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Old 07-31-2006, 11:16 PM   #1
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Well Im in Naples right now and will be heading to Greece in just a couple of days. After Greece, we are going to be heading up to Croatia but really wanted to find a place to stay for a day or two so that we are not in transit for 48 nonstop hours. Does anybody have any opinions on Albania, I know that it is incredibly cheap but is their anything to see? Thanks for all the help, Ryan.
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Old 08-01-2006, 12:07 AM   #2
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Don't have my guidebook right to hand, but a friend of mine visited Albania back in the bad old days, and absolutely loved it. There may not be the touristy infrastructure that you'll find other places, but he really enjoyed the "other-ness" of Albania. It's not so isolated now, but I imagine it will give you a unique outlook on life, history, politics that is increasingly difficult to experience even in the former Soviet Union.

I'd definitely break the long journey there - even if there's nothing to do at all (which I doubt - there's always a strange museum of some sort), you can just enjoy a rest day and a totally unique experience.

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Old 08-01-2006, 06:27 AM   #3
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ajb3000 is doing a trip in Eastern Europe and spent some time in Albania. He loved it ! Read his on-the-road report, below :

Originally posted by ajb3000@Jun 24 2006, 06:55 AM
OK, I will start of with this: Albania is fucking awesome!

Now onto the details.* The coach journey was pretty cool and I got to meet some Albanians for the first time (actually every single person on the coach bar me was Albanian).* I sat next to an old guy who was very friendly and despite not speaking any english we were talking (using sign language mostly) for a while and he even offered to buy me breakfast when we stopped for a break in Albania as I had no Leke on me.* I also spoke to a very sweet girl who could speak a bit of English.* As soon as we crossed the border to Albania the roads practically disappeared and the rest of the journey was very bumpy.* I also noticed that there is rubbish littered absolutely everywhere, but looking past that, the landscape is absolutely amazing.

Upon arriving in the city I found a hotel for 20 euro, bit of a dive but I was too tired to look around.* Vlore is nothing special, even being Albania's second largest city I'd walked right through the centre of town and seen everything worth seeing in about 2 hours.* I then headed to the beach, sat on the wall and immediately I was approached by a girl who asked if I wanted to make a baby with her?!?

After this however, Albania and its people have been nothing but amazing.* That evening I went into a bar to watch the Holland vs Argentina match and started talking to a guy sitting next to me (women don't seem to go to bars at all here), within minutes the whole bar were trying to talk to me in any common languages we could use.* They even bought me crisps and one guy got his son to come and translate.

The following morning I took a bus to Llgora and walked the remaining 2km to the summit, passing many groups of teenagers collecting different kinds of flowers and insects, school project I assume.* Everyone stared at me as if they couldn't believe what they were seeing and a few of them tried to start a conversation.* A couple of cars stopped and tried to talk to me as well but next to no-one speaks English so it's difficult.* Upon getting to the summit and enjoying the incredible view of the hills plumitting into the crystal clear sea below, I hitched a lift down the other side to a tiny village called Dhermi, where I spent all afternoon on a huge practically deserted beach with the most amazingly clear and warm water I have ever seen.

That evening I decided to hike to Drymades, another beach 3km away, 1km uphill then 2km back down.* I made it to the top and nearly passed out so I sat down to have a drink and this kid on a motorbike stopped and asked where I was going, I said Drymades and he told me to get on the back.* He then took me all the way to the beach, dropped me off and went back the way he came, how about that for hospitality!* I found a wooden chalet (centre parks style but smaller) for 15 euros so decided to stay there, it was practically on the beach and I could hear the sea as I was laying in bed.

The following day I hiked back to the main village and hitched a lift back to Vlore and could a shared taxi to Berat where I am now.* I've had people call out from across the street "hello tourist" and I feel like a bit of a celebrity.* One more night here and then off to Tirana tomorrow.

Transport here is not easy, there are no designated bus stops or timetables, you flag down a bus when one passes and get on, so a lot of the time it's much easier to hitch a lift.* Also hotels are easy to find, always seem to have room and generally cost 15-20 euro a night.

Take it easy.

Originally posted by ajb3000+Jun 26 2006, 08:27 AM--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(ajb3000 @ Jun 26 2006, 08:27 AM)</div>
The longer I stay in Albania the more I love the country.* After Dhermi I went to Berat, an amazingly beautiful city.* I went to a bar to watch the football and started chatting to a guy who works as a waiter at the hotel I was staying at.* That evening he got a load of friends together and took me out clubbing.* They were all incredibly nice and kept buying me drinks, refusing to let me pay for them.

I'm now in Tirana were 1/3 of the population live and finally discovered where all the attractive women are hiding!* Met some really cool australians at the hostel so going to watch their match later this afternoon.

Two more days here then it's off to Kosovo.

As for costs, hotels are by far the most expensive thing, everything else is very very cheap.* I went out last night to a bar in Tirana and paid only 100 leke (about 60p) for a 0.5l glass of beer.* A furgon (shared taxi) from Berat to Tirana, which took nearly 3 hours, cost me 400 lek (so just over 2 pounds).

Also the entire country looks as though it's being built, laying new roads everywhere, building etc, the locals say things are improving very rapidly.

@Jul 2 2006, 09:58 AM
Northern Albania is much poorer than the rest of the country, there's a lot of abandoned factories and the roads are in a terrible terrible state.* I spent one day in a town called Kruja just north of Tirana and they had constant power cuts while I was there.

I'm now in Prishtina, Kosova.* The journey here was an overnight bus ride through the mountain roads in the north, my god that was the worst journey of my life!* I got no sleep as it was so bumpy, they were playing terrible Albanian music all night (sounds a lot like Arabic music), and the roads were half falling down the cliff with no barriers or anything.

Anyway, I got here and it's a pretty cool place.* I'm staying with a guy from Couchsurfing (whose phone number i noted down before the website died, apparently permanently!) in Pristhina.* There are KFOR soldiers and UN vehicles absolutely everywhere, never seen so many soldiers in one place before.* It was even more intense when I went to Mitrovice earlier today, it's a town with a serbian enclave on one side of the river, so very heavily protected.* There was even a soldier keeping an eye on some serbian children playing football.* Crossing into the enclave is like going to a different country, they use the serbian language and cyrillic alphabet (as opposed to albanian and latin in the rest of kosova), they use dinars instead of euros, and all cars have serb number plates.

I've uploaded a few photos here

people are people

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