The drive from Greece to Albania was a bit uneventful so most of us slept on the bus including myself. We had a quick stop for lunch just after the boarder (finally I got my passport stamped as I was travelling europe on my nz one for that very reason).
Amanda, our tour leader gave us a brief history lesson on Albania. I am not ashamed to admit I was almost in tears hearing the horrible treatment they endured even in recent history. This was my lifetime! Roads removed, boarders closed, the elite and educated sent to all i can decribe as concentration camp, families torn apart and possibly never reunited again.
My manager at APX is Albanian who moved to NZ as soon as she could, she would have lived through this, I immediately felt pain for her. How can something like this happen in our lifetimes? Ancient history yes, but not in the last 20 years!! Disgusting treatment to other humans.
We arrived in Tirana, and had a guided tour from a local. She pointed out the coloured buildings which were originally communist style of plain, boring, concrete blocks. These are now brightly painted to bring joy to everyday life. The last 20 years Albania has tried to shed as much of its restrained past behind and is doing well. There are parks, statues of Gjergj Skanderbeg (who is their national hero) and a Palace of culture which ironically wad a gift from the Soviets during the 60s.
Not necessarily a tourist destination, it’s off the beaten track and taking the road less traveled.
We arrived at our apartments and checked in, after 3 nights (or 4 if you include the ferry) aboard a moving vessel it was nice to sleep in a bed that wasn’t rocking. There was a suggestion to go to “the block” and check out the bars but I think everyone was tired so got an early night.
This was just a short trip through Albania. It would have been nice to explore the city more but maybe another time. I’m sure there is so much to see and do here.
Today, we were to drive to Croatia via Montenegro and Bosnia.