Rally Albania 2012

Today signaled the start of Rally Albania 2012. At around 10:30 participants started moving from Rogner hotel to the little empty space in front of the Pyramid at the city center. It was ironic to see some beggars sleeping under the Bell of Peace, 100 meters away from the bikes display. Then after a while, some of the beggars and the souvenirs sellers started tailing the participants across the field. I don’t know how the organizers can deal with that in the future. I can’t imagine the huge mess it would have been if something like this happened in Egypt!

The route of the rally is pretty interesting, taking a round trip across Albania in one week. First they are heading north towards Razma village (40 km north of Shkodra), then they will head to the secluded Theti village and later south east till Voskopoja, and their last stop will be Himara, before heading back to Tirana. I’m glad that they will be spending a day at Himara, the website shows that they will stay at my favorite lodge at Drymades (Altea Beach Lodges), and i think it’s a brilliant idea. The beach there is amazing and there is lots of camping space.

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Fiter Bajramit in Tirana

How I miss Cairo in El Eid ! Waking up very early in the morning, going with my brother to the prayer open area, listening to the people chanting in the streets, praying with hundreds of people, just feeling happiness roaming the air. Blissful moments!

That’s why I was very excited to go to the Eid prayer this time. Last time I did it was a couple of years ago, when Skanderbej square was open, and not going through reconstruction. It was a great day, and the number of people was unbelievable. I was deeply touched with the older women sitting next to me, sharing with me her little prayer so I don’t kneel on the rough asphalt, and how later on she gave me a hug, through which I felt such a motherly warmth…

This year however, I decided to go a bit early with my camera, and try to capture few moments of this blessed day. I didn’t expect it would take me this long to find a parking space. The main streets were full, I had to run around, reaching Coin, and still to no avail. And at last I found a spot, and almost ran to the park to join the festivities.

 

I was deeply impressed with the number of people who were there. I don’t know how do we count the number of such masses, and I would say it was by thousands. Old people, youngsters, kids,,,, With every old face I see, I wonder how does he / she feels now that he praying el Eid, while having spent years and years deprived of any religious activity. Elhamdlelah.

 

The Eid speech was delivered in Albanian of course, with some verses of Qoran. The Imam was standing on a stage with a big screen behind him (just like concerts)!

 

Then after the prayer was finished, I suddenly noticed that they released some balloons in the air, with banners saying Bajram 2011. It was very pretty.

Then the firework started. I have no idea why it is always used on every occasion, it was in the morning and firework will only result in lots of noise and smoke, and you definitely won’t enjoy the sparks!

I left the prayer area with a big smile on my face, and a content heart. Surely happiness is contagious! I can’t wait for the Kurban Bajramit on 6th of November.

P.S. The photos from the previous post were also taken during that day 🙂