After Tirana and Durrës we headed to Berat. Again the bus system has no posted system. We showed up at the bus station which is just a parking lot, and found a bus which was signed ‘Berat’. But at €2.50/$4 CDN for a 2 hour trip, we were fine!
Berat was beautiful! It is called the ‘City of a Thousand Windows’ because of the houses built up the hills overlooking the river. It is also the ‘White City’ as the houses are painted white.
This is a photo of the Old Town (the Mangalem Quarter) from across the river. If you look at the top of the hill behind, you will see an observation post.
This is looking down from that post.
To the right of the river is another area called Gorica.
I started the day with a climb up the hill to the Castle.
On the hill with the castle, there were restaurants, guesthouses, homes and a museum in a church with amazing icons (sorry, no photos allowed😢).
Saw lots of black Mercedes, but only one horse…
Which one is not like the others??
There was very little ‘flat land’.
The Ethnographic museum in a typical 18th century house showed the traditional daily life.
Lights at night in Gorica, and one of the bridges.
The Promenade was hopping at night too.
And all this time I thought ‘berber’ was a carpet!
Then it was off to Gjirokastër, another beautiful UNESCO mountain town.
And another castle, on another very tall hill….
Viveka and I both commented on how many tourist shops there were in Gjirokastër. But were figured there were many day-trippers as it’s only just over an hour from Sarandë, a major beach destination.
There was major work redoing the cobblestone streets.
Great hotel overlooking the valley.
Then off to Sarandë for some sun and sea time!
The 56 kilometre drive over the mountains took 1.5 hours! Very steep and curvy road.
Our hotel, the big white building, still has many upper floors to complete. But there is a restaurant and small beach in front, and it’s only a five minute walk to the main port.
It’s been around 31oC so going out walking is best first thing in the morning. There is a good path that rings the bay of hotels. Beaches are small and quite gravelly, but the water is beautifully clean.
Figs, honey, olive oil, sesame cakes, spices
Ferries to Corfu, Greece, are busy all day. The north end of the island is only a few kilometres away, but it’s 29 kilometres to the main port.
As usual, the food has been amazing! And so nice to share dishes to get variety.
The cost of a meal only ranged from €7-19 ($10-28 CDN) with beer/wine for the two of us.
Calamari and salad.
Grilled chicken, vegetables and salad
Another grilled chicken and vegetables.
Kofte (grilled seasoned meat) and salad
Gjirokastër special rice balls and vegetable kofte
Grilled fish and seafood risotto
Moussaka, tarator (cold cucumber and yogurt soup), byrek (like spanakopita) and spinach/cornmeal bread.
Pizza, for a change, but still had our salad!
The Albanian people have been so friendly and kind. And helpful when we have been figuring out buses! There have been many family run hotels and restaurants that have been so lovely.
Tomorrow we head back to Tirana. This time I could buy tickets for a specific time. A quick overnight stay before we fly back to Copenhagen, then Viveka heads backs to Sweden, and I head to Canada.
It’s been a great six weeks! But lots to do when I get back. I already have three months in SriLanka, India and Nepal planned starting December 30.