Albania

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2013: 5 cycling days, 1 rest day

 

3 replies »

  1. Hi Andrew, love reading your blogs. By chance I met your cousin Richard at a campsite in Nevers, France who told me about you so I looked you up. Looks like you have done some amazing trips. Would you recommend Albania? If you see Richard, please pass on our blog site, we are aiming to make it to Greece. https://cakesnotcarbon.wordpress.com

    Look forward to reading more of your posts.

    Thanks
    Jay

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    • Hi Jay
      Yes, Richard texted me saying that he had met you. I will pass on the URL of your own website.
      Cycling through Albania was my ‘outside-of-the-comfort-zone’ period during the trip along the Mediterranean in 2013 but what I found was very different to what I expected to find. You may find it interesting to read the Albania section of the book where I talk about my experiences (you can download it to a tablet / phone via Kindle or iTunes – the links are on the homepage of CyclingEurope.org) but, briefly… It was much more westernised that I expected it to be, especially in the towns and cities. The country has clearly made massive progress since it threw off the shackles of communism in the dying days of the 20th century. I didn’t camp at all in the country although there are campsites around (I just didn’t see any of them) so I stayed in hotels which ranged in price from €20 for a room above a petrol station to €70 for a very nice boutique place in Tirana the capital. Outside of the towns the scenery can be spectacular and expect to be doing some significant climbing. Like the British, the Albanians seems to have adopted the method of building roads up big hills that involves avoiding switchback roads. That means the roads can be comically steep at times. The road quality is equally comical – watch out for the potholes but keep an even keener eye on the traffic; Albanians have yet to adopt westernised safe driving habits. I think there attitude is that if they go fast enough they will fly over the holes in the road. It might be a tactic that actually works but it isn’t great for cyclists. There’s lots to see; I was particularly interested by the more recent post-war history of the country and in a place like Tirana, there’s plenty of that to see. The capital is well worth a short detour from the coast.
      Hope this is of some use. Good luck with the rest of your trip. I’ll post something about what you are doing on the ‘latest news’ section of the website so that may get you a few extra followers.
      Best wishes & happy cycling!
      Andrew

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