Albania in Three Parts – Tirana
Posted on January 23, 2015
Dropping down into the Balkans for three weeks in winter to vacation is not exactly what we seniors would likely venture to do on our own, especially after a fine month in Germany and France. But our travel savvy daughter, Suzi, who had visited the Balkans last year, offered to be our guide. We took her up on her offer and it has turned out to be a fine decision.
The whole of southern Europe had just had the first, and quite heavy snowfall, followed by unusually cold weather that just wouldn’t break. The higher elevations were quite impacted as we were to learn.
We arrived in Tirana, the capitol of Albania, after dark and found our way to a small but quiet hotel right near the city center.
Tirana, being the capitol of Albania, has a number of large buildings and diverse boulevards to serve government and cultural needs, and to feed political egos. Let’s start with some of them to give a flavor of the city, then we can turn to what characterized the city for me – pedestrian speed bumps, so to say, or better called sidewalk irregularities.
Now it’s time to take a stroll.
It’s Christmas time and there are a few traditional decorations around to remind us.
We pass a historic stone bridge.
Turkeys are the traditional meat at New Years. People like them fresh.
We find lots of life on the streets.
Suzi just got an iPhone and wanted to buy a SIM card for Albania. We popped into an Apple reseller shop and got excellent help from a young engineer.
Along the way we confront many kinds of steps leading both up and down to businesses.
As evening falls, we pass an exotic church. As we peer through the iron protective gate, a man appears from his guard shack and lets us in. This is a new Orthodox church, one of the largest in Europe.
We build up an appetite as we have walked many a mile this day. We enter a corner restaurant at random. We couldn’t have found a better one.
Now we must bid adieu to quirky Tirana. It’s time to take a five hour bus ride to Berat, our next destination.