Blogs from West, Albania, Europe - page 7


Europe » Albania » West » Elbasan April 18th 2008

We've moved! Chris and I returned to the US for one week before shipping back out again-- this time for a two year+ three month stint in Albania! We're serving in the Peace Corps, which means that Chris will be assigned to work in a bashkia and his goals include Community Development, while I will be implementing health programs within the Public Health Department. For the time being, we're stationed in Elbasan, the third largest city, where we do technical training with all 37 volunteers twice a week. However, all of us trainees are living with host families split amongst 8 of the surrounding villages. That's where we doing our language training-- five days each week. Learning Shqip (pronounced "ship"). Its a pretty intense language, I'm not gonna lie. Life here is not better, its not ... read more

Europe » Albania » West » Tirana February 20th 2008

Venice was the "Vacation of our Vacation." Here we met up with our friends, Pete and Fallon, who were honeymooning in Italy. In Venice, we enjoyed the pre-Lent festival of Carnevale. We spent the time strolling the streets, shopping for masks, admiring the amazing costumes, and eating fantastic Venetian seafood. The festival ended with a huge reggee concert in St. Mark's Sq. (Kirstin felt like she was back at the Bob Marley festival in Ethiopia!) Saying goodbye to Fallon and Pete and Venice, we took the train back to Ljubljana, where we continued on to Zagreb, Croatia. After having a blast in Venice, being tired from Carnevale, experiencing the "don't care attitude" of the people (aka "The Croatian Shrug"), the too high prices, and the lack of unique attractions...unfortunately, we were rather unimpressed and disappointed in ... read more

Europe » Albania » West » Tirana November 21st 2007

We woke this morning with the intention of getting a croissant from the patisserie on our road however when we got there it was less of a patisserie and more of a bar. I wanted to see the "Grand Park" which is located right behind our hotel. From reading about it we believed it to be not too dissimilar to the park in Chisinau except we hoped it would better looked after. Inside the park we were confronted with a multitude of directions to go and settled for the grassy path up the hill. At the top was a small graveyard / memorial area and between us and the lake was a open air theatre. The theatre had been built during the concrete era; concrete steps, concrete stage and concrete seats. All the concrete had the ... read more
And Again
Pretty Scene
Urban Wasteland

Europe » Albania » West » Krujë November 20th 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 ... read more
Pain Aux Raisin
Tirana Square

Europe » Albania » West » Tirana November 19th 2007

Last night was horrible and the journey took about four hours longer than it should have done, fourteen hours in total. We drove through the outskirts of Tirana around sunrise which was breathtaking. Tirana is surrounded by mountains in every direction so the scenery is beautiful despite the houses being rather primitive. The bus dropped us near the national opera house which is in a square that is surprisingly picturesque. To find Hotel Endri we had a simple map and address. We found the street without difficulty however we could not see the number or a sign. We asked someone who gesticulated that we needed to be around the other side of the building we were in front of. The other side gave no more of an indication and even when we were standing outside of ... read more
Our Hotel View
Mosque and Buildings
Mmm Food!

Europe » Albania » West » Krujë October 19th 2007

Woke up and then headed to find a minibus to Kruje! Kruje is the most touristy setup town so far I see in Albania!!! There is this old bazzar that sold all these touristy gifts and stuff...some are coool....esp. the instrument here......but.....argh...didnt get it. The castle was another hilltop ruin.......not very interesting inside...but nice view... Besides this, really not much! haaaa. Theres a museum, but we decided not to go in...... We sat down and had some lunch and then took the bus back to Tirana. Short but pleasant day=) now I just need to find my way to the port back in Durres.......and heading back to Italy! oh! and its raining....."... read more
selling lots of OLD random stuff...
ruins of the castle..
another tower in the castle..

Europe » Albania » West » Tirana October 16th 2007

Arrived in Durres, Albania, the port was...........basically a flat piece of concrete!!! got through customs and nothing there beside a bunch of cars calling themselves a taxi. So lost, got ripped off and hopped on a taxi to find the bus to Tirana! Once on the bus it was all easy, dropped right off at the train station and I just took the bigest road I saw until I got to the big Scanderbeg Square. kinda walked through and when I thought I was lost, the hostel staff found me and pointed me to the hostel, which was right across the road!!!!! Had some time before checkin, so walked around the city. Its like all the other Balkans capital.......lots of cars...people...dusty. but, houses here are very colourful!!! and they love to sell old got this ... read more
Sercuirty is GOOOD!
cool mornument!
Colourful Albania!

Europe » Albania » West » Tirana August 28th 2007

Tour, what tour? Well this little previous communist country was probably one of the most amusing visits of the lot. After a very long day of driving to Albania, should only take a couple of hours but because of how dodgy the roads are it takes us all day. It’s a completely different world. So when we finally get into the Capital Tirana and meet up with a lady who is going to give us a bit of a tour around town I think, well here we go this will make it worth it. It turns out we drive down one street where she says this building this and that buildings that, go around a around about, shows us the equivalent to McDonalds, we turn right at the next set of traffic lights and she says, ... read more
Our Balcony
Border Traffic 2

Europe » Albania » West » Tirana August 9th 2007

Hi Everybody! We enjoyed our stay in Durres. Part of the blog that I wrote there did not print. While we were there, we saw a mosque and a Greek Orthodox Church. I don't know how much of the population is Muslim. We have seen a few women with modest scarves - no black burkas. Many of the older women are dressed completely in black with an occasional white head scarf. They must be Greek Orthodox. Late in the afternoon, they close the main street in Durres to automobile traffic. Families stroll up and down the street together. This morning, we walked to the bus terminal and got on a bus for Tirana. When it was about three fourths full, it left (30 min. early.) Another bus pulled into its place for the same destination. The ... read more

Europe » Albania » West » Tirana May 18th 2007

Allo All (thats what hello is in Albanian - easy, but confusing cause how can you tell if someone is speaking English or not?). I'm impressed at how well I'm doing at staying at top of these things. In fact I'm feeling very organised right now as I've pretty much booked all accommodation, necessary transport and dealt with money stuff right through to July. When I last wrote I was heading over the border into Albania after leaving Ulcinj. We entered Albania and headed towards Shkodra which is right on the border. Driving into Shkodra I couldn't believe the contrast between the amazing scenery and the piles of garbage on the side of the road. But despite the obvious poverty the place was amazingly beautiful and I think I fell in love with Albania right then. ... read more

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