Blogs from Shkodër, North, Albania, Europe

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Europe » Albania » North » Shkodër September 16th 2018

I start the day with a run round Tirana lake; an artificial lake in the heart of the city with a footpath round it. The receptionist explains it is easy to reach, just over the hill at the end of the road. The hill isn’t very big but it’s steep and there doesn’t appear to be a path so I scrabble up the bank into the park. It’s a lovely scenic run with the lake in the middle and a backdrop of mountains. The lake looks like the designer used a paint splatter as a template, so even though it doesn’t seem to that big, a run round the edges is 6 km (it would make a great parkrun). Just before I finish my loop, I find the exit, which has steps and a ramp. My ... read more
Durrës
War memorial Durrës
War memorial Durrës

Europe » Albania » North » Shkodër June 24th 2018

Any preconceptions we had of Tirana – grey, totalitarian, unfriendly - are blown away within minutes of arrival. Everyone is friendly, greeting us with a smile. The old buildings may have been grey once but they are now painted in primary colours. The once-grey central square is in the process of being “greened” with mature trees. The World Cup has just started so the main square is the Fan Zone with a giant screen, fairground rides and food and drink stalls. This is not the Albania we had imagined. A walk around the capital city takes in mosques, the cathedral, bridges, public buildings, museums, cafes and parks. Some are old, usually renovated, and some are new, all glass and concrete. Everything seems to have happened in the last 20 years. The 20 years since communism lost ... read more
Thethi
Local
Climbing to Valbona pass

Europe » Albania » North » Shkodër August 14th 2016

Albania was not on my bucket list, it was more an extra now while traveling from Kosovo to Montenegro. At the customs the checks went smoothly. Albania was covered by the insurance of our car, so no additional insurance needed at the border. We continued toward the direction of Kukes. A place which was on the news during the Kosovo War in 1999. Those days many refugees fled to this city from Kosovo and because of the mountainous area and no proper infrastructure it was a huge operation to support these refugees. Luckily today there are no conflicts in this area and at least a motorway has been built across these mountains. To reach the west side of Albania took us 1 hour and 20 minutes driving with nice mountains view. (it used to be 9 ... read more
Shkoder
Border between Kosovo and Albania
The new motorway

Europe » Albania » North » Shkodër July 26th 2016

For me, Albania is a country of intrigue. A rare majority-Muslim country on European soil and with a language that looks a bit like Turkish - and a language where I can literally recognise nothing - its culture alone promised to make it very different from anything else I had seen in Europe to date. Which is why Albania was the country I was most interested and excited about visiting on this particular leg of my journey. It isn't really on the tourist radar either - I don't think I have ever had a friend or colleague come back from vacation telling me about their amazing holiday in Albania. Rolling into Shkoder exhausted from the all-night party I pulled the night before back in Montenegro and with the Austrians Frido and Simon that I had met ... read more
Valbona
Lake Koman
View From The Cafe

Europe » Albania » North » Shkodër June 2nd 2016

Donderdag 2/06/16 – Shkodër Dagexcursie met tourbus en plaatselijke gids. Eerst bezoek aan de kathedraal van Shkodër. Onder het regime van Hoxha werd het gebouw gebruikt als sportcomplex, tot het bij de val van het communisme door paus Johannes Paulus en Moeder Theresa terug werd ingewijd als RK kathedraal. Die 2 zijn hier blijkbaar zeer populair. Nochthans om de km vind je een Moskee en Orthodoxe kerken zijn ook overal zichtbaar. Geen hoofddoekjes te zien. Fanatiek zijn ze hier dus blijkbaar niet. Dan nog een klim naar de Rozafa-citadel. Eigenlijk een uitgestrekte middeleeuwse vesting op een hoge rotsheuvel aan de samenvloeiing van 3 rivieren. Dan verder naar de stad Lezhe, op bezoek naar het mausoleum van Skanderbeg. Deze man wordt hier vereerd als nationale held om in de 15e eeuw getracht te hebben om de Turken ... read more
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Europe » Albania » North » Shkodër June 1st 2016

Woensdag 1/06/16 – Shkodër MH blijft geparkeerd. Dagexcursie met toerbus naar het meer van Komani. Langs de Drinit, de belangrijkste rivier van Albanë, op een bergweg met nauwelijks iets wat op een wegbedekking lijkt, kronkelden we 2.30u tot aan een afdamming in Koman. Daar stopt de weg, en wachtte ons een bootje waar stoelen in de middengang werden bijgezet om ons allemaal van een zitplaatst te voorzien, tot de volgende afdamming in Fierze. Deze strook noemt men Lake Komani. Ik schat zo een 40km kronkelend meer tussen hoge rotsen in een berggebied dat op Noorse fjorden lijkt. Op het einde in Fierze wachtte ons een middaglunch met typische streekproducten. Raki en Turkse koffie inkluis. Familiebedrijf van bootexcursie en restauratie. Primitief maar uiterst vriendelijk. Zelfde weg terug. Kon ook niet anders. Spijtig viel het weer wat tegen, ... read more
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Europe » Albania » North » Shkodër May 31st 2016

Dinsdag 31 mei – Shkodër (Albanië) – 54km Voor de een of andere reden werd er besloten om om 08:00u in colonne te vertrekken naar de Albanese grens. Na een uur en 28km stonden we dan aan te schuiven aan de grens. Owee de anderen die deze colonne (+- 1km lang) toch wilden voorbij steken. Hopelijk goed voor 1 keer dus. Een voor een verdween er een douanier met onze papieren naar een kantoortje, en dan ja we mochten binnen. Dan volgde bijna onmiddellijk een kultuurschok. Bedelende gitanes zorgden al juist voorbij de grens voor hun broodwinning. Driewielbrommers met de hele familie in de laadbak. Karren met ezels en kleine paardjes. En vooral fietsen. Oude knarren. Dan moesten we nog door de stad Shkodër. Verkeer komt van overal. Bij ronde punten geen idee wie voorrang laat. ... read more
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Europe » Albania » North » Shkodër February 29th 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 ... read more
The statue of Isa Boletini - Albanian nationalist
Ebu Beker mosque
Orthodox church

Europe » Albania » North » Shkodër September 11th 2015

Here I am, with another tale of two cities, or better - 2 countries. Contrary to the suggestion of the Montenegrin coast-dwellers, I have adventured myself inland to Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro. From there I left to the country's eastern neighbor, the Republic of Albania, where I stranded in the westernmost city Shkodër. Leaving the Mediterranean coastline of Montenegro behind, I took a 2 hour bus inland to the capital... This is also when I left my Montenegrin friend behind and started the lonely part of my trip. Shortly referring to the title of this entry, I want to talk about a concept I noticed in this stage of travel and on how this particular feeling makes my travels worth it. What I am talking about are the transits, the shifts, the slow going. What ... read more
Shkodër
Shkodër
Shkodër

Europe » Albania » North » Shkodër July 6th 2014

Geo: 42.07, 19.51 GÜN 67 GÜNLERDEN PAZAR: Muhteşem bir uyku çekmişiz .. İkimizin de keyfi yerinde.. Nefis bir kahvaltının üzerine, otelin bahçesinde enfes güllere bakarak, bir Türk kahvesi patlattık . Burada da Türk kahvesi ısmarlamak mümkün..Hatta kahvesini biraz torpilli koy deyince anlıyorlar. Kendimizi bakıma aldık ..günlerin yorgunluğunu atmaya çalışıyoruz.. Öğlen sadece çorba ile yetindik .. Limonlu çorbayı şahane yapıyorlar .. Midenin tüm yorgunluğunu alıyor vallaha.. Odamıza dönüp tam bir off günü yaşıyoruz.. TV de Kenan İmirzalioğlu'nun bilmediğimiz bir dizisi oynuyor .. Çocuk, muazzam Arnavutça konuşuyor .. Ne var ki, kadınlarda, erkek tarafından seslendiriliyor .. Biraz tuhaf oluyor ama alışıyorsunuz .. Hava sıcaklığının düşmesini bekledik ve tamamdır deyinc... read more
bir arnavut
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