Grand Virginia Hotel
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Durres, 20 degrees overcast
6.30 start from Fushe Kosove. Jasin and Chere got up with with me to have a cuppa before I left. As we left the building to head down to the main road, Arbri and Donjeta were there too with a present for me. The bakery was open near the stop so I got some croissants for us all. Sotmir was already on the bus so it stopped on schedule.
Once on board, Sotmir and I had a great conversation, he wants to show ...
... itself is fabulous, it just needs some renovation and a purpose. To place it in Dublin or London would render it iconic, though I guess Albania has so few western ties that something as awesome as a concrete disco pyramid could easily go unnoticed.
We didn’t have much of a plan for the day, Tirana doesn’t seem to cater to tourists, much like the rest of Albania, so there wasn’t much to do except people watch and explore the city. We again ...
... plenty of trash dumped in odd places together with a bug oil spill. The countryside is beautiful, but apparently riddled with mines and other traps from years of being paranoid of invasion (for which they also built 700,000 bunkers ready to defend the country). Temperature still early to mid 30's with no clouds. Starting to get used to the temp. Stayed in a nice resort type thing in ...
... after the country opened up to foreign travelers. There is still no tourist information service. We were to discover that lots of places accept Euros and will even give preference to them, and lots of people on the street offer to buy Euro at around 7% more than the official bank rate. It’s a black market really but a semi official one as there is nothing secretive or furtive about it. You do need the local currency to buy stuff at the market or ...
Driving into Tirana, it would be a lie to say we were not more than slightly anxious of what we'd find.
The majority of the morning was spent travelling on tight twisting roads around the coastal mountains, which were at best broken asphalt with uncovered manholes and at worst just pure rubble and dust - all of which was surrounded on either sides by a variety of wild animals and hawkers selling anything from honey to coal charred ...