Aching in Albania – Balkans trip anecdotes and photos

This blog mainly concentrates on providing information that will help in living or travelling in Malaysia. However, I do blog a little about trips abroad. On my recent trip to the Balkans I’ll do a series of short blogs providing one anecdote per country, and then a few assorted photos of the country unrelated to the anecdote.

My aims in Albania were to stay in the ancient town of Berat and explore it, and to travel down the scenic coastal road from Vlore to Saranda.

I managed to get from the south of Montenegro to Berat in one day, first with a local taxi, then a long distance taxi to across the border into Shkoder, the first town you come to in Albania, then another long distance taxi to the capital, Tirana, then a bus to Berat, and finally a local bus from the terminal to the town centre, arriving about 4.30PM  Not bad considering almost no one spoke English, and I had no real information I could count on.

And why “Aching in Albania”?  Because the streets in Berat were cobbled.  Not like cobbled streets I am familiar with in other parts of Europe, but with really, really uneven stones.  I had brought the wrong shoes for this trip anyway, but it was compounded by walking on these surfaces.  After three days I had to leave Berat, because my feet couldn’t take it any more.  Walking almost anywhere was painful.  I don’t know how locals cope.  I tried asking hotel staff, but they didn’t really understand what I was asking.

this is walking up to the hostel I spent a couple of nights at

this is walking up to the hostel I spent a couple of nights at

From this angle it doesn;t look so bad

From this angle it doesn’t look so bad…

...but then you look closely and you can see how rough it is

…but then you look closely and you can see how rough it is

another path

another path

the best approach was to walk on those centre bricks - they are a bit more even. But many paths weren't constructed this way

the best approach was to walk on those centre bricks – they are a bit more even. But many paths weren’t constructed this way

going up the road to my hotel

going up the road to my hotel

OTHER PHOTOS IN ALBANIA

Almost the first vehicle I saw after crossing the border into Albania from Montenegro

Almost the first vehicle I saw after crossing the border into Albania from Montenegro

hilltop on the outskirts of Shkoder

hilltop on the outskirts of Shkoder

mosque in Shkoder

mosque in Shkoder

market in Shkoder

market in Shkoder

on the way to the capital, Tirana

on the way to the capital, Tirana

Both Albania and Macedonia claim Mother Teresa

Both Albania and Macedonia claim Mother Teresa

the bus from Tirana to Berat

the bus from Tirana to Berat

on the way to Berat

on the way to Berat

hillside church in Berat

hillside church in Berat

really nice restaurant in Berat, which I ate at a couple of times

really nice restaurant in Berat, which I ate at a couple of times

my first dinner in Berat

my first dinner in Berat

my first dinner in Berat

my first dinner in Berat

my first dinner in Berat

my first dinner in Berat

my first dinner in Berat

my first dinner in Berat

wine tasting at a countryside winery about 45 minutes outside Berat

wine tasting at a countryside winery about 45 minutes outside Berat

river in Berat

river in Berat

early dinner at the same restaurant as before

early dinner at the same restaurant as before – Antigoni

walking up to the hilltop

walking up to the hilltop

walking up to the hilltop

walking up to the hilltop

Berat from the top

Berat from the top

I will now go up to the castle and medieval centre

I will now go up to the castle and medieval centre

medieval centre

medieval centre

medieval centre

medieval centre

I moved to a hotel and ate in the restaurant - a very good meal

I moved to a hotel and ate in the restaurant – a very good meal

restaurant

restaurant

starter

starter

main

main – and then later I had cassata for dessert

minibus from Berat to Vlore

minibus from Berat to Vlore

I saw a few of these

I saw a few of these

weekend market in a small town we passed through

weekend market in a small town we passed through

bus from Vlore to Himare

bus from Vlore to Himare

beautiful coastline

beautiful coastline

and up through some high mountains

and up through some high mountains

and up through some high mountains

and up through some high mountains

village

village

Himare - I swam here

Himare – I swam here. It wasn’t so cold. Perhaps this is the Ionian Sea.

Himare

Himare

sunset

sunset

Eating at the hotel - dinner made by owner's mother

Eating at the hotel – dinner made by owner’s mother. And a better view than any other restaurant or hotel  in town

coastal road to Saranda

coastal road to Saranda – pouring with rain

ferry from Saranda to Corfu

ferry from Saranda to Corfu

Saranda was quite big

Saranda was quite big

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s