Balkan postcards 4

Off to the hills around Albanian Lake Prespa today, we got to see something of the tough life of a farmer here. Though the sight this morning of a shepherd with his small flock – fewer than 40 animals – of sheep and goats and three sheepdogs wandering slowly along as they grazed seemed idyllic, I’m sure the reality of this subsistence-level existence is rather different. We spotted several other such flocks throughout the day. Do take the time to look and listen to the grazing sheep with their melodious bells in the video I link to below. It all seems to be from a very different world.

A shepherd, his sheep and his goats

Throughout the day, we saw solitary elderly women working alone in their narrow fields, weeding and wielding heavy mattocks. We spotted distant farmers working with ancient tractors. The thin rectangular fields set in regular grid formation in the picture below are a throw-back to communist days, but have been retained because they work.

A grid of fields, shared fairly between local farmers.

Author: margaret21

I'm retired and living in North Yorkshire, where I walk as often as I can, write, volunteer, and travel as often as I can.

20 thoughts on “Balkan postcards 4”

  1. Yes, it might appear reasonably benign in May, but I can’t imagine a subsistence-level existence in the middle of winter. Truly tough especially if you’re old or sick.

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  2. I was struck by the primitive ways of farming in Yugoslavia when I was there in the 70s. Ox drawn ploughs, hand sowing of seeds. It seemed so very different to the modern farming methods being used in the west and such a hard way of living. We tend not to realise that such ways of live still exist.

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    1. You’re right of course, and we have spent a little time in Korçë, a university town with much to offer. I’ll write more about that from home, as it’s more than the subject of a postcard!


  3. There is perhaps peace amid the hardship of life in the area. Simplicity. Freedom from many of the unnecessary things we fill our own lives with. Maybe I’m being naive. Wishful thinking…

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    1. I’d like to think so. But next door in Greece, young people are rejecting such a life, and look to Albania and similar to plug the gaps. I think it’s complicated!

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  4. The patchwork of the fields is very pretty, especially with that rugged mountain hulking over them to the background. Slightly sad that design comes from darker times. Beautiful part of the world.

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    1. Things are politically complicated there, and it’s hard for us to get a real window on things. But the beauty is undeniable.


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