09.11.2014 - 10.11.2014 18 °C
After a 1.5 hour bus ride we landed in the heart of Shkodër, a city located in northern Albania. We stayed at the centrally located 'Mi Casa es Tu Casa' hostel, a quirky and very welcoming place to chill out for a few days.
We didn't have any expectations for the city as it was predominantly a stop-over to get to Tirana. Apart from Rozafa castle, there aren't too many major sights for a traveller however we really enjoyed unique Albanian culture. There are coffee houses everywhere and they are all full of guys drinking espresso. It seems coffee is the drink of choice and most often it's guys hanging out with guys - not sure where the girls were!
You do notice some economic differences with other European countries, since the Socialist Republic was dissolved in 1991 and the Republic of Albania was established. The last 24 years has seen political unrest including a financial collapse and also affects from the Kosovo War. There seems to be less wealth in general and an ageing infrastructure.
The people are friendly and vibrant, which was noticeable as we walked along the Bojana river, and as we ate some tasty Albanian food at a restaurant called Peja. This was just one of the many local restaurants, which cook up local specialties each day and offer a menu that is based on what food is freshly available. They keep the food warm in a bain marie and you just select what you feel like. No listed menu with prices was a good change! We had pasta, potatoes, a range of veg and some Albanian sausages.