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Europe » Albania » West » Tirana December 14th 2018

We headed to our normal table for breakfast. We were the only guests, apart from another guy who bizarrely sat and ate with his backpack on. He was either very wary of being parted from his possessions or it was surgically attached to his back. The coffee man did his duty and we asked him to translate an article on our intended football match for the day. It transpired that the fading light of the game yesterday had prompted an earlier kick off in the absence of floodlights at KF Kamza. Despite the rather confusing internet article in an online sports newspaper entitled the "match with the forgotten organisation", we also ascertained that the game was to be played at the stadium in Kamza. We set off to see the sights of central Tirana. A few ... read more
Hotel Rogner, Tirana
Dajti Ekspres, Tirana
Pyramid, Tirana

Europe » Albania » West » Tirana December 8th 2018

"Travelling is living", wrote Hans Christian Andersen according to the WIzzair magazine. It all sounds so glamorous. I can assure you the M1 at 3:30 in the morning didn't feel glamorous. The rain lashed down, as we sped south. The overhead warning signs flashed. M1 Closed. Junction 15 to 14. A quick check on the web showed long red line between the 2 junctions, indicating a serious queue of traffic. In the absence of additional information, we assumed an accident in the roadworks. We cut off on a diversion to avoid missing our flight. The alternative route worked well, so we arrived our 2nd home - also known as the Mid Term Parking at Luton Airport - shortly after 4:30. I suspect others would not be so lucky, as the morning traffic rush built up. Airport ... read more
Skanderbeg
Tirana
Tirana

Europe » Albania » West » Tirana September 15th 2018

We get up and have breakfast. The food’s not great but at least the chef has gone to the effort of writing the hotel’s name in HP sauce on my plate. The old man is usually the master of the all-you-can-eat buffet, but today he meets his match. An elderly lady at our table manages 6 plates to his 3. He says this an unfair comparison as she poured the entire first plateful into her handbag. I am keen to stay and see if she can manage a 7th but beat a hasty retreat when she starts stirring Nutella into her tea. We depart for a day sightseeing in Tirana. Most points of interest are on Blvd Deshmoret e Kombit; a wide, tree lined boulevard which runs between two squares, Mother Teresa and Skanderbeg. Our first ... read more
Dinasty eggs
Pyramid of Tirana
Mosque

Europe » Albania » West » Tirana September 14th 2018

I have been looking forward to today; we are going to Albania. Most of what I know about Albania comes from a project I did at university in 1986, so I’m not really sure what to expect. First, the slightly surreal experience of breakfast in a wine cellar. The lack of natural light causes me to mistake jam for chutney and smother it all over my cheese and sausage. It tastes surprisingly good. A last wander along Lake Ohrid then it’s time to check out, which entails this cringeworthy conversation between the old man and the receptionist: Her: How was your stay? Him: Very nice except the shower leaked. Her: I’m sorry, I’ll get a lady to take a look at it. Him: It’s beyond that, it needs a man. And with that, we depart Ohrid ... read more
Ohrid port
Car Samoil’s Fortress
View from Car Samoil’s Fortress

Europe » Albania » West » Tirana May 31st 2018

Albania Day 14 Tirana Thirty degrees again today and we are bussed to Tirana. The journey crossed a huge fertile plain with a lot of activity with grass and crop cutting. Several small balers were in use and a big Class Combine was seen. It was not until we approached Tirana that we saw vehicle and tractor dealers selling new equipment of all brands. The rest of Albania only appears to sell used products. In Tirana a visit to the Bunkart (Bunker) was made, which depicted the history of the law enforcement by the gendarmerie and policia from 1913 to the fall of Communism in 1991. The museum is a huge concrete bunker with many small cells showing different aspects of the journey. Most harrowing is the way the secret police were set up and operated ... read more
Near the Bunkart
Bunker entrance
Bunker exit

Europe » Albania » West » Tirana December 31st 2017

We left Probistip early the following morning, the boys are struggling with the cold but I am enjoying not being hot for once. The journey south was on excellent roads through pretty countryside, I had no idea that Macedonia had such beautiful snow covered peaks which we followed all the way south to the city of Bitola. Bitola is the home of the country's most important ancient archeological site Heraclea Lyncestis. This ancient Macedonian was founded in the middle of 4th century B.C. by Philip the Macedon, Heraclea existed for over a millennium as an important strategic point. We arrived around midday to find the site empty of people with a single caretaker in residence who seemed happy to take us to the gift shop and delivered a long but interesting discourse about the history of ... read more
The boys at Heraclea Lyncestes
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Heraclea Lyncestes

Europe » Albania » West » Tirana January 18th 2017

I knew from the moment I set foot inside Destil Hostel something special was going on, but had no clue exactly what it was. I wandered upstairs in the absence of staff to come across two young lads belting out a tune over a guitar, Wow that's awesome I thought, these two are not your average hostel hacks, perhaps they are in a local band? Anyway, they directed me to the bar and I went through the formalities of checking in. While heading back upstairs to the dorm a girl was going all Beyonce with the lad on the guitar. Sounds great, I said as I was going past. Then I enter the dorm and two girls are sitting on a bed singing incredible harmonies. This was too much to take in, was it some kind ... read more
Historic Berat
Central Tirana
Skanderbeg museum

Europe » Albania » West » Tirana August 1st 2016

As we approached the junction where all the buses to Tirana leave from, we get accosted by man offering to take us to Tirana in his car for just 200 leke more. 1.50€ more for a ride in a new-ish Mercedes to Tirana? Sounded good to us. Or maybe that wasn't such a good idea. There is a theory that because Albanians only had access to cars after the fall of communism 24 years ago, that they are still learning how to drive them properly. I wouldn't doubt it. Many of the drivers I have seen on Albanian roads have been crazy and unpredictable. There is no adherence to any sort of rules, it's just a dangerous free-for-all. Dawdling is a common occurrence; cars just driving really slow without pulling over and holding everyone up. Even ... read more
Mosaic
The Pyramid
Inside The Orthodox Church

Europe » Albania » West » Tirana June 16th 2016

Donderdag 16/06/2016 -Vorë Busexcursie naar bergstadje Krujë en hoofdstad Tirana. Het is warm, zeer warm. Eerst historisch stadje Krujë, natuurlijk weeral gelegen op een hoge heuvel. Dus stevig tevoet klimmen. Maar toch de moeite. Prachtig uitzicht. Bezoek aan goed ingerichte geschiedkundig en heemkundig muzea begeleid door humoristische gids. Het bergstraatje er naar toe is een aaneenschakeling van bazarwinkeltjes. Terecht de Bazar genoemd. Tirana dan, is lawaaierig en zeer druk. De helft van de Albanezen leven hier. Veel gebouwen getuigen nog van de communistische periode en de nieuwe hoogbouw schiet hier ook de lucht in. Voor mij geen aanrader om te bezoeken. Blij dat ik terug de bus inkon. Leve de airco. Morgen verlaten we Albanië richting Montenegro.... read more
Krujë - Skanderbergmuzeum
Krujë - Skanderbergmuzeum
Krujë - Skanderbergmuzeum

Europe » Albania » West » Tirana May 24th 2016

Woolly says – our first bus of the day was rather like playing the game of sardines! As more and more people squeezed in I started wondering if the oxygen on board would last out for the journey, as though the lid had been removed we all poured out onto the pavement and the start of our second bus ride to Tirana. The municipality was first credited to Sulejman Pasha Bargjini, a native feudal lord from Mullet, who established the city in 1614. His first constructions were a mosque, a bakery and a hamam (Turkish bath.....hehehe I can still the remember the mud monsters from Feithye!) On February 8th 1920 Tirana was made the temporary capital by the Congress of Lushnje, before being proclaimed the permanent capital on December 31st 1925. Having navigated our way round ... read more
Checking out the damage
Piece of the Berlin Wall
Fabulous ceiling




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