Category Archives: ALBANIA

SHKODRA, ALBANIA> my favorite place in the Balkans

I’ve been to Shkodra, 4 times in the past 7 years. I’ve been working on a Postcard project in Slovenia and thought the painting of my photo would make a nice postcard too. So I printed & sent 100 to a friend in Shkodra, Albania, the unreliable post of Albania? the cards never arrived. So I printed 200 and decided to deliver them and maybe make a little money?

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ALBANIA: KRUJE (handmade rugs) Shkodra (my favorite town in Albania)

     I found myself with a few extra days, so I head to Kruje,, home of Albanian handmade rugs.  This is my 4th time to Albania, it’s almost a second home.  I rented a car last time and passed 40 police checks and was never pulled over.  Well they finally pulled me over, for speeding,  it’s great being an American here, we made some small talk and I was set free.

Last time I drove this road there was a river I wanted a photo of.  I realized I was near the same river again, this time I stopped and took a picture.

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SHKODRA, ALBANIA: Eastern Europe’s Biking Capital. Part V

Sorry, this has taken so long to finish, it’s a busy life.
Shkodra was the first Albanian city I visited, 3 years ago  I was surprised by the number of cyclist, especially the number of older riders, who were nicely dressed for office jobs. HERE’S the history of the bicycle in Albania and especially Shkodra, it’s an interesting read.
I have an interesting history with Shkodra, HERE’S that story.  So needless to say I couldn’t stay at the hostel that I stayed at last time.  So I drove around until I spotted something interesting,

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A BICYCLE SIGN

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SARANDA, BUTRINT NATIONAL PARK & GJIROKASTER ALBANIA part IV

When I rode my bike into Saranda, 3 years ago, I was so happy to be here.  That was some of the most challenging biking I had ever done.  I went to the neighborhood I stayed in last time and found the beautiful Apollon Hotel.  I like staying just a 10 minute walk from town, it forces me to get some exercise!  Nothing has changed, 1/2 built buildings, gravel roads, garbage, dogs & cats everywhere.  I was talking with a realtor, he was telling me how much has changed in the last couple years. I told him nice try, it looks exactly the same to me as it did 3 years ago. Continue reading

ALBANIAN COAST & BEACHSIDE APT. PART III

I’m going to my little beachside apartment.  I really enjoyed staying in Dhermi 3 years ago and really look forward to returning.  Shopping in the store last time was humbling to say the least. Only Plain yougurt, meat- was to cut how much sausage you wanted, cheese-cut it off the block. The store has been remodeled and has lost a lot of it’s charm.  I bought pasta & sauce since there’s only one restaurant open.  I use to have a landscape business, so I asked the owners for some clippers and trimmed the trees and bushes around the apartments. Continue reading

ALBANIA RE-VISITED (by car), PART I BERAT

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When I biked through the Mediterranean 3 years ago, I picked Albania as my favorite country.  Why?  Number 1 is always the people, they were so warm, welcoming and generous.  The nature was spectacular, the history: (both the Roman & communism) was super interesting. The arts and crafts, especially the rug designs that are very vibrant & colorful.  Albania  offered the main things that interest me when traveling.  On a bike I  wasn’t able to buy the souvenirs that I wanted, like a rug.  So I had a mission on this trip (mission accomplished).
I have never rented a car when traveling, this will be a first.  I wanted to revisit people & places and retrace my bike tour route and also visit the middle of the country.  I first drove an hour to Durres, on the coast.  I’ve stayed here before, but never really connected with this town.  I got a great ocean view hotel for $25, with breakfast.
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