Meet the Correspondent: Omar Jaramillo > Berlin$show=/search/label/Omar%20Jaramillo

"I was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador, where I studied architecture. I moved to Kassel (Germany) in 1999 to accomplish a master degree. Although I have always drawn and paint, it was not until I started studying in the Uni-Kassel, that I started keeping a travel sketchbook. I had a teacher there who used to do a lot of sketches when he travelled on university excursions. When he retired, I helped to organize an exhibition of his sketches. He brought a huge box full of sketchbooks he had filled since he was an architecture student. I spent a whole day selecting the most interesting drawings. It was a wonderful experience that opened my eyes to a new world. In the last 10 years I have the feeling of being in a long journey. I like to discover the cities where I live, to understand why a place is the way it is and what makes it different and unique from others. Drawing is for me a way to learn to love a place, to become part of it. I like to draw architecture but I am more attracted to urban scenery, portraying how people live in the city. Since I’m a foreigner, everything that locals find normal and taken-for-granted, for me is exotic. I always carry a small watercolor travel set from Windsor and Newton and my sketchbook in my bag. I always thought that drawing was a solitary experience until I found Urban Sketchers. It was amazing to find so many people doing the same thing. It is a great place to share!" • Omar's blog. • Omar's art on flickr. • Omar's website.

Meet the Correspondent: Luis Ruiz > Malaga, Spain$show=/search/label/Luis%20Ruiz

Journey to Albania

Last summer I have been ten days in Albania, a country almost nearby, that we mostly know from its immigrants and refugees arrived in Italy after the 90', normally avoided by italian tourists. With my family we visited interesting places and met very nice people. Lots of albanians can speak italian also because under Enver Hoxha dictatorship could see italian tv channels.


In the ancient city of Gjirokaster (inscribed on the World Heritage List), we could visit this house (paying a 2 euro ticket to its owner), a well-preserved beautiful Ottoman building, arranged almost like a fortress to face the many invasions. The owner mister Skenduli has been persecuted by the communist government for his italian sympathies. We had a long conversation with him and he even sang for us some italian songs he likes. On his house facade we could see the emblem of a Naples king, as a tribute to an agreement with the local Pasha. 

Never Enver
In Berat, another city in the UNESCO Heritage List, we visited the ancient citadel. In the mountain in front of it, they told us the students had changed a gigantic inscription with the name of Enver (Hoxha) in "Never".
Butrinto, archeological site

Butrint is an important archeological site with a Greek theatre in a fascinating lagoon, facing Korfu island. We happen to be there during the summer international Theatre Festival, when they were playing The Tempest by Shakespeare, where the king of Naples is included too.

Porto Palermo castle

In Porto Palermo (a strategic Navy base, both in Ottoman period than during the cold war) we had another interesting conversation in italian on Albania's history with the venetian fortress guardian. The name Palermo recall an expedition toward Sicily and matches the "piana degli Albanesi" and the albanian speaking villages we have in the south of Italy.


We took the ferry back to Italy from Durres,  an incredible modern city, whose building growing apparently with no rules, dramatically transformed the environment in last ten years, like it happen in Italy after the II World War.

So interesting for us and my kids to discover such historical links with our culture in a place only seemingly far away. 



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