lower Balkans & Greece travel blog

our 5* cruise liner to Albania was fun.

Gilli's top bunk.

finally, Albania.

not really beach weather.

main street Durres was a mixture .....

...... of grand hotels ......

......not so grand buildings .....

....... and dangerous open pits.

the seafront gave a pleasant presentation.

our favourite drinking place .....

...... was on top of an ancient tower .....

...... with a superb inside lounge.

We taxied to the Durres beach area to check in to our hotel and enjoy a short break.

Unfortunately our Albanian arrival stalled momentarily. Our hotel had overbooked and we were shunted to another. Not as good a location but a great property all the same.

After such a fun 24 hours we figured we deserved to dine out so we picked a really nice restaurant and chose a verandah setting. We were on a roll again until we ordered wine to celebrate our first visit to Albania.

Oh, no! this can't be true …. “you don't sell wine ? “ We were devastated.

Our meals were accompanied with Coca-Cola and we still haven't quite got over the trauma.

Apart from those few hiccups we did notice that things seemed calmer in Albania. Traffic was quieter, slower and with very little horn blowing. Streets and walkways were quite clean but everything was in need of a fair degree of maintenance.

Oddly, dogs ruled, they were everywhere.... and very few cats. Very different to Italy.

Later and following an interesting bus ride we put in a few hours walking around Durres city and found once again that the seafront areas were the best. A medieval Tower with a roof top lounge was our pick for wine and nibbles. Much care was needed as the old steps to the top were extremely steep.

There were not many historical sites in the city so we headed back to the beach area.

What was not in short supply was Mercedes Benz. We had read somewhere that Albania had absorbed many stolen Mercedes cars in earlier years and incredibly the sheer number of them on the roads did tend to substantiate the article. They were everywhere.

For us though, it was a flash little Skoda and although it was far from what we had pre-ordered we were hopeful she would be up to the demands we were about to make on her.

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