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Published: March 23rd 2016
Shkodra is a city and municipality in northwestern Albania and the seat of the county with the same name. It is one of the oldest and most historic places in Albania, as well as an important cultural and economic centre. Its importance is heightened by the Lake of Skadar to the west of the city, the largest in the Western Balkans, that straddles Albania and neighbouring Montenegro.
As I already mentioned in my previous entry, I spent some time in city centre trying to figure out their traffic rules. I gave up eventually and walked to find a hostel for few nights.
Hostel was located near city centre (20 minutes walk) which made it great place to stay. There were only 3 other people staying there when I arrived and because the weather was not good I spent evening chatting with those folks. Initially, I planned to stay in Shokdra for two nights but due to weather and other circumstances I ended up staying for four nights.
As weather forecast promised, it was raining all day next day, with some amazing thunderstorms. But I walked out to explore surrounding area anyway. Local people had their market stalls up
and running even in that bad weather and the area did look nothing like any other cities in Europe I have visited before. It looked messy but they somehow controlled that chaos. During my walk I bought some fruits and vegetable for dinner, and I have to tell you, Albania is the cheapest country in Europe I had a chance to visit. Everything is fresh and so tasty. For example, one kilogram of oranges was less than 30 pence. And I got onions and leeks for free. It was that cheap. I have returned to hostel and agreed with guy from Colorado (Nicholas), who worked there as a volunteer, that we'll prepare dinner for everyone. Whilst cooking we kept talking about reasons of our traveling and he told me he's working on some educational project and asked me if I'd be willing to participate in it. It supposed to be a video-recorded interview where he'll ask few questions about traveling. I obviously agreed. Why the heck not?! He told me about the questions and told me to think about them and that we'll do the interview in next few days. Deal done.
Later that day, the owner of the
hostel (Florian) arrived and we had a dinner together. After dinner I spent time to plan something for next day as the weather should finally get better.
After breakfast I head out to explore the city on my own. The weather was really pleasant so I basically spent whole day out strolling the streets of Shkodra. The city is full of contrast. You can find futuristic new buildings next to historic buildings what didn't create very nice picture overall. In late afternoon I realised I'm hungry so I tried local burger. Nothing similar to the burger we know from western Europe. It was a roll filled with vegetable, some thin slice of meat, fries and ketchup with mayonnaise. It was different but nice and with the price less then 50 pence, I couldn't complain.
That day I saw my first bunker in Albania. And since that moment I saw them everywhere. There was over 700000 bunkers build during leadership of Enver Hoxha. One for every four inhabitants. They were never used for their purpose. To build them cost Albania lots of resources which could be used elsewhere. But really, they are everywhere, from mountain passes to city streets.
Next day before noon I was interviewd by Nicholas (I felt important...hahahahaha) and then we took bikes and head to Messi bridge and to the castle.
My next stop was Tirana and somewhere I read that to take a train from Shkodra is really nice experience with beautiful scenery. There's only one train a day which leaves Shkodra at 5:45am and that was the reason I had to stay one more night. But it turned out that Nicholas is leaving Shkodra the same day so he decided to take the same train. We got some tips from Florian. Better don't sit next to the window as trains are frequently a target for kids who throw stones at it (such a great game). With all the helpful information we went to bed.
We got up just before 5am had a breakfast and took off for train station. And because it was February and sunrise was around 7am we missed the beautiful scenery but we were not hit by stone either so it was a good trip. And also very cheap, for 3 hours journey we paid 140 lek (£0.80) each.
Because Tirana doesn't have a train
station (fun fact) we were dropped in Vorë and from there we took the bus to the capital of Albania.
Coming next: Tirana
Shkodra je krajske mesto leziace na severozapade Albanska. Je to jedno z najstarsich miest Albanska a taktiez kulturne a ekonomicke centrum. Jeho dolezitost vyzdvyhuje aj jazero Skadar, ktore je najvacsim jazerom zapadneho Balkanu, a ktore tvori prirodnu hranicu medzi Albanskom a Ciernou Horou.
Ako som spominal v predoslom vstupe, ked som dorazil do centra, chvilku som sa snazil pochopit pravidla cestnej premavky, ale radsej som to vzdal a pobral som sa najst hostel.
Hostel sa nachadzal 20 minut chodze od centra v pokojnej stvrti. Bolo v nom ubytovanych dalsich par cestovatelov. Kedze pocasie bolo pod psa, nesiel som spat do centra ale ostal som na hosteli a stravil vecer debatovanim s ludmi. Moj plan bol ostat v Shkodre dve noci ale pocasie a ine okolnosti ma prinutili ostat tam az styri noci.
Na dalsi den taktiez prsalo, ale ja som sa aj tak vybral trochu sa poobzerat po okoli. Aj napriek nepriazni pocasia, ludia mali svoje stanky pootvarane. Ovocie a zelenina, vsetko cerstve
a velmi chutne a najlepsie na tom vsetkom bolo, ze to bolo vsetko velmi lacne. Za kilo cerstvych pomarancov som zaplatil menej ako 30 penci. A cibulu a por som dostal zadarmo. Ked som sa vratil do hostela, dohodol som sa s chalanom z Colorada (Nicholas), ze spolocne pripravime veceru pre vsetkych. On uvaril cestovinu a ja som udusil zeleninu. Vsetko sme to zmiesali a pridali paradajkovu omacku. Desat porcii nas dokopy stalo 3 libry. Pocas varenia sme s Nicholasom debatovali o dovodoch nasho cestovania a on spomenul, ze pracuje na nejakom projekte a opytal sa ma ci by som bol ochotny vystupit pred kamerou a nakrutit s nim video, v ktorom by sa ma opytal par otazok na temu cestovania. Ja som samozrejme suhlasil. Povedal mi otazky, ktore sa ma bude pytat a povedal, ze ked si premyslim odpovede, tak to vsetko natocime. Na veceru sa k nam pridal aj majitel hostela (Florian).
Po veceri som chvilku studoval a pripravoval som si plan na dalsi den, kedze pocasie sa konecne malo umudrit.
Na druhy den, po ranajkach som sa vybral preskumat mesto. Pocasi bolo naozaj velmi prijemne a tak som cely den stravil v uliciach Shkodry. Toto
mesto je plne kontrastov. Moderne budovy stojace hned vedla historickych budov, podla mojho nazoru, kazili celkovy dojem. Neskor popoludni som si spomenul, ze som od rana nic nejedol a tak som si kupil miestny hamburger. A poviem vam, ze to bol uplne iny hamburger ako tie, na ktore sme zvyknuti. Bol to v podstate rozok naplneny hranolkami, tenkym platkom volajakeho masa, salatom a zaliaty kecupom a majonezou. Aj napriek tomu, ze vyzeral divoko, bol naozaj velmi chutny. A ani na cenu som sa nemohol stazovat. Stal necelych 50 penci.
V ten den som videl prvy z mnozstva bunkrov v Albansku. Od tej doby som ich zacal vidat na kazdom kroku. Pocas vlady diktatora Envera Hoxhu bolo vybudovanych vyse 700000 tychto bunkrov. Jeden bunker na styroch obyvatelov Albanska. Tieto bunkre nikdy neboli vyuzite na svoj ucel. Albansko to stalo mnoho prostriedkov, ktore mohli byt vyuzite tam, kde boli naozaj potrebne. Teraz mate moznost najst tieto bunkre naozaj vsade, ci uz v horach alebo v uliciach miest.
Na dalsi den pred obedom sme s Nicholasom natocili video, na ktorom sme sa dohodli (citil som sa velmi dolezito pred kamerou...hahahahaha). Potom sme schmatli bicykle a vybrali sa k mostu Messi a
Mojou dalsiou zastavkou v Albansku bola Tirana a niekde som vycital, ze sa oplati cestovat zo Shkodry do Tirany vlakom, kvoli nadhernej scenerii. Na tejto trase premava iba jeden vlak denne a odchadza rano o 5:45, preto som musel ostat v Shkodre este jednu noc. Ale nakoniec mi to vyhovovalo, kedze Nicholas tiez odchadzal a tak sme sa dohodli, ze pojdeme vlakom spolu. Florian nam dal cennu radu: Nesedte pri okne, pretoze vlaky su casto tercom deti, ktore ho ohadzuju kamenmi (naozaj uzasna hra).
Rano sme vstavali pred piatou, dali sme si ranajky a pobrali sme sa na stanicu. Tesili sme sa na nadhernu sceneriu, ale kedze bol Februar, a slnko vyslo okolo siedmej, nevideli sme toho az tak vela, ale ani sme neboli ohadzovani kamenmi, takze to bol v podstate vydareny vylet. A cena za listok bola tiez v poriadku. Trojhodinova cesta nas stala 140 lek (£0.80).
Kedze Tirana nema zeleznicnu stanicu (velmi zaujimave), vystupili sme v meste Vorë odkial sme vzali autobus do hlavneho mesta Albanska.
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