I arrived into Tirana on a Saturday evening. As I stepped out of the plane and walked down the stairs, I was a little surprised by how “warm” it was, at least compared to my other previous destinations. At the airport, I met a half British, half Swiss girl that was working in Albania, who asked me if I wanted to share a taxi with her into town. It ended up working out well – we both saved money on the trip and had a nice conversation about the work we were doing (or trying to do). I met Kate and her apartment mate and we took a bus ride to town for a night out. That was fun. Of course, ended the night with Kolonat, a McDonald’s wanna be that supposedly had the “best chicken nuggets”. I’ll have to disagree with that claim although they were quite good.
On to the next day, we took a leisurely stroll into town, stopping at some souvenir shops and some sights including this historical bridge, some colorful buildings, the river, and student city. We walked through different parts of the city, and stopped for a bit at Meduza, an Irish Bar, where I had a sausage sandwich and the local Albanian Beer, Korca. On the way back, we walked a different route weaving through Skanderberg square where we saw some important buildings.
First impressions ofTirana – Albania is definitely a developing country and there’s much to be done with infrastructure –lots of uneven roads and large potholes, but overall friendly people and an interesting history. Today, I did a day trip to Berat by bus. Will update on that later.