Journey to Valbona is a website maintained by the NGO TOKA (The Organization to Conserve the Albanian Alps), and is written by Catherine Bohne, an American who came to stay for a week, and Eight Years Later … I’m still here, thanks to the charming (and tolerant!) mountain people who were kind enough to adopt me. For the first 7 years of my life here, I lived as the wife of a local man. Going forward, my relationship to the valley looks to be being redefined. The contents of this site amount to my admittedly subjective opinions, but are nonetheless the product of years of working closely with the people of Valbona. The goal is always to empower the people of Valbona, to secure their continued and sustainable success and prosperity. The site generates no income, and has no nefarious or secret agendas, other than to promote the wellbeing and experience of all, never forgetting the overriding need to preserve this most precious corner of one of the rarest habitats on earth: a high biodiversity area of European temperate forest and mountain habitat.
Please feel free to contact Catherine, in any of these ways:
TEL: Alfred: 355 (0)67 30 14 637 (who actually answers the phone) or Catherine: 355 (0)67 30 14 638 (who to be honest rarely does answer – email being more my thing)
FACEBOOK: Shoq Selimaj (named after our beloved Rabbit, Rest in Peace) or the page Journey to Valbona
SKYPE: journeytovalbona (only to be used as last resort, in case of scheduled calls.)
Please be aware that part of the charm of Northern Albania is arguably its remoteness. This same remoteness can make communication challenging, to say the least. The Valbona Valley has no landlines, no reliable internet, and a mailing address which amounts to “23 kilometers down the road, thataway, from Bajrum Curri.” While your interest is definitely eagerly awaited, you may not always receive the most rapid response. Rainstorms knock out the electricity. Snow closes the road. Please bear with us. In the end, we will be your best guides to the area, and we’re used to operating on a much shorter time frame than you probably expect.