View from our apartment in Pogradec, Albania with the mountains of North Macedonia in the background.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Pogradec, Albania.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Shkoder, Albania on May 19th!

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Despite some issues, we still really like the city of Tirana, Albania

The rain finally stopped after lunch yesterday, but it was around 2:30pm before we felt it was clearing enough to risk going for a walk. We planned a route that would take us along the small Lana River that flows through the city.

Our maps.me app showed that there were walking paths on both sides of the river. And in the downtown core, we knew that was the case. But when we arrived at the section of the river that is closest to our apartment, it was disappointing.

Residential and commercial properties back onto the river at this section, and nothing has been done to beautify the area with proper paths and park space. Lots of garbage, and the paths were just trails which were of course very muddy due to the rain. We did one quick section and then got back onto the roads.



While we were making our way along the muddy trail, we watched a lady walk out of her backyard and toss three bags of trash right into the river. She didn't even try to be stealth about it, and we were close enough that she could see we were there. Unbelievable. Now we know why the riverbanks are littered with trash. 

Of course this river empties directly into the ocean, so now we know why the shoreline down there is also so littered with trash.

Despite the trashy areas that we have seen, we still really like the downtown central area of the city!

We have seen this before in a few other cities. The best example I can think of is the city of Morelia, Mexico. The downtown area is beautiful, but as soon as you get out of the central area, it's a dump with graffiti and garbage everywhere.

At least there isn't graffiti all over Tirana. In that regard it's pretty clean.

Nice pedestrian street.

Paper airplane sculpture.

This traffic circle normally has a nice looking fountain running.
But it may have been shut off for the winter.



A sign indicated that this is an old government building.

Looks a little spooky, doesn't it?

I've been needing a haircut again. The last one was January 12th in Antalya, Turkey. I didn't want to go into a barber that was busy or had people waiting. So every time we walked by a barber shop, we would look to see if they were busy. Sure enough, we eventually spotted one where the guy was sitting looking at his phone, and there was nobody else in the shop.

Getting a trim.

The guy spoke quite good English, so we were able to have a bit of conversation.

Notice the sign above the mirror that says "Canada"? We asked him about that, and it turns out that one of the other barbers that works there was from Canada. We asked where, and he tried to say the word "Saskatchewan", but he didn't quite get it right. That's okay, there are people in Canada who can't pronounce it properly either! He looked it up on his phone and said he was from the city of Regina.

There, that's better!

I had read online that a haircut should cost between 300 to 600 lek, and that it wasn't expected to tip, although a maximum100 lek tip would be appreciated.

The price was 400 lek, and I gave him 500 lek ($6.00 CAD, $4.85 USD).

Another interesting mural.

Scenery along the way.

Big old apartment building in the central area.

We made it back home around 5:00pm and had walked 10.2 kms (6.4 miles).

I read yesterday that some areas of the mountain communities near here got 30 to 60 cms (12 to 24 inches) of snow over the weekend!

This Tuesday morning, the sun is shining here in Tirana! We are headed out for another road trip, this time over to the coastal city of Durres.

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RV Keyless Entry Lock with Remote. These things are finally coming down in price. This one is a new product release, and it's the cheapest I've ever seen.

And in Canada...


18 comments:

  1. Looks like an interesting adventure. I wonder what the cultural issue is with just dumping trash, a lack of trash collection? Cost? A lack of awareness of the impact?

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    1. We think that exploring Albania is definitely going to be an interesting adventure and we can't wait to get started. :-)

      We have no idea what the cultural issue is with dumping garbage all over the place, there are definitely big communal trash bins on along most streets for people to put their trash in, so there really is not excuse for throwing it in the river like that. Maybe lack of education in school about the environment! We really aren't sure what the cause might be. It was just sad to see. We really hope things will be better out in the countryside.

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    2. it's not a cultural reason but rather one of belonging to the place where they live. there were no houses here before. they were built in a hurry and without building permits by people who came from other regions to live in the capital where the possibilities of finding a job are greater. the people who live here are not yet stabilized and hope to move to richer parts of the city. hence the lack of attention to waste. they are not yet connected with the place where they live. they only keep their house clean inside.

      Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

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    3. Thank you for your explanation. We hope eventually that mindset will change with time and that they can continue a nice pathway down the river sides like they have done beside the river in the downtown area itself.

      We really are enjoying our time here in Albania and we try hard not to let things like this affect the way that we look at different countries. We have seen issues like this in many different countries and have still thoroughly enjoyed our visits.

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  2. Of course this is only a few days into Albania but I find it totally uninteresting...bunkers? Meh Maybe 10 years from now it will be a different clean and cultural city. Seems they are just starting to recover from being under communist rule.

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    1. Rita, from the photos I've seen here so far it it has a similar feel to the Spain I visited as a child in the late 50's, that was the result of a long term right wing dictatorship. Maybe a previous long term dictator is the common reason?

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    2. Rita, I think that we have shown a lot more to the Tirana area than just the bunkers but they are part of the history of the country. As you have said we are only a week into our trip and because of the weather we haven't been out exploring a lot. We think you may change your mind about Albania as we move forward but if you don't, that's ok not everyone is going to be impressed with every country!

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  3. I like the mural with the bookshelves! So much more interesting and colorful than a plain concrete building. Nice haircut, Kevin! I am looking forward to my first haircut since last June once I am vaccinated. I've been self-trimming a little, but it's pretty out of control! It's a real shame about the trash; definitely reminds me of some of the things we saw in Mexico and Belize.

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    1. I love that mural too! Actually I really like most murals, whatever they may be. :-)

      He does look so much better now that his hair has been cut. I hope that you won't have to wait too much longer before you are able to go and get yours cut.

      Yes, the trash also reminds us of Mexico, at times we actually think it may be worse! We are really hoping that it will be better once we are really out in the countryside.

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  4. Cultural habits are hard to break. In many parts of Mexico during a heavy rain, people will dump their trash in the street gutter. Ask them where it goes and they'll say, "allá muy lejos", very far away!

    Anxious to see some more bunkers and what they use them for these days.

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    1. This is very true! We really hope that they are teaching these things to the children in school because they are their future and it has to start with them. For us personally, I would hate to wake up and look out my window at trash! :-(

      I am sure that we will see more bunkers, not sure if many are being used for anything of any purpose though. Many that we have seen so far certainly aren't but I am sure there will be a few that are.

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  5. That's something with the lady throwing the trash out, and didn't mind if you saw her doing it! And Kevin is looking spiffy again! So what's next on your agenda? Surprise us... Take care, Rawn Stone

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    1. Yep, we couldn't believe our eyes when we saw her just tossing those bags of trash in the river without giving it a second thought! :-(

      You, will see what is next in our next post. We are almost always doing something and sometimes we don't even know what is next on our agenda. :-)

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  6. It seems those at the lower end of society don't take pride in keeping things clean.
    Still a beautiful area.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

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    1. It is really hard to say, who it is that is doing all the littering but hopefully education will help. I think it is like Mexico and these changes will all come in time. We agree it is still a beautiful area.

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  7. The book shelf mural is so cool and interesting! I also like how some of the taller, modern buildings and the ones being built have more stylish and non-conventional architecture.....hopefully, the garbage situation will improve there as the government strives to modernize and attract more visitors. Enjoying learning about Tirana.

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    1. I know, I really liked that mural as well! :-)

      We were quite impressed with a lot of the new towers and buildings that are in the city, especially the downtown area, they really are interesting and very modern looking. A nice change I am sure for the people that were so used to the boring looking communist buildings.

      We are hoping the same regarding the garbage. Hopefully time and education will help with this situation.

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