Saturday, 12 November 2016

The tiny guide to Albania

An absolute one-off, Albania combines glorious scenery and a savage history with a big, crazy heart. Pretty much everywhere is...

A Londoner staring down the locals
You won't get caught in gangland crossfire and you won't be robbed. Bournemouth is scarier. You're more likely to be suffocated by kindness.

Just be careful crossing the road (Flickr video).

Albert Einstein - CC
Albania = lovely x lovely squared
Albania is the only occupied country that ended World War Two with more Jews than it started with. It also helped Einstein get to America some years earlier.

This is explained by a deep cultural obligation to help strangers, and we saw that first-hand in the hospitality of our Airbnb hosts and the friendliness of every soul we met. Aww.

Albanian coastline, beach
Where are the hotels?
Most of the country is mountainous and some peaks in the north and south are gorgeously immense, if you like that kind of thing.

Then there are the sweeping white beaches with no hotels (yet). And then the rivers, lakes (Flickr timelapse) and islands.

It's the original pocket-sized Eden.

Ksamil demolished hotel, Albania
Another government-demolished hotel. Aha.
In 1950-90 the place was, basically, North Korea. Every third person was detained, there were only 600 cars, 170,000 bunkers dotted the countryside and still do (Flickr photo) and then the place went bust*.

The effects are clear to see in attitudes, infrastructure and sights - and 1990s prices.

More snaps and videos from our 15-day visit (Flickr)

*Thankfully it is getting back on its feet now.

1 comment:

  1. Looks beautiful. Who knew. Next time put a R18 on shower shots!! ��