On June 4, 2012 we all worked together to clean the Old Beach in Vlore. This was designated a "Helping Hands" Service Project and was sponsored by the Church Humanitarian Services Department.
Most of the volunteers were from our branch in Vlore. We had about
52 who came to help, including some of the neighborhood boys who live there. You would not believe the kind of clutter and garbage that literally covered the beach.
It was a day of really hard work, but it was great to see the results.
Thursday, July 12, 2012
We chose a restaurant in Fier-just about 45 minutes drive north of Vlore. We had heard that they could serve a real steak! We were really looking forward to that! Mishe Vici, or Beef Meat, is really veal here. The calves are butchered very young and it just doesn't taste the same. So--on to Fier!
We started our meal with a Greek Salad and Bruschetta. The vegetables are fresh and so tasty here. The beginning of the meal was all that we'd hoped for. The service was great, and since we came early-we had the whole restaurant to ourselves! Everything was going according to plan, but we were both waiting for the steak--would it be like the steaks at home in America?
It wasn't long before we knew the truth. The steak was attached to a bone, which was promising, but the steak was only about 3/8" thick. After only one bite I felt sure that this steak had come from a very old milk cow, not the yummy beef we enjoy at home. Oh, well. It was a great night anyway!
This was our Pday on April 30th and the weather was beautiful. Elder Volz initiated a 'stone skipping' contest which has become a tradition. He almost always wins! We draw a scoreboard in the sand, and everyone counts the number of 'skips'. We add them up and declare a winner each time. Albania is a hard mission, and sometimes a little break helps us keep our cheery nature! Traditions are good, and memories like these will stay with us long after our 'boys' and 'girls' have gone on to other areas or home.
The picture above is the view from the top of Kotor Castle in Kotor, Montenegro. This city boasts the oldest, inhabited walled city in Europe. We don't know if that is true or not, but we do know that it is beautiful. Clark hiked to the top of the mountain with Elder and Sister Eliason, Elder Casady and others, and brought back some amazing photos. Nora stayed behind with Sr. Casady and Sr. Stacey, and thoroughly enjoyed shopping and exploring the shops and businesses within the walled town.
When we first arrived in Kotor, the parking lot designated for the castle
all of the boats. This was our first opportunity to see boats like
this, so we were in 7th heaven and remembered our many walks by the marinas at Lake Michigan. The boats were beautiful and the harbor is amazing. It is not deep enough for cruise ships, apparently, as we saw one approach and then turn around and leave. They were probably just giving the passengers a moment to view the amazing walled city, which sprawls up the mountain from bottom to top, with the castle at the top.
This is Clark and Nora in Budva, Montenegro on our last day there. It is hard to imagine being cold enough to need a jacket! This was in April. Now, in July, temperatures linger near 100 degrees every day in Albania, and the humidity ensures that you are always moist, if you know what I mean!
We treasure this time on our mission. We are grateful for our family's support and we miss them so much-but these are experiences that we would never have had any other way. Our friends who are also serving here are a great support and wonderful examples to us. What a wonderful blessing it is to be here.