My car vacation has come to an end, I’m dropping the car off and spending a couple days walking around Tirana. I spent several days here 3 years ago, visiting museums, monuments and markets. After my first couple hours of walking around I realized I didn’t leave enough time to thoroughly explore Tirana.
I like biking the best, but walking really brings other highlights into focus. After I dropped off the car, I walked by a souvenir shop. There’s trouble, they have a 100 year old rug like the ones in the museums. I went back to the shop 3 times, I had to accept I was going to pay an extra 100 euro airline baggage fee, sold. I also went to the store where I had bought a t-shirt last time (she gave me a Albanian key chain for free). That particular neighborhood had a small Vegetable Market and the best olives I’ve ever had: not too salty, not covered in oil, perfectly spiced and mostly pit-free. Next time I buy a couple kilos to bring home. On one street it looked like people had cleaned out their closets to see what they could sell and make a little money. The bicycle vegetable market was the best, the customer did all her shopping there.
I had read about the Dajti Ekspres “Cable Car”, so I grabbed a taxi (too far to walk). There was a bar at the top that rotates, (expensive beer!). The sidewalk was blocked by 6 machine gun toting bank guards. They were delivering some money to the bank. I asked someone about it and they said they use to have a robbery problem, but not any more.
When I biked around last time, people used the few bike lanes for a quick and convenient parking spot. I actually had a guy apologize for parking in it last time. Most European cities are working hard to be the best European Bicycle City. Tirana is no different, they had all new off street bike lanes around the city center. The bad part is, not everyone respects it. Since the sidewalks were so full of people, the bike path was the less congested route. When I did see someone using the bike lane, they were ringing their bells full time. I saw lots of cyclists giving up on the bike lane and riding in the street. They also have a new bike share system, but I didn’t see any being used.
Here’s some misc. pictures that I thought were interesting and basically speak for themselves.
I bought lots of souvenirs: wood carving, stone carving, 3 rugs, handpainted ceramic bowl, Tirana beer mug and some handmade slippers for Natasa (no photo). I was shopping for a sweatshirt just before I left on the trip. Then I spotted this sweatshirt, in my favorite color. When wearing the sweatshirt I received so much free stuff from Albanians, both in Albania, Croatia and here in Slovenian. They buy me drinks, give me fruit but best of all I’ve been in lots of selfies with Albanians.
Thanks for coming along the last 2 months for me to finish blogging about my 3 weeks in Albania. I sorted 750 pictures, wrote some stories and added a few links, hopefully encouraging you to visit Albania. If you like this blog, tell your friends. Please comment and tell me what you like or something you would like to know about a country I have visited.
I will be visiting America starting in June for approximately 5 months. I’ve ridden the California coast 8 times. I’ve lived in Oregon 35 years and have never ridden the Oregon coast. So I will be riding my bicycle from Portland Oregon, down the Oregon coast to San Diego, California then visiting 3 National parks on my way to Death Valley. I love bike touring and plan to blog the whole trip. To keep up sign up for blog emails, bottom of main page.
Be sure to ride your bike and don’t diss the e-bike, it’s the future of transportation.
NEXT: I’m going to Kosovo March 8th for 3 weeks, I’m doing a bike tour as part of the trip.