“Oh look a drug-dealer”… was one of many phrases we threw around whilst in Albania. It joined other brilliant lines such as “that Merc was stolen from Germany”, and “that BMW was stolen from Switzerland…”
My god, I thought, what on earth had our Lonely Planet guide gotten us into now?
After an amazing four days in London, it certainly didn’t turn for the worst when we ended up in the Balkans… but it was by far the biggest eye-opener.
First stop was an overnight in Corfu, Greece, with a view from our hotel, The Pink Palace, that looked a little something like this:
Apart from arriving at 10 o’clock at night, having a street post that blocked our stunning view and being fed sandwiches as a replacement dinner, I had a good night. I met a few lovely gals from Sydney and even discovered an old school friend was working there… small world.
We woke up early the next day and headed for the port where we then set off to infamous Albania by ferry (apparently you can hear gunshots at night from Corfu). This was the sight we saw on arrival:
Looking slightly nicer than one would expect, this coastal city of Saranda was certainly the jewel along Albania’s coastline. Looking like a slightly under-developed French Riviera, the city left an impression I won’t easily forget.
After we got off the ferry, we located our tour bus (that would take us to Dubrovnik) and were informed just how young Albania was… they only got cars in the early 1990′s… and everything there is dirt cheap. Goes to show that their economy is a little out of whack… clearly aren’t aware of inflation.
So here’s a few snaps of Albania, as well as shots of some food, friends and drinks discovered on the way ;]
First photo stop, Population (No survey required): No-one.
Found somewhere between Saranda (Sarandë) and Berat, was cliffside, with high-force winds… speaking of a bad hair day:
Berat, Population (2009): 125,830
- Ate some really good food
- UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Turkish town
- Bought a pair of thongs… could chose from two designs: Italy and Australia. (I chose Italy)
- Explored the castle on the hill
Tirana (Tiranë), Population (2008): 618,431
- Ate Albanian meatballs
- Crapped my pants after being chased by an alley cat
- Went to a bar where the beers went up and down in price like a stock market.
- Ate an ice cream at midnight… yes, vital information.
- Went to a derelict shopping centre… there were four shops… WTF?
- Din’t leave a tip at lunch.
- Discovered AFC (Albanian Fried Chicken) and their own version of Macca’s (Kolonat).
- Realized how concrete Albania’s capital is.
- Learnt of the Albanian version of the Champs-Élysées.
- Went to the loo in a 5-star hotel.
As the Albanian part of the bus trip came to an end, we could breathe a sigh of relief, knowing we’d entered back into safety when we hit Montenegro‘s border.
Budva (Будва), Population (2003): 10,918
- Sat on the beach and ate a really good Kebab
- Had a short walk through the old city
- Bought a post card
- Declared I would return when I was super-rich… or escaping the law.
We also drove through beautiful Kotorand took a car-ferry across the bay and travelled onwards towards the border between Montenegro and Croatia, where we stopped for a loo break. However, just as many other tourists would, we all needed to do the same, so the queue would have taken forever… if I were a woman. Thankfully, I’m lacking certain lady-bits and found it easy to do a sneaky one in a bush at the back of the servo station… that’s one thing I can thank God for. Cheers buddy ^^After wrapping up our business, we all hitched back onto the bus and drove the last leg into one of my now all-time favourite cities.Dubrovnik, Population (2011): 42,641
Keep the peace Kidlings,
and don’t you dare let that cookie crumble.