Passage Lounge, Tirana

Passage Lounge, Tirana

Sometimes-Sunday Coffee Club Sunday, 7 June 2015 Passages Cafe (Rr Lidhja e Prizrenit and¬†Rr Janos Hunyadi – map)     Passage Lounge, Tirana   Tucked away on the kind of alley you only find when you are running late and trying to make up time, Passage lounge is on an island of buildings squeezed between one-way streets and only big enough for a cafe, a butcher and a corner market. I’ve passed this spot several[…]

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Green Coast Beach near Dhermi in Albania

The Best Beaches in Albania

The Best Beaches in Albania Even discussing the best beaches in Albania is tough. Not only does Albania have a wealth of beaches to choose from, but choosing “the best beach” depends a lot on what you want. Naturally, if you like to party, you will choose a different beach than if you like a secluded and quiet spot in the sun. With this in mind, I’ve chosen several beaches as “the best beaches in[…]

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The little wooden bridge leading to St. Mary's Monastery outside Vlore, Albania

Three Albanian Monasteries

Shrouded in Darkness, Bathed in Light Three Albanian Monasteries   “…but you know Albania also has beautiful monasteries.” My friend and I were chatting at my local coffee shop about Sveti Naum – a now-famous UNESCO World Heritage Site on the shores of Lake Ohrid gifted to what was then the Kingdom of Yugoslavia by King Zog of Albania in the early part of the 20th Century. To be honest, before my friend spoke those[…]

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Vlora, Albania as seen from Kanine castle.

Traveling in Albania – FAQ’s

Traveling in Albania – FAQ’s Is it safe? Yes, it is absolutely safe. Albanian people are friendly, helpful, and hospitable and you are unlikely to encounter any problems. I have encountered only small problems while traveling by myself in Albania (I had a sober stalker in Gjirokaster and a drunk one who grabbed my arm in Korca, both times locals intervened), and in general I feel safe (if regarded as a bit of an oddity)[…]

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Kruja is one of the four castles of Tirana

Albania: Castles of Tirana

Castles of Tirana Tirana’s importance in Albanian history is a relatively recent affair. Officially established in 1614 when Sulejman Pasha Bargjini built a hamam and some shops, the town remained small and relatively insignificant until 1920 when Albania’s founding fathers decided that the little town right at the center of geographic Albania should be the new nation’s capital. Before that, Tirana was a small community made important only by the wealthy agricultural families who farmed[…]

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Tirana with mountainous background

Albania: My Tirana Top 10

My Tirana Top 10 I’ve had a lot of time to think about “my Tirana Top 10.” Since first arriving in the city over 9 months ago, I’ve explored near and far corners finding my way into famous abandoned buildings and out to large, open expanses of green space in impoverished suburbs. Here are the things I tell visitors to do when they come to Tirana. 1. Climb The Pyramid “The Pyramid” is a large,[…]

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Balloons, Candied Apples, Sunflower Seeds, Ballakume, and cheap plastic toys are sold at little stalls and stands along the Boulevard in Elbasan during the Summer Day Festival

Albania: Summer Day in Elbasan

¬†Celebrating Dite i Veres in Elbasan Albania’s Summer Day Festival When it comes to Albania’s Summer Day festival, Elbasan is where you’ll find the party. Every year on March 14th, visitors from near and far descend on the little city to celebrate Dite i Veres – Summer Day. Most sources link this festival to a pagan tradition the held that the Mountain Muse (Zana Malit: goddess of hunting, forests, and all of nature) would emerge[…]

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