Posted by: lindsaygoes | October 20, 2016

Albania, better the second time

Wednesday 12th October 2016
Ohrid, Macedonia to Tirana, Albania

After Lake Ohrid in Macedonia, we headed to the capital city of Albania, Tirana. Last time I was in Albania I wasn’t particularly impressed and it was the one place I had visited that I was happy to never go to again. Now that I have been to Albania again I’m happy to say my opinion has changed!

After arriving in Tirana we dropped our luggage off at the hotel and headed for the city centre. After a quick pastry for lunch we visited the National Historical Museum which had some interesting exhibits and artefacts. Unfortunately as we moved up through the floors of the museum there was less and less English explanations, so some things were a bit hard to interpret.

After the museum we had a walking tour which took us around some of the main sites as well as giving us information on the history of Albania, particularly the recent communist history. It was very interesting, particularly the personal stories our guide told us about growing up during that period.

We also climbed to the top of the Clock Tower to get a view of the city, visited the Catholic and Orthodox Cathedrals and the Art Gallery. We also saw the PostBlock Memorial which contains a concrete bunker, a piece of the Berlin Wall and some concrete pillars from a mine in a forced labour camp. Another site we visited was the Pyramid of Tirana, also known as the International Center of Culture, which is currently closed and in a dispute about what is going to happen to it, so it was a bit abandoned looking and was being used a a giant slide.

After our tour we went to the top of the Sky Tower, a revolving bar, where we had some drinks and watched the sunset before having a very tasty dinner at a restaurant called Era.

Thursday 13th October 2016
Tirana, Albania to Budva, Montenegro, via Kruje, Albania

This morning we headed from Tirana to Kruje, a small town which has a museum dedicated to Skanderbeg, the national hero of Albania who defended Albania from the Ottomans for 25 years. The museum was within Kruje castle, and we had an included tour which definitely helped clarify some of the history. Being in a castle, it was at the high point of the town, and had some fantastic views.

After our tour we had a bit of a wander through the streets which had quite a few little shops, and I had a traditional Albanian dish for lunch which was like a meat stew type dish and was quite nice. After that there was even time for ice-cream.

After our stop in Kruje it was back on the road and heading for Montenegro, which will be in the next post. 
 

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