After a long year of working on the translation of my father’s book from Albanian into English I am proud to say it is finished! The book was published today and is available on Amazon. This has been a true labor of love and a great tribute to my family. I hope those of you who are curious enough to buy it will enjoy it. Here’s a short tease…

My father, Ndue Gjon Marku aka Ndue Gjon Markagjoni and Ndue Gjomarkaj, was the second oldest son of Kapidan Gjon Marka Gjoni, the leader of the Gjomarkaj tribe in Mirdita. Their stronghold was Orosh, the seat of their House, which for over 500 years remained vital to the stability, longevity and continuity of the highlander’s way of life. Their story is one of courage, bravery, suffering, triumph, and sacrifice……….



A Bat You Say?!

Something funny happened on the way to the Forum….well more like the supermarket. It seems everyone is getting a kick out of my traumatic morning here in Shkodra so I will pass it on and you can be the judge.

I left the house this morning and merrily got on my way to do some grocery shopping. I usually walk along the main road toward the statue of Isa Bulletin aka Albanian hero. As I approached the roundabout I felt something on my right shoulder. I reached over with my right hand and didn’t feel anything, ‘odd’ I thought, but, oh well kept on walking. About five seconds later I felt it again and thought there must be a critter that crawled in from the trees or something, it’s not unusual for a spider or some other small critter to get in your clothes right? I reached over again and this time felt a mushy, chunky something or other. At this point I panicked ever so slightly and silently thought “What the ….. is that?”.

I fumbled some more with the collar of my blouse and felt it even more, I quickly turned the collar over to try and get whatever was hidden in there to drop to the ground and lo and behold…a BAT just flew out into the open sky, a ‘A Bat out of Hell’ I thought in shock and disbelief.

I stood there frozen and just stared at it fly into the sunlight. How the heck did I not feel that when I put on my blouse? I didn’t even have time to really freak out, I was just in shock. No, I didn’t get bit and there are no scratches or wounds of any kind. Just a friggin bat flying out of my shirt. All I could think of was ‘thank the Lord’ I had my hair up and not lose on my shoulders, I can just imagine how that would have gone!

How did I get a bat in my shirt you may wonder. Well, Albania is chuck full of them, they fly around on our property by the dozens in the evening and quite a few times they have gotten into the house. I suppose one got in unnoticed and just went to sleep in our bedroom, in my shirt!

Moral of the story…..shake out your clothes before you put them on and if a bat flies out, well, just look at it in shock and disbelief, open a window and let him out!

Like a bat out of Hell
I’ll be gone when the morning comes
But when the day is done
And the sun goes down
And the moonlight’s shinin’ through

Then like a sinner
Before the gates of Heaven
I’ll come crawlin’ on back to you

I sure hope NOT!!!


Mirdita Dera e Gjomarkut Kanuni nga Ndue Gjon Marku

Sot unë kam botuar librin e babait tim për herë të dytë. Ai së pari botoi këtë libër në vitin 2002 dhe pas 14 vitesh unë ndjeva se ishte e rëndësishme që të publikojë atë përsëri. Ky liber ka ne fokus te tij, gjenezen e Kapidaneve te Mirdites, si dhe disa saktesime mbi kanunin e Mirdites sipas Ndue Gjomarkut, pa harruar dhe ngjarje kulmore historike te cilat jane domethenese per fatin e Mirdites dhe te shqiptareve. Duke perfshire nje periudhe kohore disa shekullore. Për të blerë librin, ju lutem klikoni në imazhin e librit.

Today I re-published my father’s book. It was first published in 2002 and after 14 years I felt it was very important to publish it again with a wider distribution. The book focuses on the Kapidanis of Mirdita and the impact of the Kanun on the region over a period of several centuries. The book emphasizes a number of historical milestones of the Gjomarkaj household mainly concentrating on the Markagjoni branch (my grandfather, father and uncles). I hope to have it published in English within the year.

For a preview of the book please follow this link

Book Preview

The book is in Albanian and may be purchased through Amazon at the link below.

THUMBNAIL_IMAGEMirdita Dera e Gjomarkut Kanuni


2015 in review

WOW!! We had a great year on Discovering Albania, couldn’t have done it without all of you. Thank you for reading my blog!!!

Happy New Year 2016 –Gezuar Vitin e Ri 2016!!


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 19,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 7 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Christmas in Shkoder!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2016 from Shkoder!


20151216_192406This year the city has really outdone itself! The pedonale by St. Stephen’s Cathedral is completed and a beautiful Christmas Tree and Manger scene are on display, the first ever!

xmas2015 b20151216_193531

xmas2015fThe pedonale in the center of the city is fully decorated and stands were erected for vendors to display and sell their wares.

20151216_211520The annual Christmas Tree was put up in the center’s main square and the city outdid itself this year. Also the lights decorating the historic district really light up the streets.20151216_192543All in all the city is in full swing for the holidays!