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Published: November 26th 2007
Amazingly we both got up when the alarm went off and we found ourselves sitting in Pasticeri Francaise. We both had freshly squeezed orange juice and a Pain Aux Raisin which was might impressive. It looked almost too good to eat and though very yummy I couldn't eat it all.
We began to walk to one of the many bus stations and during a picture stop we met a really friendly guy. He was from the town we were going to visit, Kruja. One thing I really like about Albania is that people assume you are American but when you tell them you're English they think it is fantastic. He walked with us down to the station where he went off to do something whilst we were left to try and find a bus going to Kruja. We kept on walking up to groups of minibus drivers and asking for Kruja and they kept on pointing us in the direction of yet another group of minibuses. We did get the correct bus eventually and we sat and enjoyed the scenery go past.
Kruja upper town is very small and there is very little there other than the castle. It
is in a very beautiful location with mountains surrounding the town in every direction. With it being off season, the walk up to the castle was quite uncomfortable due to the persistence of the traders. There isn't much left of the castle, just walls a tower and one hell of a magnificent view. We spent a while looking around and climbing every available wall or flight of steps. Rob got distracted by the chickens and played some game that seemed to consist of clucking at them and then chasing them. He ran out of chickens eventually and we began to walk back to the town. Two goats were in a tiny overgrown garden and we stopped to feed them. One jumped up into a derelict house next to the garden and then jumped out of the window onto the road beside us. The other one joined it and they trotted off down the road. We are both slightly worried that we aided their escape but there was very little we could have done to stop it.
In the town we enjoyed our first Albanian beer called Tirana on the roof of a bar watching the sun set over the
mountains. After, we ambled down to where the bus had dropped us off to return to Tirana. We waited for a while and attempted to ask a few people but they appeared to say it wasn't possible to get back. A group of minibus/taxi drivers accumulated around us and using many languages and dubious signing we figured out we had to get a minibus to the modern town of Kruja and then from there to Tirana.
In modern Kruja we waited for ages for a minibus to fill up because they leave when full and not on a schedule. Eventually we were told to join another minibus which turned out to be the same driver as coming. The bus was full and everyone was chatting and smiling. Occasionally we heard "Inglieski" and turned to find someone smiling at us. Once we neared Tirana the traffic got heavy and a power cut wasn't helping matters. The three men on the bus with us tried to explain something the bus driver wanted us to know. At first I thought they were saying it was too busy to drive and that we would have to walk the rest of the way which
we could not have managed. They were actually just letting us know we were going an alternative route which was down back roads and they didn't want us to worry. We're not sure that the route was any quicker but it was certainly more entertaining. I thought the roads around the border were a joke, these were much worse. We were thrown around so much and I really feared for the minibus. Worse still were the people riding bikes without any lights on in the middle of a power cut, we nearly killed most of them. We drove past so many cafes t by candle light which were packed with people. People were also walking around with flashlights and congregating around single lights. It was a pity we couldn't get off and walk around but it was lovely to drive through.
We nipped to an internet café so we could ring people from Skype, however the connection was terrible and it resulted in a rather amusing but pointless conversation with Rach.
La Tavernetta was our chosen Eatery for the evening which was a lovely restaurant but slightly marred by the lack of English menu. The waiter pointed out
a vegetarian option which was immensely dull but edible. Rob had some schnitzel thing which he was pleasantly Surprised with. After the meal we found a better internet café so I could ring Nina and wish her good luck and mum to let her know that I’m still alive. We have just dived under the covers and I’m sure we will shiver ourselves to sleep. Night night. Stob.
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