Balkansickness

28 May

The combination of the unusually hot weather and the Eurovision Song Contest are having an unlooked-for effect on me. I had hoped that the sun would cure me of my longing to go somewhere hot this year, but in fact I’m having the opposite reaction. All these experiences and sensations that I associate with Albania and Greece, rather than rainy Britain, are giving me a gut-deep yearning to be in the Balkans.

Walking down a street with the sun scorching my bare shoulders and the hot pavement cooking my feet takes me back to Lushnje. Iced coffee will always mean Greece to me. I can even order it in Greek, just the way I like it. The opening strains of the Greek Eurovision entry made me long for outdoor cafes with jangly music playing in the background. It wasn’t even a good song! Today I’m going to the beach (wearing shorts!), something I usually only do in Albania or Greece, either romantically with my husband, or chaotically with some of his millions of nieces and nephews.

It doesn’t help that hubbie is currently abroad due to a death in the family. This means a) that we won’t be able to go on holiday to Albania this year and b) that part of this yen for the Balkans is really a longing for him.

The Balkans aren’t heaven on earth, and there’s plenty I don’t like about Albania, Greece, Macedonia etc. When we move back there (as I hope we will) there will be plenty I’ll miss about the UK, too. So what I ought to do is appreciate Britain while I’ve got it – beach, shorts and all. Albania will still be there, and still be hot, next year.

Fancy a virtual trip to Albania? Try Leda, my novel set there.

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