Albania (the destination we are most proud of)

Trip Start Feb 22, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Albania  ,
Monday, May 16, 2005

We intended on getting a bus to the capital of Albania, Tirana but were convinced by a taxi driver (who would naturally be making a few Euro's out of us) that the easiest way to get to the capital was to take his taxi to the Macedonian/Albanian border and walk across. From there we get another taxi to the mini bus station (a rickety intersection in the middle of no-where) where we could then get to Tirana.

We decided to go through with the plan and as soon as we crossed the border we were greeted by our first fake copper that demanded our passports. It was kind of funny, we had read about these dudes but didn't think that we would run into one literally 50 metres into the country. Anyway, we politely told the fake copper that there was absolutely no need for us to show our passports again seeing that we had just shown the customs officials. After arguing with him and a couple of taxi drivers for a while, we finally decided to walk of down the highway to the mini buses.

At that minute, some dodgey bloke agreed to drive us to the mini-bus station. This is the same mini bus station that he and his mates tried to convince us didn't exist and that we would have to get into one of their taxis for the 200 km drive to Tirana. We ended up giving some magazine delivery guy 10 Euros for a trip into the capital. He couldn't speak English, we couldn't speak Albanian and so we all just sat in the front seat eating chocolate.

Tirana was a cool place, it was nicer than I expected it to be and the people were super friendly. One time we were lost looking for the mini bus to a city in the North and a fast-food vendor walked over to us and asked if we needed help. He gave us directions to the mini bus and we happily set out in the completely wrong direction. We then stood at the biggest dirt round about I have ever seen, giving way to shonky buses, stray animals and a thousand Mercedies (it is literally the only brand of car you'll see in this country). The food vendor saw that we had completely stuffed up with the directions and that we were slightly intimated by the 8 lanes of traffic. He walked over to us and walked us across the road, with his hand out-stretched and yelling something in Albanian. He parted the see of traffic like some sort of biblical backpacker hero. We finally got on the bus and enjoyed looking at bunkers and the massive rocky mountains that cover the entire country.
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jai_82 on

Re: Albania and Barcelona
Hi Eva,

Thank you for your comments.

For us, Albania was a challenging country to visit so we are proud of ourselves for visiting it.

We know that tourists have different experiences in the places they visit compared to the local people. Maybe this is why we didn't enjoy ourselves that much in Barcelona. We also didn't give it enough time, we only stayed two nights.

Maybe we will visit Barcelona again sometime and have a different impression.

Nadja :-)

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