Week One of traveling in Albania, and it has been great!
Viveka and I landed in Tirana on a flight from Copenhagen via Vienna. Want to say I was impressed with Austrian Airlines. Nice plane, great stewards, and they offered free check-in of carry-on bags to speed up loading. Refreshing in an era of carting the kitchen sink on-board 🙄. Not that we took advantage of it as we were happily packing light. I have my 40 L backpack and Viveka is just using a day pack.
Tirana is an interesting mix of old and new. Skanderbeg Square is the main plaza, and it’s huge! 40,000 square metres.
Et’hem Bej Mosque is undergoing renovations, so we couldn’t get close
Resurrection of Christ Orthodox Cathedral is a very modern church (2012). When we arrived late at night, our taxi drove past it, and it was very cool with blue lights.
Very pedestrian friendly streets.
Great market streets by our hotel, and hopping at night!
Very interesting red/yellow/green street lights, and better when it is dark!
Then it as a 45 minute (130 lek, €1! $1.50 CDN) bus ride to Durrës. Actually a bit confusing as we needed to take a city bus to the bus station (parking lot of buses) on the edge of town.
Durrës is a port city on the coast where ferries leave from. There is a ferry to Brindisi, Italy that looked tempting!
View of the port from our apartment
Again, lots of history. The amphitheater is from 2nd century.
Venetian Tower is from the sixth century, and rebuilt in the first half of the fifteenth century when Durrës was ruled by the Republic of Venice.
City walls are from the late fifth century.
Some very interesting new stuff too.
The main square was quiet during the day. That evening there was a cultural show, and we caught the Bulgarian dancers.
On one side of the port is the Promenade with an amusement park. Very quiet during the day.
The whole area is under some needed construction too.
On the other side is a very long string of hotels on the beach. We walked the 45 minutes there, had coffee and a lunch, and found a bus home. When it’s over 30 degrees, the energy from flags.
And the food! How many Greek salads can we eat?
So good, and so reasonable! This whole lunch was only €6, $9 CDN!
For dinner on two different nights we had meat, grilled veg, salad and beer for €19, $26 CDN
Yesterday we found a lovely little family run Italian restaurant and had fabulous homemade ravioli for €7.50, $11 CDN
We haven’t even started on the ‘cheap’ street food yet, but I am eying the byrek (spinach and cheese pies like spanakopita).
Albania is not a cultural backwater! Clothing is fashionable, with some incredible design shops.
Looking forward to our bus trip to Berat tomorrow. See you there!