Situated to the east of Ianoia, The Republic of Albaland is a small island nation home to around 13.2 million inhabitants known as Albans. The capital city is Portgordon but most of the entire economy revolves around Sandwick, the largest city on the island.
Albaland forms part of the Duifje Islands and is situated on the second largest island known as Keyser. Sitting on a major tectonic plate fault-line, Keyser Island is almost split in half by large mountains – many of them active volcanoes – extending nearly 1900-feet high from east to west. For this reason, most locals reside in cities along the coastline and travel from north to south and vice versa can take far longer due to the circuitous routes needed.
Albaland is a strong, fiercely independent nation, that is famed for its pub culture, golf courses and whiskay – Albaland’s own take on whisky that is infused with limes or citrus.
Whilst not associated with Scotland formally, Albaland shares many cultures and traditions with their distant cousins, with family tartans prominently on display during more formal events in the form of a sash as opposed to the kilt which is rarely seen today.
Albans generally enjoy a very high quality of life but the ever-present threat of volcanoes and earthquakes due to the proximity of the shifting tectonic plates always loom large. For that reason the country is largely urban-based, with modern cities located away from fault lines and lava-flow areas.
With a size of 67,500 square kilometres, Albaland is comparable in size to Latvia, and roughly two-thirds the size of Iceland. Much of the terrain is mountainous, especially in the interior, with flat, fertile agricultural land to the east and south. Due to the inhospitable nature of the mountain range cutting the island in half, dense, untouched forested areas will make way for large lava flows that have since cooled, and prevented any flora and fauna from growing.
There are many rivers, with the Rocky and Oakley Rivers being prominent in the south, and the Great East and Fenn Rivers merging at Kersemill for a spectacular confluence. The coastline can be rugged, with many cliffs, inlets, beaches and rocks.
Albaland was officially founded in 1632, when five vessels including HMS Tyrant voyaged to new lands located in the South Indian Ocean for the British Empire carrying English and Scottish pilgrims. Led by Captain Herman McCutchen who despised his Scottish heritage and spurred on by the lack of union between Scotland and England at the time, McCutchen dumped the Scottish families at small inlet which blossomed to become Portgordon. The English crew did not expect the families to survive on such a mountainous and inhospitable island. With just a few sheep, the pilgrims started their new life and soon found bountiful agricultural land with fertile soil due to the volcanic eruptions in the past.
Ianoia soon began to resent Albaland’s successful farming and agriculture which was supplying Koana Islands, Günsovölk and Houtmansland with limes, oranges and wine and even truffles. When civil war in Houtmansland began in 1756, Ianoia got heavily involved in the conflict, supplying guns, ammunition and even soldiers to assist the rebel Zuidgeldans on the agreement that Ianoia would claim the eastern peninsula of the island to effectively surround Albaland and eventually subsume the independent Scottish-influenced state.
By 1802, Ianoia was in the midst of a health crisis with tuberculosis, smallpox, measles, chickenpox, cholera, whooping cough and influenza, among others spreading throughout the country. With little to no military or naval presence in the peninsula Novainsula was formed following an uprising supported by Albaland.
Albaland and Ianoia signed a peace treaty known as the Kirkpatrick Treaty in 1867.
Albaland is a representative democracy with a unicameral parliament located in Portgordon called the Albaland National Assembly. The current parliament has 170 members who are directly elected through a system of party-list proportional representation and serve four-year terms. Parties must receive at least five percent of the vote nationally to gain parliamentary representation.
Three parties are represented in the parliament: Voice Coalition, Common Trust Party and the Patriotic Democratic Party. The leader of the party with the most seats in the Albaland National Assembly becomes the Chieftain of Albaland; the elected head of the republic.
Albaland has a rich culture which is distinct from the other nations in the Southern Union, though has similarities with Ianoia and Novainsula. Alban people are often fiercely proud of their culture and Albaland’s cultural achievements are evident in numerous areas and are flourishing.
The country has a great tradition of festivals (e.g. the Festival of Candles) and there is also a thriving Alban music scene. Outdoor popular music festivals such as Soundlicious attract vast crowds and attract internationally-renowned live music acts. Alban bands and musicians are also prominent, particularly those originating from in and around Sandwick, the largest city in Albaland.
You will find most Albans to be friendly, warm, and with a strong sense of humour, although it can take more than one meeting with you for them to warm up. Younger Albans are often hedonistic, with the “night out” being a basic unit of social interaction for many people and packed pubs, bars, nightclubs and live music and comedy venues in cities. On the other hand, heavy drinking is a part of Alban culture and has been increasing in recent years; you are likely to hear younger people talk of being drunk as a nirvana-like ideal state. However, the flip side to this is that public drunkenness, disorderliness and alcoholism is a problem. While they may not be overly willing to make conversation with a stranger at a bus stop or other public place, nor trust you with their life story the first time they meet you, you will find most Albans to be enjoyable, lively and satisfying companions.
The most popular spectator sport in Albaland is baseball. The teams of the highest league division, the Albaland Baseball League, are said to enjoy the greatest support per head of population of any country in the world. Association football is also popular but not to nearly the same extent as baseball. In these sports, Albaland participates in international tournaments with other Southern Union nations. Golf is also popular, with a very large number of golf courses. Public golf courses are widespread, inexpensive and typically of high quality.
Albans are often passionate about sport, and the full range of other sports are played with good facilities for all sports in most parts of the country. Nearly every town will have a “leisure centre” providing sports and exercise facilities, playing fields for outdoor sports, and/or a swimming pool. In sports other than baseball and football, Alban sportsmen and sportswomen make a significant contribution to international competitions in a wide range of sports.
Despite the size of the country, Albaland isn’t divided up into regions, tending to associate areas by the name of the nearest city. City status in Albaland is granted by Albaland National Assembly and although it carries no special rights, the status of city can be a marker of prestige and confer local pride.
- Donibristle – Built along the banks of a gentle river as a fishing town that is now a modern technological city. Its charm is matched by the backdrop of magnificent forests which have helped shape the city to what it is today. Famed for a few big stone bridges criss-crossing the city.
- Douglastown – The home of churches, Douglastown University is famed the world over for its medical expertise. Despite being very conservative, Douglastown knows how to have a good time with excellent nightlife which include markets and food stalls most nights through summer.
- Oxenfoord – A diamond in the rough, it is often forgotten about by tourists. A fantastic art scene with next to no blank walls anywhere in the city. Considered a bit yuppie with it’s abundance of young middle-class professionals.
- Portgordon – The home of politics in the country and considered sterile by most Albans, the history of the city and Albaland as a whole, as well as old architecture on display, make this a great place to check out.
- Strathmiglo – A very large amount of public greenery, with trees outnumbering the human population approximately three-to-one. Dozens of excellent bakeries, restaurants and food carts offer a plethora of culinary choices and those who feel hungry for something else can enjoy dance, clubs, theatres or one of the many other recreational venues.
- Rigside – A working-class city, Rigside was built on the back of a steel and shipbuilding industry that still exists today. Despite not being the prettiest city in the world, you will be hard pressed to find a more down-to-earth, sports-mad city that can leave you wanting more and not knowing why!
- Sandwick – A modern metropolis that’s extremely hectic and busy. Boasting a great night life with an awesome hustle and bustle on weekends, located in-between a few modern skyscrapers that are interspersed amongst older, historical buildings.
- Arbroath Cape – Great place for whale watching with a large lighthouse nearby providing great photo opportunities.
- Macduff Mountain – One of three active volcanoes with lava flows near Giffnock.
- Kersemill – The Great East and Fenn Rivers merge to form spectacular currents that carve right through the town. Don’t miss the Rubber Duck Race in July; a weekend party atmosphere where people celebrate ducks!
- Small Pond National Park – The first national park in the country is situated near Westfield. Great hikes ranging for beginner trails to expert climbs that showcase awesome valleys and vistas.
- The Teal Hollow – A series of caves on the coastline from old lava flows near Southerness.
As an island nation, arriving by either plane or boat is the only way to get to Albaland. Citizens of other Southern Union nations may stay for up to six months, but can stay longer if seeking employment under the 684 Visa Program.
For travellers under the Visa Waiver Program, the entry period is strictly limited to 90 days. The countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program are Andorra, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Brunei, Chile, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan and the United Kingdom.
For travellers of other nations, you need to apply for a visa at your nearest Albaland Embassy or online at albaland.gov.an. You will be required to fill out a criminal history declaration and may be asked for some medical records if you are over the age of 65. The visa will grant you entry to the country for a maximum of 45 days.
Albaland has tight rules surrounding livestock and the control of infectious diseases. You will be asked by a customs official upon arriving in the country if you have visited a rural area or been in contact with, or near farm animals outside of Albaland in the previous 30 days. It pays to be honest in this situation and when in doubt, declare your history. If your bag gets searched or tested and mud, or traces of ‘farm like’ flora/fauna is found, you could receive a fine of up to US$500.
For most international visitors, they will be arriving via Sandwick International Airport, which receives flights from all over the world, including major hubs such as Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, London Heathrow, Dubai International Airport, and Tokyo Haneda Airport. Donibristle’s Elden Fort Airport serves international flights within the Southern Union only, whilst Rigside Collins Airport serves flights to and from Australia, Ianoia and New Zealand only.
No international airport within Albaland is connected to the AlbaRail train network, meaning travellers will need to catch a connecting bus or tram if they intend on continuing onward to other cities or locations upon arrival.
Albaland is connected to Ianoia at Warnborough, Novainsula to Alnwick, Zuidgelders to Griendtsveen and Koana Islands to Stondon by regular ferries. Cruise liners such as P&O make stops at Oxenfoord, Strathmiglo, Portgordon and Douglastown depending on the time of year, but usually in the warmer months of November to March.
Despite the comparatively small size of Albaland, the country has many options to traverse it’s hilly terrain. Urban transport and travel between major and minor towns and cities is effectively provided by public transportation (primarily train). However, if you plan to tour the country, a car allows you to access more remote areas with poor or no public transportation, particularly if you plan to visit the interior mountain range. Hire cars are easily available from international companies in towns and cities.
Flying from one city to the next is a practical – albeit slightly expensive – way to get from one side of the island to the other quickly. Virgin Star flies daily domestic flights between most major cities, including: Donibristle, Douglastown, Kirkcolm, Kirkpatrick, Oxenfoord, Rigside and Sandwick. It’s important to know that Douglastown’s airport is actually situated outside a small town known as Kelton and is a 45 minute bus or car ride to the city.
AlbaRail is the only passenger railway company, with the vast majority of services starting from Sandwick. Passenger rail service in Albaland, although very safe and comfortable, is often an expensive and inconvenient alternative to flying. Whilst great strides have been taken to speed up the services and frequency in recent years, the network is plagued by poor reliability and some services deviate a hundred kilometres or more out of their way to service another destination first. What you lose in time, you more than make up for with some spectacular views of valleys and peaks when cutting through the centre of Albaland’s mountain range.
Although sometimes quicker than the equivalent rail service, buses are usually slower and less comfortable, but are by far the cheapest way of getting around. Megabus and CityTour have extensive networks, operating dozens of routes to all cities and most major rural towns. In some smaller towns the CityTour buses double as the only local bus service. If you have lots of luggage and are going from one major city to the another, you’d be best to travel with Megabus, which provides Wi-Fi and generally makes less stops along the way.
In Albaland, a car enables you to reach almost any part of the country. It is also the best way to take in the spectacular scenery of mountainous, rural and coastal areas. However, although Albaland is not a huge country, car travel can take significantly longer than you may expect. The mountainous terrain means that crossing from the north to south usually involves taking circuitous routes. Much like the UK, Ianoia and Australia, traffic drives on the left.
With the exception of the Ring Motorway and Highway 6 (sometimes known as “6 less” by locals as the trip cuts 6 hours off travel time), road conditions in Albaland are sometimes below Southern Union standards. Beware of defects such as potholes, ruts, cracks and patches in both urban and rural roads (but not motorways or dual carriageways which are maintained to a higher standard by the Albaland Government).
Due to the Ring Motorway circling the entire country and passing through nearly every major city and town, traffic can become very congested, especially during holidays and weekends so give yourself extra time or avoid the highways altogether.
English is the official language spoken throughout the whole country and Albans generally have rather poor foreign language ability, although those in tourism-related industries generally have better language skills. French, German and Spanish are the most commonly known foreign languages. All road signs are in English.
- Motorcycling – Albaland has some of the best motorcycle touring roads in the world, although you’ll need good weather to get the most out of them. With decent surfaces, little traffic outside of the main conurbations and welcoming cafes makes touring a real pleasure. It is also possible to hire a motorcycle.
- Baseball is easily the most popular spectator sport in Albaland. That said, most teams rarely play to full houses, even in the Albaland Premier League, therefore if you are in Albaland between mid-April and mid-October you should be able to obtain tickets for a game.
- Whiskay Tour – Many of Albaland’s distilleries welcome visitors and many have guided tours.
- Hire a campervan and hit the open road for a memorable adventure, holiday or escape. Enjoy the wilderness of the outdoors and wild camping in complete comfort.
- Some big cruise lines offer cruises just around Albaland. Gem Tours offers cruises on smaller vessels around the island with different itineraries that can tour for a few days to up to two weeks.
Albaland currency is called Albaland Silver and uses the section symbol (“§”); the subunit of a Silver is the penny which uses a lower-case “p”.
More often than not you will hear Silvers being shortened to Silvs, for example “That’ll be five Silvs, thirty” to mean §5.30. This is especially prominent outside of tourist areas.
You can get §1, §2 and §3 coins in silver, as well as 5p, 10p, 25p, and 50p in nickel and copper. There are also §5, §10, §20, §50 and §100 that vary in size for visibility impaired people.
There are a couple of “must buy” souvenirs from Albaland, with the classic being items of clothing made from Melton. Melton cloth is traditionally made of wool and is woven in a twill form. It is thick, due to having been well fulled, which gives it a felt-like smooth surface. It is napped and very closely sheared meaning it gives a quasi-felted texture and frays minimally or not at all.
For the visitor looking for something more stylish, women should look at buying a Petal Dress, made famous by former President Archie Dunn’s wife Gabriella in the 1920s. The dress covers the shoulders halfway and flows down into a stylish cowl neckline. It’s a tight fit around the waist, and the sleeves broaden towards the bottom. An authentic Petal Dress can set you back nearly US$1000.
For the drinker you can’t ignore Whiskay, an infused whiskey with citrus flavours from the abundant lime and citrus farms. Lately, sweet infused whiskays such as cookie dough and chocolate orange has really taken off. Beware of souvenir shops selling small bottles of whiskay for inflated prices – you can more often than not find the same bottle in a supermarket (or in airport duty-free) much cheaper!
Cost of Living
Most visitors are disappointed by the high cost of living in Albaland. Although prices in Albaland are not as bad as in other parts of the Southern Union (compared to the USA or most other parts of Europe), basic living expenses are still high. Most goods have an additional 25% Upgrade Tax (UT) applied although this is always included in the marked price for general consumer purchases. Petrol (gasoline) has a massive 70% excise tax and 20% UT on top of that.
You can’t visit Albaland and not have a slice of the famous Whyte Cheesecake, sometimes called Arduaine Cake. The cake uses lime jelly crystals and lime juice mixed with cream cheese and evaporated milk which are mixed together and poured on top of a biscuit base.
A Christmas tradition in Albaland, the Whyte Cheesecake became popular amongst the public in 1844 when Fletcher Whyte – a local baker – sold the cheesecake to the Arduaine public at Christmas time. Whilst you can find the cheesecake available in nearly all cafes and supermarkets nowadays, it is still tradition for guests to bring a Arduaine Cake on Christmas Day. Be mindful of cheap imitations!
Earthquakes and Volcanic eruptions are by far the most common natural hazard encountered in Albaland.
Sitting astride a tectonic plate boundary, the nation experiences large numbers (about 17,000 a year) of small earthquakes every year, a few (about 200 a year) are noticeable, and the occasional one causes damage and sometimes loss of life.
Albaland has a number of volcanoes that are classified as active or dormant. Although volcanic eruptions can be a beautiful sight it can also be deadly as it will release hot lava temps of 1,000 degrees Celsius or more and will also release toxic gases such as sulphur dioxide. Any major volcanic activity is immediately reported on television and radio stations throughout the country.
There are almost no poisonous or substantially dangerous animals. Spiders and snakes can be found in the forests, but are unlikely to cause more than a skin irritation if you are bitten.
Albaland’s weather is highly changeable, but rarely extreme. Due to the mountain range running through the centre, the weather can change swiftly and frequently even in Summer. What started as a bright morning can end as a very wet, very windy and very cold afternoon. Packing extra warm and rainproof clothing is advisable, whatever the time of year.
In any emergency call 123. All such calls are free and will be answered by an emergency services operator who will ask you which services you need (police, fire, ambulance, coastguard or mountain and cave rescue) and for your location. Be as precise as possible, and don’t forget to say the town or city, as the operator may be based remotely.
Albaland is generally a very safe country to visit. Like Ianoia, violent crime is a problem in some inner city areas, however, much of it occurs amongst hooligan-type, normally unarmed gangs, thus violent crime against tourists is rare. Petty crimes such as thefts and pickpocketing are lower than many European countries, but vigilance at all times is required, especially in crowded areas. Crime rates vary greatly from urban to rural areas. You should approach clubs and bars at night with caution, especially around closing time when drink fuelled violence occurs, the best thing to do is use common sense and avoid any fighting. The same advice extends to using public transport – especially buses and trams – after dark.
Homosexuality and being transgender is legal in Albaland but Gay marriage is not. While most parts of Albaland are incredibly LGBT-friendly, people in other areas such as the west near Douglastown and St. Michael’s are far more conservative and are likely to see homosexuality as a sin. Discrimination against LGBT sometimes occurs. While violence is rare, for your safety be discreet in these areas. Be especially careful if visiting places like pubs or stores in rural towns, too. Areas such as resorts and high-end hotels are almost all LGBT-friendly, but always check first.
Albans are courteous in general, although relatively distant, and are not easily offended. In general they are a very warm, sociable and forgiving people. However, Albans can be considered quite conservative in their views around Gay marriage, transgender rights, abortion and euthanasia. If you want to avoid getting into a long debate, it is best to steer clear of these topics. However, as in many other countries, it is best to avoid sensitive topics such as politics, as some locals will be very offended and you might get dirty looks or comments.
Referring to Alban people as Ianoian or even Scottish is incorrect, and will cause annoyance. Some light-hearted anti-Ianoia banter is common, as is a division between East and West Albaland. In addition, the relationship between Albaland and Ianoia is long, complex and sometimes controversial, so treading lightly in relation to this history is advised. However, visitors to Albaland are widely welcomed and are unlikely to face any issues if they approach their visit in a friendly spirit.
One thing worth noticing is that Albans value privacy a lot, probably more than any other country. When meeting with them for the first few times, avoid asking personal questions such as age and marital status.
It is wise to refrain from criticising any sports teams and wearing rival jerseys as it could lead to some confrontations depending on where you go. Wearing a rival baseball team jersey in a pub for instance, could lead to violence, especially on derby days.