From the Albania journals

I got stuck last year in trying to write about my second trip to Albania in September. I kept notes in my journal but couldn’t motivate myself to polish them up and actually write something about it. I was flipping through the journal a bit, laughing at my stories and decided I’d just write up […]

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Shkoder Again

I arrived to Tirana airport in the mid-morning, collected my backpack and tried to leave the airport. I had been told that I could catch a furgon from the airport to Shkoder instead of taking a taxi to Tirana and then taking a furgon from there, as the airport is on the way to Shkoder. […]

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Shkoder to Pogradec by Train

Nobody rides Balkan trains, and for good reason, too. Remember that fantastic scene in Casino Royale when James Bond meets Vesper on the train through Montenegro? It has fantastic dialogue but the idea of this actually being a train in the Balkans is completely implausible. In the Balkans the trains are old, slow, uncomfortable, and […]

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Bajram Curri

The furgon from Valbone to Bajram Curri leaves every morning at 7:00. There’s only one furgonper day and I don’t know why it leaves at such a ridiculous hour. It’s not a long drive, only maybe two hours. It’s probably the case that there is literally only one furgon that makes the drive and it […]

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Rogam/Valbone

I kept going down the hill and eventually the boy on the horse caught up with me and passed me. He said his house was just a little bit further down and I told him I’d see him there. This village was not Valbone, but Rogam, the tiny village that you come across just before […]

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Thethi

  The furgon (minibus) I would ride was an old, battered, orange Mercedes. The roads up to the villages aren’t passable by regular cars; the only vehicles that can make it up there are 4x4s. I climbed in and joined the crowd in the minibus and we set off bouncing along and made a few […]

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Shkoder

I was Shkoder bound. I didn’t know much about Shkoder, except that it has global recognition because of the blood feuds that still happen in northern Albania. Shkoder is perfectly fine to travel to, as it’s in the northeast, a major city and easy to travel to, but the travel books I’d seen in the […]

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Tirana

On the bus from Berat to Tirana I was glued to the window. I remembered on the bus in to Berat we had passed a house that was designed to look like a boat and I wanted to get a picture of it. Unfortunately, though, I didn’t see it again. So I gazed out the […]

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Berat

I boarded the bus in Sarande and was Berat bound. It’s roughly a 250km journey. Though cities in Albania are never far apart as the crow flies, bus travel between them can be a trying experience. I wanted to be on the 8am bus to Berat as I was informed the bus journey is a […]

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Sarande

From Gjirokaster the bus was about two hours to Sarande. Sarande is on the Southern Albanian coast and is one of the country’s more touristy destinations for its location on the sea and nice beaches, its close proximity to both the border with Greece as well as being right across from Corfu. Once again, I […]

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