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Albania

Albania - Tirana

sunny 16 °C

Tirana is the capital of Albania, 2 hours south of Shkodër. It's a busy bustling metropolis and unfortunately for us we could only experience it for 1 night. We stayed at the very comfortable Tirana Backpacker hostel with a great outdoor area. Loads of oranges were also perfectly ripe on their orange tree, so we weren't lacking in vitamin C after our visit.

The Scanderbeg square is home to the National Historical Museum, National Theater of Opera and Dance, and the Ethem'Beu Mosque. It was busy with traffic and people mingling, in fact the whole city seemed to be. The International Centre of Culture pyramid was build by the Russians in 1988 and is now used as broadcasting center by Albanian TV channel Top Channel. At night it's a pretty eerie sight. The Blloku district was once home to the elite Albanian politburo during the communist era. The area was gated just for them and therefore it is full of impressive old architecture. It's now an up-market shoppng and restaurant district.

We had some very tasty Albanian style doner kebabs, which were delicious and got an early night before an early bus to the airport the following day.

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Posted by TheNomadWay.com 17:00 Archived in Albania Comments (0)

Albania - Shkodër

overcast 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.

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Posted by TheNomadWay.com 17:00 Archived in Albania Comments (0)

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