!

The patriarch of the family is Zeni's grandfather. He was an eye surgeon in his working days, and his wife was a pediatrician. He was one of 13 children, 8 of whom made it to adulthood. He was the youngest, and is now the only one left. He is in his 90's, although wouldn't give an exact age.

Zeni's grandmother and his grandfather.
We can't remember most of the names!

What an interesting man. He only learned English when he was in his 70's! And, he has a hearing problem, so that made it even more difficult. But he was pretty good. He had to think about every word, but he could communicate with us quite well. And he can keep up with the best of them when it comes to drinking raki!

Then there was Zeni's cousin, also a doctor. He is just a young guy, and specializes in abdominal surgery.

And Zeni's mother (also a pediatrician) and father (chemical engineer) and wife and young son. And another cousin and his wife and son. Most of them could speak English quite well, except for his father and another uncle, the guy who was a MIG jet fighter pilot during the communist era!

Lots of food.

The guy in the striped shirt is the fighter pilot.
He is the one who lives in the house now.

Somebody must have said something funny!

Yet another toast!

We had fish for lunch.
Yes, you guessed it...lake carp!


My piece of fish!

A few too many bones for my liking, but Ruth said her piece didn't have many bones. The meat itself was quite good though. I had read the one of the problems with carp is that if you don't cook it right, it has a fishy taste, but this must have been cooked properly. They made it with a type of homemade sweet and sour plum sauce.


Throughout all of this, we were drinking raki, the traditional Albanian booze. Too much raki! Lots of laughs and conversation, and of course lots of toasts.

The kids were singing the Albanian national anthem for us!

After lunch, we were taken for a tour of the home.

Amazing history in this home.

Lots of carved wood.

Ruth, heading into the original bathroom.
They kept the old entranceway, but once inside it is a modern bathroom.

Then we went and sat outside for more conversation.

And more raki!

We felt really privileged to have been invited to this family gathering. We met some interesting people, learned more about Albania customs, and we feel like when we return to Albania in our motorhome, we will have to return to Shkodra to see them all again.

I think today will be a day of rest. Did I mention too much raki?!!


And in Canada...


  1. Lunch looked good, and you were polite to eat the Carp (Krap!) after disparaging it in previous posts. Glad it was not bad. I love fish but have a mental block against Carp as well. What an interesting home, and so nice of the family to offer you such hospitality!

    1. Lunch was delicious, lol even the carp was tasty. It is not a fish that we would ever go into a restaurant and order but we certainly aren't adverse to eating it. Kevin had read that for carp to taste nice it has to be cooked properly and it was obvious that they knew how to cook carp because it really did taste good, unfortunately it did have a lot of bones in it and it is quite a fatty fish.

      We were so pleased and honoured to have been invited to the family Sunday meal. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit and were very thankful for their lovely hospitality. :-)

  2. Replies
    1. It certainly was! Definitely an experience that we will not forget. :-)

  3. What a fine time you 2 had! That's something that you that pilot, ask what side is on! Just kidding! I can't believe the good people you meet! Of course you 2 are very friendly folks! Take care, Rawn Stone

    1. Yes, we had a fantastic time. It is so nice to see what life is like in other countries and this was definitely one of the ways to find out.

      We have found that most people are friendly people but we are certainly finding out here in Albania people in general are extremely friendly and welcoming. We have been lucky to have had so many wonderful encounters with the people here, just another reason why Albania is in the top five of our favourite countries. :-)

  4. Nice you can get to meet the locals and have lunch with them. You guys have friends all over the world with your travels. Enjoy!

    1. We love these types of experiences, it really does give us a look into the life of the people here. It was an honour to have been invited and we will always look back on this experience with big smiles.

      Yes, we do have friends all over the world because of our travels and we still stay in touch with many of them. :-)

  5. The party, the people and the house was so interesting and beautiful.

    1. Thank you Angi, we thought so to and we felt very privileged to have been invited into their family like that. Experiences like this is what makes travel rich for us. :-)

  6. WOW! What a memorable priceless and fun experience you had! I'm envious! LOL! However, your blogs and photos make being an armchair traveler worthwhile. Sckodra looks like another beautiful, friendly city. Safe travels!

    1. It was definitely a fun experience and a memory that will last a lifetime, we were so honoured to have been invited to join the family for Sunday lunch.

      Shkodra, is a beautiful city and there is a lot to see and do in the area, we will be back here one day because we didn't see nearly enough of the area. The people throughout Albania are very friendly and welcoming, not just in Shkodra. :)


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