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