It’s Thursday! So, it’s Daydream Destination Day!
This week, our contributor is Elena, who is sharing about a trip she had to Albania!
In 2011, a friend was getting married in Tirana, Albania. Who goes to a wedding of a college friend in a small, just opened (Albania was closed due to its communist reign until 1993) European country? My sister and I! We decided to do a 10 day European get away. Venice, Florence, Pisa, Tirana, then Athens were on the agenda.
It was an amazing trip, quick and busy but we learned so much and had a ton of fun (and great food).
My favorite part was Albania though. Unlike the places we visited, Albania was not a tourist destination. New to visitors, the locals tended to gawk at us but were friendly as well. The fiancee of my friend rented a bus and all of the foreign friends toured the country. We made great friendships too!
We stayed in a local bed and breakfast downtown where very serious and statuesque police would stand guard with their large rifles but play cards, drinking Raki, on a card table in the middle of the street during their off time. We had seafood on the beautiful Mediterranean, in the port city of Durres, and wine on the country side of Elbansan, uninterpreted by other tourists and annoying overpriced vendors. The wedding was a 3 day event with tons of food, wine, and raki! Seemingly the whole city attended!
We took a ski lift tour after the festivities and saw the country side from above. Woman and children who looked more from the 18th century played with goats and hauled buckets to their homes on the rolling hillside.
Albania is beautiful. The gem of a country is budget friendly as its little known as a tourist trap, has beautiful castles, landscapes, and sunsets. The cities are quaint and set you back to a more innocent time. Their history is complex and intriguing (visit the museums downtown). The people, excited to finally have visitors, take you in like family and are genuinely curious about life outside their little country.
This trip was 7 years ago so things may have changed but I doubt Albania lost any of its authentic and raw beauty where life is simple but good. I would highly recommend a visit! We flew into Italy and took a direct flight from Pisa to Tirana on a cute, cheap airline!
Thanks, Elena, for sharing such an awesome experience! Have info to share and add? Comment below!
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