The third day was a magnificent day of leisure, exploration of the capital of Albania – Tirana, hanging with my friends and as well going to the nearby beach on the Adriatic Sea. Not any bicycle riding. Hey, it is not all in life about riding a bicycle, there is something also about walking.
Said this, I want only to show and tell about few of my impressions from Tirana.
All of my previous knowledge about Tirana is limited to a single photograph: The city centre, some traffic in the front and the national museum building, on which there is a mural. This image had been shown in the news in Yugoslavia and Macedonia over and over, ever since I remember that TV existed. And this same image, to my surprise, it was all there.
Though there is much more to the city centre than this image. The whole boulevard that goes on is full of buildings that mark Tirana and Albania. Buildings about which I can not say much but I do know it was nice to see and hear about. They also looked wonderful at night.
I can only emphasize one building: The Enver Hoxha’s mausoleum. I learned that this pyramid like structure is about to be torn down. Which is a pity, because it is an attraction in my perspective as a tourist.
Tirana is neither big nor small town. It is at a size that one can walk around and see most of it, but would not hurt to use some form of transport, like a bus or a bicycle even.
I decided to spend this day on foot. Considering the chaotic traffic the city has, it seemed wise to me that for the first encounter to leave the bicycle and head on foot. And it was a good decision since most of the people were out on the street, walking. Though there were a number of people on their bicycle as well.
Tirana seems to be working its way in becoming more bicycle friendly town. There is a rent a bicycle scheme. However not a lot of bicycle lanes.
The only bicycle, dedicated lane I saw was at the city centre, just where the national museum building was. And that was it.
The other things that I saw and experienced were more related to my personal taste. Like the Beer Garden, where they served locally made Czech beer. Or the marketplace around which there were a number of places with nice food. And not to miss out the Backpacker’s Hostel Tirana that has a café with a terrace and sometimes very nice concerts. Like the one where one of my friends – Gaf Gam Gaf Maf played. Check the concert out on you tube.
Another thing that I discovered on this day happened on the freeway going to Dures. My friends decided that we should visit the closest beach and have a swim in the Adriatic Sea. So we went. And on the way, in the evening on the setting sun, two road racing cyclists were having their daily training exercise. Using a dumper truck to shield from head wind. Ingenious. This also gave me the understanding that I too can take the freeway when I head to Dures the next day.
A bit to the north of Dures are the best beaches. At least this is what my friends told me. So they took me there. I may not be able to say exactly where I was. But in the sunset I saw my destination for the days to come – Italy.