Our return to Lin, Albania

On the Albanian shore of Lake Ohrid lies the small village of Lin. The village is situated below a massive rock formation which juts out a few hundred meters into Ohird and the lake shore. At the very end of this great rock sit two communist-era bunkers erected by the Albanian dictator Enver Hoxha.

Three years ago, we stopped at Lin and were lucky to have some local children as our guides.  On our return, we sought out the same children who gave us such a memorable tour the first time through and took them out to dinner at a local restaurant as a thank  you.

Here we are sitting on top of the bunker over Ohrid. Residents have convereted this particular bunker into a shrine and the children asked that we place some coins there for good luck.

Lin, Albania

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Lin, Albania – Shen Kolli

Lin, Albania

In transit between Elbasan and Pogradec, we were mesmerized by and decided to visit the giant boulder that juts out into Ohrid Lake. Little did we know that we were about to be taken on a tour of an ancient Illyrian basilica by two cousins, aged 15 and 7.

It was the rock that drove us here, and it only exceeded our wildest imaginations. The boy guides were urged by their parents to show us around and they promptly hopped in back of our trusty 84 Mercedes (with many jealous neighborhood boys wondering what the commotion was all about) and they guided us up a few narrow paths until we reached a partially excavated Illyrian ruin with an open steel structure built over it to smartly protect the site from the sun and the rain. Within minutes, the boys were uncovering sections of floor mosaics they obviously knew well, showing us an ancient grave (as well as a human leg bone), and telling us about the other nearby holy sites and the man who was charged with guarding the site. They told us to lock our car doors and invited us out to the very end of the rock that had called us to Lin in the first place. Here we would find an Enver Hoxha-era army bunker converted into a church (seriously)!

The sun was setting and a swift breeze was buzzing telephone wires above our head, creating an almost surreal hike out to the rock point and the coverted bunker. This rock was the sort of place that invites deep breaths and a reminder of the joy of life and discovery.

We left Lin causing quite a happy stir, buying soda and candy for the raucus neighborhood boys, to whom nearby Pogradhec was a big city, never mind Tirana or New York. Driving away, we realized how lucky we were to discover such a gem of a village and illyrian ruin, considering the whim that took us there to begin.

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