Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Durrës & Tirana, Albania (20.-22.07.2014)

We left Montenegro by little overland streets and crossed into Albania. Once on the other side of the border the streets improved and we could cruise along. For lunch we stopped at a tiny restaurant where the owner was super delighted to have us as guests ;). He spoke Italian and we answered in Spanish ;) A big meal later we continued on.
A lot of people here seem to have worked just across the Adriatic sea, Durrës having a direct ferry connection to Italy. Also mostly they thought we were Italians on holidays...
Whereas the car of choice in Bosnia was the VW Golf it is Mercedes Benz limousines in Albania. All in all I would say one third of the cars we encountered on the street were Mercedes. And the rest other German manufacturers. We propably drive one of the shittiest car here o_O
Because of a lack of alternatives we decided to spend a night in Durrës before heading on to Tirana.
This beach town consists of a big port, some crappy beaches and ugly concrete buildings. On the other hand we visited the ancient Roman amphitheater in the middle of the city and had a drink on top of the old Venetian tower.
We stayed at Nais Hotel, at least that was where Rainer made the reservation. Guided by the Bing Map on my phone we ended up at the Nais Beach Hotel, which we didn't realize. When Rainer asked if they had a reservation for us the guy at the reception answered eagerly in broken English: Yes Yes! A trip to the beach and a shower later we got told they had no reservation for us and we were in the wrong hotel ;). We visited the proper Hotel Nais and tried to resolve the issue, but the reception girl spoke so badly English she couldn't grasp our problem and kept asking if we wanted to see the room ;D. A lot of talk later we managed to split the costs off one night over both hotels, as they belong to the same family... ;)
Next stop was the capital Tirana. We arrived in the middle of the day, the heat was ruthless... In the evening the temperatures dropped enough to explore the city. We visited the main square, saw the Albanian Fried Chicken and strolled through the party & bar district. 
The following day Genti & I continued on to Mazedonia whereas Rainer stayed for one more night before flying home.

Fun facts: 
  • Seeing 151'000€ cars in a country with an average monthly income of 380€
  • On our entire way through Albania we counted at least 12 abandoned gas stations... O_o. 
  • We saw six weddings in one day
  • Some times they add an additional zero to the numbers/bill (has to do with the old currency...)