Tirana, Albania
Albania, Friday Snapshots

Friday Snapshots: Three Days in Tirana, Albania

Not even one week ago, I said my final goodbye to Macedonia and departed Lake Ohrid in the direction of the Albanian capital city, Tirana.

I had very few expectations for Albania, to be honest.  I knew the southern coast was supposed to be beautiful, but since I was starting in Tirana in the north and heading further north to Montenegro after that, it felt too far out of reach.

There are coastal cities near the capital as well, of course, but as my bus zipped through my next best option, Durrës, before looping back to drop me off in Tirana I cringed at the thought of wading through the throngs of tourists that crowded the beachfront.

I was craving time by the sea, and it didn’t seem Albania was the place for me to find it.  So, somewhat regrettably, I spent just three days in this formerly communist country (as recently as 1992) before deciding to hop the border in search of charming seaside villages and breezy beach days.

Under different circumstances, it’s quite possible I’d have had the resolve to stick it out and discover what Albania has to offer.  Instead, I spent my days drenched in my own sweat more often than not, defending myself against hungry mosquitos, and finding no real camaraderie with my fellow travelers who couldn’t quite grasp the concept that I actually had work to do and couldn’t spend all my time drinking beer with them.

Perhaps this time around Albania and I just weren’t meant to click.

The one day I did manage to withstand the heat long enough to plod around town for a few hours validated what I already felt–that I didn’t care to stay in Tirana for a single day longer.  These are the few photos that came out of that final day.

Please note that this post is in no way a commentary on the merits of Tirana or Albania in general as a travel destination.  I’m only keeping it real and sharing my personal experience, which was largely affected by circumstance.
Tirana, Albania Tirana, Albania Tirana, Albania Tirana, Albania The Grand Park, Tirana, Albania Tirana, Albania

Have you ever been somewhere that just didn’t feel right?  Did you stick it out or make your escape like me?

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  • Reply Katie July 10, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    Man, I don’t know if it’s getting older or picking the wrong hostels or the time I prioritize for writing or what, but more and more I’m running into the same problem at hostels, too. I like my partying and the occasional day drinking, but all the time?! Hope you’ll have the chance to return to Albania when the circumstances are better for you – I’ve read beautiful things!
    Katie recently posted…Melbourne Neighborhoods: Where to Eat and Drink in St. KildaMy Profile

    • Reply Leah Davis July 11, 2015 at 1:10 am

      I really do hope I can return to Albania someday too. This time it just wasn’t a good fit for me, for a mulititude of reasons. The hostel I’m in now (in Montenegro) has been so much better in terms of people leaving me the eff alone when they know I’m working. It’s all about respect, really, and I didn’t find any at the hostel in Tirana.

  • Reply Justine July 10, 2015 at 2:25 pm

    Oh Leah, you’re so not alone in this. It’s pretty incredible how much your circumstances can impact your opinion of a place. I’ve beelined it out of a lot of places in my time. Sometimes I regret not giving certain destinations a fair shake, but then again I know that considering the circumstances I probably wasn’t going to enjoy them anyway. I say it’s always best to listen to your gut. Also, I HATE mosquitoes. So I would have been out of there too 😉 I hope you found a more work-conducive place to stay!
    Justine recently posted…6 Reasons I’m So Excited to Return to the USMy Profile

    • Reply Leah Davis July 11, 2015 at 1:12 am

      Thanks Justine! You’re so right. I did listen to my gut this time and I knew immediately that I made the right decision. There are still mosquitos where I am now haha but I guess that little problem is going to plague me no matter where I go now that it’s full on summer!

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