Albania!

Tirana Travel Blog

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So tired coming into town in the early morning after another night on the bus
We woke in the morning, after maybe 2 hours sleep, deep inside Albania! We couldn't believe we were finally here. The bus rolled into Tirana, dropping us off near the heart of downtown. We were so short on time now that we had to start exploring immediately if we were going to see the capital.

The first thing we found here was that Albanians are really nice. We stopped in a cafe, ordered a coffee, and after some debate, reluctantly asked the waiter if there was any chance of leaving our huge backpacks there, just for a minute, while we searched for a place to stay. "No problem" was the immediate answer, and they disappeared behind the bar. Later, the guy wouldn't even accept a tip.

Our first mission was to find a way to get from here to Croatia and get some reservations and tickets.
Our first glimpse of the famous mushroom bunkers, dotting this hillside and intersection along the highway outside of town
After visiting endless travel agencies and bus companies, all who looked at us in disbelief that we were even thinking of trying to go west, we were recommended to an agency that could maybe help us. They quickly determined that they didn't have anything to sell us, but then the Albanian hospitality kicked in. They helped us figure out that if we could get to Sckodre, in the northern part of the country, we should be able to get a bus south into Montenegro, where there might be busses north to Croatia. A roundabout route, but there was a chance it would work. Then, they let us store our backpacks there for the day in their tiny office so we could go to the beach. That was unbelievable luck since we'd found no place to stay yet.

We explored the rest of downtown, the headed to the local bus station to ride down to Durres, on the coast, less than an hour away. On the way we visited a market, basically a street that they had closed to traffic and covered with an aluminum roof for quite a distance, as it winds back between buildings. For some reason, they sell enormous numbers of shoes. I mean, there were shoes as far as you could see, on the ground, on tables, hanging from every surface.... Albanians must really love shoes.
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So tired coming into town in the e…
So tired coming into town in the …
Our first glimpse of the famous mu…
Our first glimpse of the famous m…
Probably Tiranas best known landm…
Probably Tirana's best known land…
In the central square
In the central square
The mural now...
The mural now...
Not much has changed at this spot …
Not much has changed at this spot…
Across the central square to the c…
Across the central square to the …
Tirana International Hotel - the o…
Tirana International Hotel - the …
Development around the square
Development around the square
UFO University...?!?
UFO University...?!?
Folk hero Skanderbeg, defender of …
Folk hero Skanderbeg, defender of…
Skanderbeg fought enemies from all…
Skanderbeg fought enemies from al…
Minaret rises above the city, pray…
Minaret rises above the city, pra…
Heading to work after morning pray…
Heading to work after morning pra…
Bell towers and minarets call thei…
Bell towers and minarets call the…
One of the wheels is often removed…
One of the wheels is often remove…
Its going to Puke...
It's going to Puke...
Another revolutionary leading the …
Another revolutionary leading the…
Shoe market
Shoe market
I mean, there are a lot of shoes h…
I mean, there are a lot of shoes …
For children...
For children...
...rows and rows of shoes for bloc…
...rows and rows of shoes for blo…
Fruit stalls line the streets
Fruit stalls line the streets
Fresh produce brought into the cap…
Fresh produce brought into the ca…
Another shopping street with tiny …
Another shopping street with tiny…
View out our hotel window, we spru…
View out our hotel window, we spr…
Room is bright, Pepto Bismol pink
Room is bright, Pepto Bismol pink
...so pink it hurts!
...so pink it hurts!
Wild stallions gallop across the w…
Wild stallions gallop across the …
Tirana at night
Tirana at night
Walking around the main square.  I…
Walking around the main square. …
Guarding the city.... or beaming u…
Guarding the city.... or beaming …
Tirana Hostels review
Affordable, clean hotel in the middle of downtown
From the outside, Hotel Republika appears only as a doorway in the wall of buildings the line Zog 1 Blvd. through downtown Tirana. There's a small lo… read entire review
Tirana
photo by: EmEm