Nov 27th to Dec 4th 2015
We had another eventful journey this time in a taxi with a nice Albanian man that wanted to practice his English, he told us lots of Albanian legend stories as we were stuck in a massive traffic jam it was a very slow trip from Tirana to Durres, one that was meant to take around 35 minutes ended up taking well over 1 hour, but at least we learnt a lot of Albanian Stories. He also noted down for us at the end a film of one of the legends that we should watch.
Sunset’s at the Beach
The sunsets are incredible, feels like they last longer here…we start watching the sunset around 4.00 go back and come out for dinner around 6 and the sunset is still in full swing. It’s always lovely to watch the sunset into the ocean. Not a sight you could ever get bored of.
The beach is large and sandy, during this off season time it has mainly closed restaurants all along the front, you can see all the sun beds packed away ready for next summer, a few still scattered on the beach, and the fun paddle boats laying upside down, it all being a very real reminder that we are moving further away from that lovely warm weather.
Apparently this beach gets vey busy during summer months with Kosovo tourists, with them not having a beach you can understand why they flock down here.
It’s not the cleanest beach, the restaurants that are open do rake the rubbish in front of their restaurant, so you can see that if all restaurants did the same then it would be a nice beach.
I enjoyed walking around the amphitheatre, once again made you really think about how old this was and what used to happen in the stadium, I like it when things spark something in the kids and this sparked Jacobs and Lucas’s imaginations. We actually got shown around by our taxi driver, (Note Julie didn’t realise it was our driver, she’d been in the back seat, so it was bit of a surprise for her when he came back to the car with us, lol) he tried in very broken English and mainly gestures and animal sounds to tell us what was what, we went through tunnels and really took in our surroundings. A lot of work is being done to excavate the amphitheatre further.
Durres Street Art
Lunch in Durres City
We went into Durres I was keen to have a proper look around, as soon as we got out the car we had kids begging for money, this makes me sad because I don’t know their story. We went and had lunch and couldn’t help watching them from the window of the restaurant, saw some people hand them pieces of fruit and thought that was probably the best thing to hand over to them, Jake and Luke asked why they were not at school and we talked about the possible situations, when we came out of the restaurant Grant gave the boys a bit of money to hand to these kids, I noticed that some of the real young ones were smoking. I think in the future I would prefer to also hand them a piece of fruit or something else to eat.
I didn’t really like Durres City, I felt uncomfortable, it wasn’t clean but I guess I didn’t expect it to be, most of the buildings were derelict or half built, it was busy and chaotic which I do normally like but here I didn’t. It made me glad that we had booked our accommodation by the beach rather than in town.
The Venetian Tower
This and the amphitheatre are really interesting, in building terms the venetian Tower is a rose between lots of thorns…Inside it is actually a Bar, decked out to perfection, in one of the photos you can see Lucas lounging inside..and the boys climbing down from the top where there are also tables and chairs around the battlements.
The one thing that has captured us is how friendly and kind the Albanian people are. We had been warned about them by various people in neighbouring countries, mainly that they would try to con us and that it was dangerous at night time, but they’ve been helpful courteous and to the best of our knowledge fair, they often even try to refuse tips.
On our first night we went to the Restaurant that our host George had recommended ‘Pampas’ it was right on the beach, the restaurant was really nice the staff really friendly and they did lots of nice little extra’s like bring out a complimentary dessert for us all to try..the food was good. We actually came back here a lot, the price was cheap, the only time it was a little expensive was when Grant and I had a very large fish each.
We went in search for somewhere that did Pizza, every where we had tried had stopped doing Pizza, they only do them during the busy season. We walked to every open restaurant / Hotel along the front until we got to Bar Arberia and finally were told yes..so we went back grabbed the boys and had dinner here, after that we actually came back a few times as the fish here was the best.
I don’t think I have been anywhere where the mosquitos have been so big and so violent in their bite, Grant got bitten so badly on his wrist. They also don’t make a sound, they are very strange here like a whole different breed of Mosquito. So if visiting Durres I would suggest bringing some Mosi repellent with you.
As the weather was getting colder we were a little worried about what the heating would be like in the next apartment, this apartment was certainly the most basic of apartments that we have had so far, but they had heating and enough beds for us all more than that the hosts were extremely kind, George is the cousin of the host and he made sure we had everything that we needed, he even drove us to the supermarket so we could stock up on a few bits.
Airbnb Durres – This apartment had 1 bedroom, a very small kitchen and a small bathroom.
The hosts were very friendly and did as much as they could to make our stay comfortable.
There was a little mini market close by and a few good restaurants, I’m sure in season this area is buzzing.
Cost $274 NZD for 7 nights (100 pounds)