What a difference a good night’s sleep can make! We woke to bright sunshine on a sparkling Ionian Sea. What a shame yesterday hadn’t been as fine and sunny as we had come down that mountainside from the fog as we might have had a different impression of the scenery that the guidebooks had raved off.However, it looked like at least today we will see the better side of what the views of the coast in the vicinity of Sarande has to offer.
The apartment we have is quite spacious with a separate bedroom, bathroom with HOT water!(we both had l o n g showers this morning) And a well equipped kitchen opening out to a small terrace from where we get a peak, between a couple of finished but not furnished apartment blocks of the sea and Corfu in the distance.
Our hosts bought us a strong coffee in the tiny cups that are prevalent in this part of the world and then we prepared ourselves a full breakfast including poached eggs on toast.
There was nothing of historical note to search out in Sarande but we took a walk to the town anyway, about 2 kilometres
As we ambled along the road towards the town we lost count of the number of tourist apartment blocks that were still under construction, many of them sitting either as concrete shells or in some cases closed in but clearly not finished internally. Someone is certainly investing heavily in this area for the future.
Down on the promenade we walked all the way to where it ended and then took a turn onto a beach road that ran adjacent and where there was a market for fruit and vege vendors. We brought oranges from one guy and then Gretchen spotted a woman selling beans. We only needed a handful and at one point the vendor woman was going to give them to her for free but then saw she had some money in her hand so gave her a few more and took €0.50 from her. It still seemed a fair deal.
There was nothing particular to take our interest in the narrow streets where the shopping area was and we returned to the promenade and started on our way home.
It was lunchtime so we stopped in at a takeaway bar and ordered up
a burger and fries and for Gretchen a gyros (a Greek style wrap with chips, sliced meat, lettuce etc and very tasty).To go with it we asked what he could do by way of a beer and he produced a 500ml tankard from the freezer covered in ice and said ‘€2 for a local beer of this size’. With the afternoon warming up two of those would do us very nicely. So we sat for half an hour and did some people watching and gazed out at the very blue sea and Corfu in the distance thinking that if this wasn’t Albania then perhaps it might not be a bad place live.
The trek back along the road amongst all the partly completed buildings was uneventful until we were about half way home when we heard the honking of car horns and the yells of teenagers in an exuberant mood. Then, into sight, coming from the direction of the town, was a line of cars with a black ‘boy racer’ type vehicle leading the way ‘fish tailing ‘as it came around a corner towards us. Thankfully we had the small protection of the footpath as the driver roared past
us giving the impression he didn’t have a lot of control of the car.
Following him about any 15 to 20 cars went by at a bit more of a sedate pace principally only because they were closer together and they had young women hanging out of the passenger windows in a very daredevil fashion. Most of the teenagers had white t-shirts on with what looked like signatures scrawled on them and we deduced that it must have been the breakup of secondary school today and this was the way teenagers in Southern Albania at least celebrate the start of the summer holidays. We were thankful our daughters never got up to such hi jinks on the last day of school....or did they and we never got to know about it??!!
Perhaps the teenagers were lucky that the police we have seen on the main roads hauling drivers over for inspection don’t seem to bother about policing the streets in the towns.
With our last night in Albania ahead of us we enjoyed a couple of beers before dinner and watched the sun sink in the west.
Looking back at our short time in this emerging
country we have still not quite worked it out with the large number of new houses along the road we travelled from the Montenegro border and around Durres to the expanding commercial businesses on the road into Tirana to the ‘third world’ state of the ‘tracks’ that pass for suburban streets it is hard to say just when Albania will catch up with the rest of Europe. It will remain an enigma to us as we leave for Greece tomorrow.
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