Tirana - Albania

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March 3rd 2016
Published: March 31st 2016
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So here I was, in capital of not very well known country - Albania.

First of all I had to find a place with WiFi to let my host know I arrived and I'm ready to meet him. I have requested four nights and my request was accepted by a Chinese guy living in Tirana. Before I headed to the area where he lives I agreed with Nicholas that we'll meet later that day for a coffee. Then I walked to Blloku neighbourhood and found little cafeteria where I could use their WiFi and to have a coffee too (very much needed after only few hours of sleep). So I let my host know where he can find me and was waiting for his response. I was picked by Jing within an hour. We walked to his place where I was shown everything I needed to know. I was offered a pancake for breakfast (yummy). Jing is teaching Chinese in Tirana and he had to leave me for few hours so I decided to go out and explore the area before I meet Nicholas.

Tirana is very lively city and I was happy that I stayed right in the centre of the hippiest neighbourhood of the city. A walk to city center took around 15 minutes which was also very convenient. There's a lot of construction going on in Tirana and traffic is also pretty heavy. Constant honking of cars almost made my ears bleeding (mental). The city centre is really small but offers a number of places I wanted to see.

National history museum dominates the centre. It's a typical huge communist building located to the north of city centre. It's country's largest museum. That was the place where I supposed to meet Nicholas but I couldn't see him anywhere so I walked behind the museum where I shell find new tourist office and was hopping I could get a WiFi connection there. I found it shut but luckily Tirana International hotel located next to museum had a free WiFi so I could get in touch with Nicholas. It started to rain when we met but I was ready for it, I had my raincoat with me (shortly after I put it on I realized there is a hole in it, but still better than nothing). We walked around for a while as it was Nicholas' only day in Tirana. We visited mosque, famous Pyramid building and also wanted to visit national arts gallery but it was shut on that day so we continued walking north towards university. We found a little place where we sat and had couple of pints. We had really great time chatting and laughing so hard we couldn't breath. In the evening I texted Jing about the dinner and was told he'll wait for me in apartment so we can have dinner together. It was past 7pm and it was the time to say goodbye to Nicholas and to get back to Jing's place.

Jing turned out to be an amazing cook and the dinner he prepared was phenomenal. We ate and talked about everything. This guy had some unbelievable stories to tell from different parts of the world he had a chance to live in. Before I went to bed I managed to prepare a plan for next day.

The weather was much better in the morning and when Jing left for his teaching hours I went to explore the city. I walked for hours in the centre where I had a chance to see concrete bunkers and also a piece of Berlin wall, mosques, churches, museums and lots of other things. Then I headed towards the park with artificial lake and amphitheater. On my way out of park I noticed a path leading somewhere so I decided to follow it and see where it will get me. It took me to a place guarded by armed forces so I had to turn back and whilst walking back I met three guys who saluted me. I was so surprised that all I could do was to say Hi! I found my way out of the park and went to look for some food. Got a slice of pizza for 70 pence. Then I walked to a shop to buy something for dinner as I promised Jing I will cook that evening. We had rice and vegetables, which was nowhere near as delicious as Jing's food the previous night. And I cooked so much that I had the same food for breakfast next day and day after too. In the evening Jing asked me if it will be fine with me if I only stay for three nights as he has something he needed to attend to on Friday. Because I only had one more thing to do in Tirana I agreed.

My last thing for Tirana was to get up to mount Dajti which offers great views over Tirana city. There's a local bus which could get me up to a Austrian-build cable care from where I could get to the top of the mountain, but I decided to walk as I wanted to see some of beautifully painted buildings along the way. I didn't rush as I had all day to get there. I bought some supercheap oranges along the way. The weather was really nice but I had my jacket with me as I expected to be much colder on the top of the mountain. It took me around hour and half to get to cable car. I bought a return ticket for 800 LEK (£4.50) and jumped into a cable car. It's the longest cable way in Balkans and it takes around 15 minutes to get to the top. You can admire the scenery from the car and also spot some of many bunkers I have mentioned in my previous entry. It was drizzling at the top so after I made few pictures I headed into a cafeteria for a overpriced coffee (£1). I was the only guest there so I could chose the best spot to sit and to admire the views. There's plenty opportunities for hiking in there but it wasn't a season yet. There's also a military zone up on the mountain and of course many of bunkers 😊

That evening Jing cooked again and we had a late dinner together. Next day I supposed to leave for a coastal town of Durres but I changed my plan and decided to get the bus to Berat instead.

Next day I thanked Jing and took off for a bus station for a bus to Berat. I stopped at the tourist office to ask where exactly the bus station is as Tirana has few bus stations in suburb areas from where you can catch buses outside of town but also public buses into a centre. Once I got the right info I walked to a bus station. When I got to the place advised by lady from tourist office I was surprised as the place was full of cars but no buses. So I asked a local gentleman when my bus is
leaving, to my surprise I was told that this is not a right place and that this is not serving as a bus station for years (thank you lady from tourist information office). The correct place was so far away that I decided to take a bus to get there. And that place finally looked like a station. Firstly you are welcomed by taxi drivers who would take you wherever you'd like, shouting one over another but if you manage to get through them you are on the right spot. I think I was lucky as I found a bus to Berat pretty quickly and we departed within few minutes.

Coming next: Berat

Slovenska verzia

Tak a som tu, v hlavnom meste malo znamej krajiny - Albansko.
Prve co som musel spravit, bolo najst miesto, kde by som sa mohol pripojit na internet aby som mohol dat mojmu hostitelovi vediet, ze som dorazil a mozme sa stretnut. Poziadal som o miesto na spanie na styri noci a moja ziadost bola prijata chlapcom z Ciny (volal sa Jing), zijucim v Tirane. Pred tym, ako som sa vybral do stvrte, kde byval, dohodol som sa s Nicholasom,
ze sa este v ten den stretneme niekde na kave. Po dohode som sa vybral do stvrte zvanej Blloku kde som sa usadil na terase kaviarne s volnym pristupom k WiFi. Poslal som Jingovi spravu a cakal na odpoved pri kave, ktora mi padla vhod, kedze som toho vela nenaspal. Jing ma do hodiny vyzdvihol a vzal do apartmanu, kde mi vsetko poukazoval. Jing sa zivi ako ucitel cinskeho jazyka a kedze potreboval ist na hodinu, nechal ma na par hodin sameho. Vybral som sa teda poobzerat sa po okoli a potom na stretnutie s Nicholasom.
Tirana je velmi zive mesto a ja som mal stastie, ze som mohol byvat v jej najzivsej stvrti. Cesta do centra trvala priblizne 15 minut, co mi tiez vyhovovalo. Vsade naokolo prebiehali stavebne prace a premavka bolo nesmierne husta. Neustale trubenie aut bolo naozaj strasne. Centrum mesta je sice male ale ponuka viacero miest, ktore som mal v plane navstivit.
Budova narodneho muzea historie dominuje centru mesta. Je to obrovska budova z cias komunizmu, ktora sa nachadza v severnej casti centra. Je to najvacsie muzeum v celom Albansku. Bolo to miesto, kde som sa mal stretnut s Nicholasom, ale kedze som ho nikde nemohol najst, musel som najst miesto s WiFi odkial by som mu mohol poslat spravu. Zasiel som za budovu muzea, kde sa nachadzalo turisticke centrum. Mal som ale smolu, kedze centrum bolo zavrete. Nastastie hotel International, hned vedla muzea mal dostatocne silny signal a tak som sa mohol kludne pripojit. Ked sme sa konecne nasli, zacalo prsat. Ja som bol ale pripraveny. Mal som so sebou prsiplast (po chvili som zistil, ze je v nom diera, ale vzdy lepsie ako nic). Chvilu sme obchadzali centrum, kedze to bol jediny den v Tirane pre Nicholasa. Navstivili sme mesitu, budovu zvanu Piramida, a chceli sme sa pozriet aj do galerie, ale kedze bola zatvorena pokracovali sme smerom na sever smerom k univerzite. Tam sme nasli miesto, kde sme si dali par piv. Stravili sme tam naozaj skvely cas, rozpravali sme si prihody a smiali sa tak, ze sme az nemohli dychat. Neskor som poslal Jingovi spravu aby sme sa dohodli, co a ako s vecerou. Jing povedal, ze na mna pocka, a ze sa naveceriame spolocne, ked sa vratim. Kratko po siedmej sme sa Nicholasom rozlucili a ja som sa pobral domov.
Z Jinga sa vyklul naozaj skvely kuchar. Pocas vecere sme sa zhovarali na vsemozne temy a Jing mal naozaj neuveritelne prihody z roznych kutov sveta, kde mal moznost na chvilu zit. Pred spanim som si este pripravil plan na nasledujuci den a ulozil sa do pohodlneho gauca.
Pocasie na druhy den bolo omnoho lepsie ako den predtym a ked sa Jing pobral do skoly, ja som sa vybral do mesta. Stravil som hodiny potulovanim sa po uliciach, kde som mal moznost vidiet vsade pritomne bunkre, cast berlinskeho muru, kostoly, mesity, muzea a mnoho dalsich pamiatok. Z centra som sa potom vydal do parku s umelo vytvorenym jazerom, pri ktorom sa nachadzal amfiteater. Pri ceste z parku som zbadal chodnik ale nevedel som kam vedie a tak som sa po nom vydal. Chodnik ma zaviedol na miesto strazene ozbrojenymi vojakmi a tak som sa radsej spakoval. Stretol som troch panov v civile, ktori ked som kolo nich prechadzal, zasalutovali. Bol som z toho taky prekvapeny, ze jedine na co som sa zmohol, bolo povedat Ahoj! Ked som sa konecne dostal z parku, bol cas dat si nieco pod zub. Zastavil som sa pri stanku s pizzou a dal som si kusok za 70 penci. Potom, kedze ja som bol na rade s vecerou, som zasiel do ochodu na nakup. Mali sme ryzu so zeleninou (klasika). Ryza bola divna a tak vecera nebola az taka dobra ako vecer pretym, ked varil Jing. A kedze som uvaril starsne vela, mali sme jedlo na dalsie dva dni. Po veceri sa ma Jing opytal, ci by mi nevadilo ak by som ostal iba tri noci namiesto dohodnutych styroch, kedze mu nieco vyskocilo na piatok. Jedine, co som chcel este v Tirane zazit, bol vylet na vrchol hory Dajti, a tak som suhlasil.
Su dve moznosti ako sa na vrchol dostat. But vyuzit kabinkovu lanovku alebo peso. Ja som vyuzil prvu moznost. K lanovke sa da dostat autobusom ale ja som isiel peso, kedze som chcel vidiet pestrofarebne budovy, ktore sa nachadzaju roztrusene po celom meste. Pocasie bolo velmi prijemne a kedze som mal cely den, neponahlal som sa. Navstivil som trhovisko, kde som si kupil superlacne pomarance a pokracoval som v ceste. Trvalo mi asi hodinu a pol, kym som sa dotrepal k lanovke. Cesta hore a spat stala 800 LEK (£4.50). Je to najdlhsia lanova draha na Balkane a cesta hore trva priblizne 15 minut. Uz z kabinky je nadherny vyhlad na okolie. Na vrchole hory poprchalo a bolo tam podstatne chladnejsie ako v centre a tak som spravil par fotiek a vybral sa na predrazenu kavu. V kaviarni som bol sam a tak som si mohol vyhliadnut miesto s najlepsim vyhladom. V okoli sa nachadza mnoho turistickych chodnikov, ale kedze este nebola sezona, vela ludi tam nebolo. Na vrchole hory sa nachadza aj vojenska zona a mnozstvo betonovych bunkrov.
V ten vecer opat varil Jing a opat navaril vynikajuco. Na dalsi den som sa mal vybrat do mesta Durres leziaceho na pobrezi, ale rozhodol som sa ze radsej pojdem do mesta Berat, ktore mi odporucilo viacero ludi.
Na dalsi den som sa Jingovi za vsetko podakoval a pobral sa na stanicu. Cestou som sa zastavil v turistickom centre, aby som som sa opytal, odkial presne autobus odchadza, kedze Tirana ma viacero stanic. Po obdrzani vsetkych potrebnych informacii som vykrocil smer autobusova stanica. Ked som dosiel na miesto, ktore mi tetuska na informaciach ukazala na mape, zistil som, ze toto miesto uz roky nesluzi ako stanica (velmi pekne dakujem tetuska). Od miestneho pana som sa dozvedel, ze miesto odkial odchadza moj autobus je vzdialene 40 minut chodze od miesta kde som stal. Rozhodol som sa, ze sa tam zveziem busom. Ked som vystupil z busu, hned som vedel, ze som na spravnom mieste. Vitalo ma mnozstvo taxikarov, ktori prekrikovali, jeden druheho, len aby uputali moju pozornost. Sklopil som zrak a predral som sa pomadzi nich az k autobusom. A mal som dokonca stastie, kedze som hned nasiel moj autobus a o par minut sme uz aj vyrazali smer Berat.

Nabuduce: Berat


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