Albania’s repurposed bunkers are the past re-imagined

Despite the end of Communism in the Balkan region of Europe, much like the rest of Eastern Europe, it remains marked by its past. Military bunkers are one of these lingering remnants. In Albania, bunkers are everywhere, serving as stoic symbols of history. Though many sit abandoned, others have been repurposed in creative ways that breathe new life into otherwise forgotten ruins.

Between the 1960s and 1980s, over 173,000 bunkers were built in Albania during the reign of Enver Hoxha, an authoritarian leader implementing a hard-core version of Stalisnim. Their construction was the result of a program called “bunkerization,”, wherein bunkers were built all across the country for the purpose of defending it against neighbors’ aggression. Hoxha was so paranoid about an impending attack that he ordered every bunker to be manned constantly, even in the absence of an active threat. The bunker program was a tremendous drain on Albania’s economy, resulting in poor infrastructure and housing conditions — an impact that can be felt in the country even today.

The bunkers were never used for war, as intended. After the authoritarian communist government was dissolved in 1992, the bunkers were abandoned and repurposed for residential accommodation, cafes, storehouses,

COVID-19 pass required to visit the Eiffel Tower, French museums

As of Wednesday, July 21, 2021, visitors wishing to go up the Eiffel Tower or visit the treasures housed in France’s many museums will be required to show a COVID-19 pass. This new rule is one of the steps that the French government is taking in its new campaign against the rise in Delta variant infections.

To obtain the COVID-19 pass or to enter, people must show proof that they’re fully vaccinated, the negative results of a test, or proof that they recently recovered from COVID-19.

France reopened to American tourists, vaccinated or not, on June 18.

France’s COVID-19 pass is also required for taking part in other activities such as going to the movies or to the swimming pool. Plans to expand the scope of the COVID-19 pass in August include restaurants, bars, long-distance train excursions, and plane rides, Reuters reported.

The Eiffel Tower reopened on July 16 after being closed for nine months. The famous Parisian landmark will now only allow 10,000 visitors instead of the usual 25,000.

Cristalino tequilas are trending in Mexico, and the US is next

When Aron Marquez was in Mexico City about 10 years ago, he kept hearing people talk about cristalino tequila. He had long enjoyed blanco, reposado, and anejo tequilas, but at the time, cristalino was something new to him that he hadn’t seen in the US: an aged tequila that drinks like an anejo, but is as crystal clear as a blanco.

The style takes a few extra steps to make than an unaged agave spirit. It starts with a blanco tequila made from Blue Weber agave. That distillate is then aged for at least a year and a half to make an anejo tequila. Lastly, the spirit is filtered to remove the color, but leave the flavors from barrel aging like chocolate and vanilla that make anejos so easy to sip.

Today, Marquez owns the tequila brand Flecha Azul with co-founder and PGA golfer Abraham Ancer. Along with the aged and unaged offerings more commonly seen in the US, Flecha Azul sells a premium cristalino like the ones he first encountered a decade ago. For Marquez, the option of a cristalino makes it easy to find a tequila for every mood or occasion.

“Being born in Mexico and raised in

Here’s you chance to win a $5,000 family getaway with Vrbo

Vrbo is holding a contest that everyone can get on board with, especially as we try to shake the COVID-19 lockdowns. This contest gives family and friends an opportunity to reunite with one another in a unique, budget-friendly way. One lucky winner each day, for 30 days, will win a $5,000 vacation. This credit can go towards any Vrbo rental of your choosing anywhere in the world.

Vrbo hand-selected a Trip Board full of homes and vacation rentals that is family-approved and located throughout the US in many areas like beaches, mountains, lake destinations, and more.

The contest runs until August 13. To enter the contest, participants must follow these rules:

  1. Follow Vrbo on Twitter or Instagram
  2. Post a photo of yourself with the person you’ve missed most
  3. Include a caption explaining why you can’t wait to reunite
  4. Use #VrboReunionContest

“Grandparents want to kiss their grandchildren. Aunts and uncles want to hug their favorite nieces and nephews. Families are ready to travel again and finally see their loved ones face-to-face,” said Lish Kennedy, vice president of global brand marketing at Vrbo, in a press release. “We want to ensure this year is filled with as many joyful, laughter- and

The best Lebanese restaurants in Dearborn, Michigan

Tucked away on a quiet street in Dearborn, Michigan, Dearborn Meat Market is easy to miss. On the outside, the restaurant looks like just another Middle Eastern hole-in-the-wall cafe or a simple butcher shop, but when you step inside, you’ll find some of the best meat dishes in the state.

“Dearborn Meat Market is so good,” Matthew Stifler, research and content manager for the Arab American National Museum tells me. “They have this big brick grill in the back, and they grill meat for you. They’re really known for their beef kafta, chicken tawook, and shish kabobs.”

On a typical day, Dearborn Meat Market gets so packed that it’s difficult to move without bumping into someone. The small restaurant’s walls ooze with the aromas of beef and chicken. Like many restaurants in Dearborn, Dearborn Meat Market’s meat is halal, to cater to its many Muslim customers. Since opening in 2007, Dearborn Meat Market has exploded in popularity.

Lebanese food has found a perhaps surprisingly welcome home in Michigan. To the east and west of metro Detroit lies Dearborn, which is home to the country’s largest concentration of Arab Americans, many of whom are Muslim. Roughly 60% of the residents

How to protect against shark attacks

If you feel like you’ve been reading about more shark sightings lately, it’s not just because this is Shark Week. It’s also not just because more people are fleeing record-breaking heat by going to the beach. It’s because there are more sharks.

And that’s a good thing, mostly.

It doesn’t feel so good if you’re the surfer who was attacked by a great white shark at a beach 20 miles south of San Francisco three weeks ago. Or the Southern California teenager whose hand was bitten by a different great white a few days later. Or the parents of an eight-year-old harmed in shallow Florida waters this month.

But as dramatic as these occurrences are, and as unfortunate for those involved, fatal shark attacks, and even minor injuries caused by sharks, are rare.

“The odds of any interaction are so low, it’s much more dangerous to drive your car … This is an irrational fear that doesn’t statistically exist,” says Chris Fischer, Founder and Expedition Leader for OCEARCH, an organization that collects and disseminates data about marine environments.

Sharks are making a recovery.

While Fischer says we should heap “love” on the families of