Tirana, Albania: First Impressions

Despite the very best efforts of the combined armed forces of Albania (the drivers & the roads), Reggie and I have arrived in the Albanian capital, Tirana. We are just about in one piece after the ordeal of the last few days and are going to be taking it easy for the next 48 hours exploring this interesting city. It’s a place that initially feels more out of Europe than within it (I can’t decide if it’s more North African or Middle Eastern); I suppose the Islamic influence has a role to play, notably the minarets dotted here and there but there is also an element of busy chaos. That said, all I can see from our elevated position just above the main square in a cafรฉ beneath the opera house is order & calm. It somehow resembles a picture of a modern town in Britain in the 1970s from the town planner’s guide book (one of my all-time favourite reads…).
We are booked in at the ’boutique’ Hotel Vila Alba just around the corner. Between now and check in time of 1pm I shall be sitting here reading about Tirana from the Bradt guide, planning a course of action for the next two days. After midday I may even squeeze in a celebratory beer. There do seem a lot of things to celebrate on this journey but at the moment the celebrations are being hard earned! Albanian Roads 0, Andrew/Reggie 1.


Categories: Cycling

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What do you think?