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Europe » Albania » West » Berat March 5th 2016

I picked Berat for my next destination as a lot of people I met advised me not to miss this beautiful little town. Berat was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site as it is a rare example of a well-preserved Ottoman town. It is one of the country's most beautiful towns, and is known as the "town of a thousand windows". The distance between Tirana and Berat is around 100km. Furgon (minivan) can cover this distance in just over 2 hours and costs only 450 LEK (£2.58). The way was actually not that bad. Only few parts were bumpy. Luckily I fell asleep just few minutes after our departure from Tirana. Once in Berat, I had to take a local bus to get to town centre from where I thought it won't be difficult to ... read more
Plum jam
View from castle
View from castle

Europe » Albania » West » Tirana March 3rd 2016

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 ... read more
National History Museum
Bunker with block from Berlin wall behind it
Piramida

Europe » Albania » North » Shkodër February 29th 2016

Shkodra is a city and municipality in northwestern Albania and the seat of the county with the same name. It is one of the oldest and most historic places in Albania, as well as an important cultural and economic centre. Its importance is heightened by the Lake of Skadar to the west of the city, the largest in the Western Balkans, that straddles Albania and neighbouring Montenegro. As I already mentioned in my previous entry, I spent some time in city centre trying to figure out their traffic rules. I gave up eventually and walked to find a hostel for few nights. Hostel was located near city centre (20 minutes walk) which made it great place to stay. There were only 3 other people staying there when I arrived and because the weather was not good ... read more
The statue of Isa Boletini - Albanian nationalist
Ebu Beker mosque
Orthodox church

Europe » Albania » North » Shkodër September 11th 2015

Here I am, with another tale of two cities, or better - 2 countries. Contrary to the suggestion of the Montenegrin coast-dwellers, I have adventured myself inland to Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro. From there I left to the country's eastern neighbor, the Republic of Albania, where I stranded in the westernmost city Shkodër. Leaving the Mediterranean coastline of Montenegro behind, I took a 2 hour bus inland to the capital... This is also when I left my Montenegrin friend behind and started the lonely part of my trip. Shortly referring to the title of this entry, I want to talk about a concept I noticed in this stage of travel and on how this particular feeling makes my travels worth it. What I am talking about are the transits, the shifts, the slow going. What ... read more
Shkodër
Shkodër
Shkodër

Europe » Albania » West » Elbasan August 6th 2015

Europe » Albania » West » Tirana July 29th 2015

Back in the summer of 2013, I did a small amazing train trip in part of the Balkans. It was a first, and I knew I would come back to tour the remaining capitals I hadn't visited. So first stop, I'm in Albania....I know, who goes on holidays in Albania, if you don't really have a connection to the country...not that I don't have one somehow! Instead of going direct, I flew through Istanbul in order to try the huge Turkish Airlines lounge, saving the cost of a hotel night at the same time. Lounge is huge, but not that impressive with their offerings...except for the pool table, and yes, the golf simulator. It's a first for me to play on a golf simulator....all this at midnight, drinking some nice Merlot, and ended up even playing ... read more
Great group city tour in the morning...
Poor country, but in Tirana, easily 20% of the cars are Mercedes!
The past is still around...

Europe » Albania July 22nd 2015

We woke up in our beach chairs by the sun and Albanian tourists going for an early swim. After a little swim of our own and a breakfast we started hitchhiking again. Within 15 minutes we were on our way again, in the direction of Sarandë. We were picked up by a friendly business man setting up a little beach place near Sarandë and he was on his way to make sure his beach chairs were delivered correctly. He drove us first to a deserted place where he had a meeting with the chair suppliers and after a few minutes of shouting and cursing we were on the way again. (The suppliers messed up the order and caused a lot of delay). We had a nice drive through the mountain roads of Albania and we decided ... read more
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Europe » Albania July 14th 2015

The next day Dylaver showed us the way to the centrum and pointed us to the bus station. We figured we might as well take a bus to Durrës and start from there as it costs only 1 euro per person to go there. When walking around and while sitting in the bus we were amazed at the chaos of the Albanian traffic. Everyone just seems to think about themselves and rules don´t seem to exist in the Albanian traffic jungle. As Dylaver put it: A lion in the jungle doesn´t need traffic lights so why do we? After an excruciating 40 minutes in an over-full hot minibus that felt more like an oven, we arived like baked potatoes in Durrës. This city is by far the weirdest city I have ever been to. Apparently people ... read more
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Europe » Albania July 13th 2015

We woke up this morning ready to start hitchhiking again. It took a while before we were done with breakfast and finding a cafe for a toilet but once we found a good hitchhiking spot it didn't take long to get a ride out of Dubrovnik. The guy was a friendly Balkan guy that didn't speak English but understood what we wanted. The drove like a madman through the mountain roads of Croatia with Balkan music on full volume. We had a good laugh with him for about a 10 minute ride. He dropped us of at a perfect place near an airport with only one road going into Montenegro. After an hour waiting we got a ride from a friendly Albanian guy who could speak a little bit English and German and we could drive ... read more
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Europe » Albania June 26th 2015

ALBANIA We thought there was a step down from Croatia to Montegreno. It’s quite a number of steps further down into Albania. Here in Albania the things that hit me first up – and stayed with me- are · A marked difference between the haves and have nots, · Unfinished houses – and other buildings, · Building supply stores and building products for sale in huge quantities at numerous outlets, and · Constant displays of tolerance and patience amongst general chaos – most markedly by those of humble appearance. PLAYING BEDLAM ON THE ROAD IN SHKODER Driving along a tree lined but cluttered street in the city of Shkoder there were pedestrians and animals walking out onto the street without a care as to the direction, speed or flow of traffic as well as cars ( ... read more
Lezhe town Albania  (1)
Lezhe town Albania  (4)




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