We stayed with a young family, the father doubled as a tour guide. We spent one day touring all of the highlights in the region, including the house and burial site for two very famous Dervishes, a river that had massive amounts of wild mint growing on its shores, creating an entire river of mint water, and several Roman Ruins. The father's stories of government corruption were sprinkled throughout the day. One of the most interesting stories was about the recent statue erected in the local park. He claims that the Muslim side of town felt that the government was favoring the Christians, and spending more funds on them. The government responded with a Bruce Lee statue. After all, who else could bridge the gap between a town divided. Our guide also commented on how, while on a daily basis the two groups get along and work together with little to no tension, there is still a very apparent social divide. Muslims and Christians do not inter-marry. He stated that his parents were an inter-religious marriage years ago. He feels that since he does not specifically belong to one group or the other, it was hard for him to find a wife. Families want their daughters to marry into the same religion. He reported that his sisters both encountered similar problems and both left the country to marry and raise a family without the social divide.
Some of highlights included seeing the Bridge of Sighs. This is the bridge that connects the court house to the jail. It was named this because the prisoners would often sigh as they looked through the bridges windows to see what would be their last view of the outside world after being convicted. We also took a ferry to the Island of Burano. This is a town with wildly colored houses. Home owners need to write to the local government before painting their house to find out which colors they were allowed to use. The legend of the town is that fishermen use to paint their houses bright colors so they were identifiable from a distance. This is highly disputed- either way, this was an amazing stop. It is impossible to be in a bad mood when every time you turn a corner there are more loud colors there to great you.