Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Dogs Life!

One thing that you notice here in Greece are the wild dogs that roam the streets and beaches!

When we went walking on Saturday, almost instantly we were surrounded by dogs. But in particularly,  a mother and her puppies, tagging along behind! Instantly, Oliver was captivated! But the mother - only being young herself - was strong and full of energy, and managed to push oliver over in the excitement of catching drift wood we threw!

Her puppies were also full of beans and one had taken particular attention to Oliver!
One regaining his confidence with them, we had lots of fun, laughing and squealing as the dogs bounded and jump around us!

Oliver and his new friend!

My boisterous friend!

Its been a while since I last blogged... did you miss me!

To be completely honest, its been a very quiet week. Having returned to Greece, the pace of life has slowed right down.

Its been great catching up with a few friends, and we took a few days to go to my parents home in Halkidiki. Jamie has taken this time to write up some of his work, and catch up on reading.

This weekend the men went away for the weekend into the mountains, whilst we spent the weekend beach combing on the post winter shores of Greece and eating garlic prawns and toast! Sunday morning was spent strolling on the beach front and drinking hot chocolate.

Beach combing!

Coffee time and a good chat with Mina.

The next week we'll be busy meeting up with women and touching the Greek heart again through the beautiful Greek women we know. Its great talking and sharing heart with them - and not always agreeing - but sharpening our ideals, vision and heart for each other.
We all get such a buzz from each other and come home high and full of spirit.

One thing we are definately looking forward to is the bright, warm sunshine on our faces. this grey cloud doesn't agree with this Greek land...
Have a great week!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Saturday Morning Fun!

Well, this land needs a good soaking! Of rain... and thats whats it's done this Saturday morning. And for us in the Barnes household, it can only mean one thing... pancakes and pyjama day!

After reading to Oliver in bed this morning, and gulping my cold coffee, Jamie headed into the kitchen with Oliver and got cooking: beating eggs, sifting flour and generally making a mess.
With not much in the fridge to eat with our pancakes, we feasted on lemon curd soaked pancakes and fresh coffee (the lemon harvest is still in full throttle!)

The rain had turned to drizzle, and so the second part of the morning got underway! Sofa tent building! so out came the blankets, off came the sofa cushions and on came the music!
As we danced away to Take That (Saturday rainy music... didn't you know!), we created a monster tent. In went the toys, milk and biscuits.
This then gave me a good half an hour to devour my book 'A Tale of Love and Darkness' by Amos Oz ( a fantastic read, but taking a while to actually get through).

After having a nice natter to my mum in Albania through skype, I ploughed through the kitchen dishes singing loudly to my shuffle which had then moved on from Take That to Robyn.

Now, all is quiet in the house. Oliver is taking his nap, kitchen is clean.... I'm still in my pyjamas writing to you, my readers!

And so may you enjoy this Saturday Morning... Whatever the weather!!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Back to Greece!

Well, our two weeks in Shkoder is over and the travel down to Greece was an interesting one.

The landscape was dramatic. We drove through flat lands, coastal roads and mountainous tracks! All very unique!

Another thing we noticed was the poverty between each major city or town. Farm houses, people still travelling on horse and carts, and people just standing around on the sides of the roads... doing what? looking for jobs, waiting for jobs?

As the day wore on, the temperature dropped and smoke started creeping into the sky through the chimneys.

Looking at the houses, you can't really begin to understand what people go through in this weather.

I feel very privileged to be English. I have underestimated the quality of life I have lived - from central heating, running hot water and even the most basic things like pasteurised milk (that'll be my blog next time I'm in Albania).

Back in Greece, we've fallen quickly into life here, meeting people, catching up with washing and filling the empty cupboards with food!

One stretch of pristine road between Tirane and Shkoder, Albania

Friday, February 11, 2011

Albania - Land of the Eagle

One of things we love about Albania is the landscape.
We live in shkodra surrounded by majestic snow covered mountains and next to us is a beautiful lake. The days are surprisingly warm for the season we're in.

With all this beauty and warmth surrounding us, it was time to explore... On our bikes.
Heading north out of shkodra we rode into the countryside, through farming villagers and to an medieval bridge called 'mesi.'

With the sun on our faces, we picnicked at the bridged, and Leisurely rode back home through the twisting lanes...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Hidden beauties!

Happy Tuesday Everyone!
I hope you all had a good weekend.

Well, this weekend was particularly interesting for us. We were invited to go to a factory that makes masks for mardi gras in Venice. They are the genuine thing!
The owner was an artist and living in Italy, when he was asked to make a mask for a friend, and it snow balled from there.
Some of his work was amazing. The detail put into the masks were stunning! We were allowed up into the factory were the ladies were hand painting the masks and laying gold over the casts.
It was hugely inspiring. A Sensory over load!

On our way back home we chatted about our favourite masks, and the craftsmanship that goes into the work, whilst we wandered through the streets of shkodera. What a Venetian feast!

Its a beautiful thing to know that hand crafts such as this is not a thing of the past and the streets of shkodera are hidden beauties waiting to be discovered!

Have a lovely week all of you...

Friday, February 4, 2011

Friday Fun!

What a great day it was today!
It was clear, blue skies, the sun was shining, and the air was crisp. 

wrapped up warm in our scarves, hats and gloves, we ventured out into the the sunshine. Our home became a cottage industry for the morning. 
The guys were up the ladders trimming vines, pruning trees and harvesting lemons.

Once clothes were washed and hanging to dry, rugs beaten over the balconies, the vegatables were purchased from the market. 
A coffee break basking in the sun re-energised us all. Then we set off to search out the jewish quarter on our bicycles. 

It was such a beautiful ride, with Oliver on the back in his seat chatting away to us about 'The Sound of Music', whilst we 'oooh- ed' and arrr -ed' our way through the twisting alleyways and streets.

Tonight we have Albanian lessons followed by relaxing around the fire with tabbouleh and stuffed tomatoes in our bellies. 


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

How to be a female Lumber Jack...

Good Morning Country Maidens!

Woke to the sound of a cockeral outside my window (sounds romantic, but the reality is oh so different!)

Yesterday we ordered logs and have ever since kept a fire blazing. It's toasty warm now!

Now we have roaring fires keeping us toasty!

Finding ways to connect with women in the area has intially been quite fun and easy. Being some of the only English people in the region, people tend to recognise you in the street and want to say hello.
Mum started going to gym last time she was in the area, so this time I joined her. There are lots of young girls and women there that we have met and tonight we're off with them for coffee.

Watch this space...

Last night Mum and I went to a young muslim ladies house. She has a little girl and is living with her husband in her families home. They have applied for visas to live in Canada and are in the process of learning French and saving money.
They were very hospiltible and gave us lots of cake and drink. Mum sat and had an Albanian language lesson with the mum. They were very fearful for us that we would be cheated by local farmers for being foreign.

We desire to build long lasting friendships and find we are walking a fine line between our enthusiasum to want to connect with people and a desire to have deeper relationships.

With January having been so full, we look forward to the coming months and all it has in store for us here.