Blogs from Tirana, West, Albania, Europe - page 5


Europe » Albania » West » Tirana April 21st 2010

Welcome to Albania, the quirkiest country in the world What a strange place. Brightly painted poverty, the worst roads in Europe and Mercedes-Benzes everywhere. Throughout the Balkans, I encountered squabbling people with petty disputes with their neighbors. The Slovenians didn’t trust the Croatians. The Croatians mistrusted the Bosnians. The Bosnians mistrusted the Serbs and the Montenegrins. But all of them agreed on one thing: Albania was the most dangerous, perilous and shadiest place in the world – or so they shared with me. None of them had ever been there. “There isn’t a dumpster in this town that some gypsy hasn’t laid claim to.” There are more cops than trees in Tirana and urban Albania. In fact the only quantity that compares is the number of scabby homeless dogs. The funny thing is that besides standing ... read more
at the Pyramid
Traditional farm transport
How to move a sofa in Albania

Europe » Albania » West » Tirana December 3rd 2009

Hi all, Finally have found a good internet place so it is time to update the blog. Although Scott tells me I am not funny enough in them :-(. So sorry if I bore you but here goes. We picked Vicky up and had a fun afternoon seeing the main sights while poor vicky dragged her luggage around with her! (dont worry we did help her........a bit!)(Well she did forget the VEGEMITE!!!). The Acropollis is the main focal point and although it is iconic and looks great from a distance it is a little bit of a let down close up - all covered in scaffolding. Had a lovelt meal and made our plan of attack for the week. We decided to hot foot it around Peloponnese. We crossed over the Cornith Canal. A massive 6 ... read more

Europe » Albania » West » Tirana December 2nd 2009

Hi guys, Just a quick note to say we are alive and well and in Albania. Its not a bad place. Very friendly but about 30 years behind (and they cant drive AT ALL!!). Will update more later. Hope you are all well - please send updates as I miss you all. xxx... read more

Europe » Albania » West » Tirana October 15th 2009

Catherine enjoyed frankfurters for breakfast heated over a Gaz-type stove and in a 250 mL coffee pot. Such was the Ulcinj Hilton/home stay. Our cabbie was on time and we headed for the border along ever-deteriorating roads. This area really was a frontier in geography and vibe. At the frontier proper, the wind was cold, chilled by the previous night's snow! The roads actually improved in Albania though the old mercs - a legacy from Hoxha era smuggling - seem to adopt a speed mania. Our destination was Schkodra bus terminal and we soon recognised the similarity to the villages of Vietnam. It must have been a communist design thing. Getting from taxi to the Tirana bus took a second as bus touts grabbed our gear and secured our custom. We then sat for 20 mins ... read more
Wiring outside Freddy's hostel
Coloured apartments in Tirana
Kruja castle remains

Europe » Albania » West » Tirana August 27th 2009

Well I had only a few days left in Albania before I headed to the coast of Montenegro. So after our trip to the Blue Eyed spring, Jhonny, Axiel and I jumped on a bus to Gjirokastra. there were no seats but we sat on the floor, and I made friends with the people around me, and managed to a get a nectarine and contacts to meet up with when I went back to Tirana. So was a pleasant journey, considering the seating arrangement. I had only a short period before I had to head back to Saranda, as the buses do not run very late, and was returning to check our sick Quebeca friend Jen. With the time I had we walked briefly around the town, or more like tried not to get hopeless lost ... read more

Europe » Albania » West » Tirana August 20th 2009

Our bus journey to Tirana from Struga, near Ohrid, was like many in Albania; longer than expected, hot and sweaty but with beautiful scenery to watch go by and my uncanny ability to sleep on warm moving vehicles, still a good journey. We arrived in the evening in Tirana, which was a little overwhelming as we did not know what to expect from this recently communist country. There is no formal bus station, but rather the buses stop on the outskirts of the country depending from which direction they come from. We were determined to be 'proper' travelers and trek to the other side of town and search out the hostel we had decided on from our little Lonely Planet map. We eventually arrived at the Albania Backpackers Hostel, started 5 years ago and the first ... read more

Europe » Albania » West » Tirana July 11th 2009

Wednesday 8th July 2009 Wake up this morning at 6am... had not slept well AT ALL due to the streetlights shining straight into the sail boat cabin which has no door plus I had woken up at 4am with a coughing fit, so it felt like I had only just got back to sleep when it was time to get up and get ready. We had to pack up our stuff and clean the boat and have breakfast this morning before the boat inspection at 6.45am. It has to pass the inspection or we will be charged 40Euro, gulp. Yesterday we had already done the front decks and cleaned out one of the inside cabinets where we had stored the water. This morning it is all the other surfaces and with 6 of us on the ... read more

Europe » Albania » West » Tirana February 2nd 2009 read more

Europe » Albania » West » Tirana December 5th 2008

Wow, Albania. Absolutely crazy place. Are we still in Europe? Firstly, the trip from Bar, Montenegro to Albania was a nightmare as expected. Once again, we were travelling on a Sunday (we gotta mix up our schedule a bit). The first leg of the trip was a bus from Bar to Ulcinj, a town closer to the Albanian border where we hoped we could get a bus to Shkodra in Albania. Of course the only bus that day left at 6:00am and we missed it by a long shot. There are always taxi drivers hanging around the bus stations offering rides to stranded travellers but until now we always ignored them. We were approached by a guy who offered to taxi us straight to Shkodra. I knew it was illegal to taxi across the border but ... read more

Europe » Albania » West » Tirana October 28th 2008

At the bus station in Saranda, there was a bus going for Tirana so i decided to take it, so much for Gjirokaster, I really wanted to see the town it looks interesting from the main road when we passed it from Berat but there is also a part of me that wants to get to Montenegro as soon as possible. It will be 8 hours bus journey and I knew we are passing through the zigzag mountains when the conductor started handing out plastic bags to the locals, puke bags!! Luckily none did though got a bit dizzy once again. We stopped again in Gjirokaster, and saw the tower from a distance, maybe I was not meant to visit it at this time.. Stopped for lunch somewhere, and when we arrived in Tirana heavy traffic ... read more

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