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Welcome to my place . . . Albania

Tourism, Travel January 29, 2019

‘It’s good to appreciate how far Albania has come since the dictatorship ended in 1991’… Some 40 minutes’ drive from Tirana is the town of Kruja, set on a dramatic escarpment and home to the country’s largest antiques and handcrafts market. Handwoven kilims, bold and sometimes gaudy traditional costumes and carved wood utensils can all be bought very affordably, and there is plenty of communist-era memorabilia on sale too. If you can’t get to Kruja check out the newly refurbished covered market in Tirana for the excellent “mountain tea”…

The old town of Kruje (Krujë, Kruja), Albania, Europe : Stock Photo

Tirana city guide: Where to eat, drink, shop and stay in Albania’s capital

Food, Tourism, Travel January 22, 2019

Albania is coming in from the cold. After decades of isolation, Europe’s last undiscovered country is set on modernising and attracting visitors. Its capital, Tirana, is at the heart of this plan.

The first ever low-cost flights between the UK and Albania started in April 2018, when Wizz Air opened its new London Luton-Tirana route. And the historic city is in the midst of massive changes as part of the highly ambitious new Tirana 2030 project, devised by Milan’s Stefano Boeri Architects, which will totally reimagine Albania’s capital – filling it with concentric rings of green space, new public schools and eco-friendly housing.

tirana-overview.jpg

Brave World War 2 Halifax crew buried in dignified ceremony in Albania

History November 21, 2018

Seven crew members of the 148 (special duties) squadron RAF who were onboard the RAF Halifax JP244 aircraft have been laid to rest almost 75 years after they were killed carrying out a supply mission over Albania. A burial service to honour the crewmen was held earlier today (Wednesday 24 October) at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) Tirana Park Memorial Cemetery, Albania and was attended by Her Majesty’s Ambassador, His excellency Mr Duncan Norman MBE, family members and local dignitaries…

The 7 crewmen, Family copyright, all rights reserved

The Capital of Albania Has Transformed Into a Lively, Affordable Destination

Travel October 15, 2017

“Great energy comes from the young population that has inherited the hospitality and warmth of the Balkans combined with the Mediterranean spirit. All these youngsters travel and see the world, and we think that Tirana has all it takes to be a new favorited location.” In tandem with the Albanian Riviera’s beaches and the staggering natural vistas in the south-western part of the country on the Ionian Sea, buzzy Tirana is a delightful, cosmopolitan beginning to a seaside Balkan adventure…

Unexpected Highlights of a Trip to Albania

Travel September 2, 2017

What we found in Albania was a mix of remarkable natural beauty, deep history, tempting food, and some of the nicest people you’ll meet anywhere. It’s like Italy with limited public transportation and the French Riviera with more partially-constructed buildings and less attitude. Albania is like its neighbour to the south, Greece, but with far fewer tourists and a whole lot of Cold War bunkers. In a lot of ways, it’s probably like other parts of Europe were 30 or 40 years ago, which gives it a feeling all its own. You won’t find a McDonald’s or Starbucks here. And, yes, it is cheap. And safe…

Albania an important gateway in the heart of the Mediterranean

Culture, Travel July 18, 2017

One hour flight distance from European capitals. Stretches along seashores of the Adriatic and Ionian seas. More than 300km of coastline. Memorable holidays. Unexplored shores. A varying landscape of nature. More than 2700m high mountains. More than 7700 acres of forests. Hidden Valleys. In the heart of mountains, tall-stone architecture, guest houses. More than 3200 plant species. Among Europe’s biggest water resources. More than 500 lakes. 12 National parks spreading across 39% of the country. More than 20 underwater caves. Sport and adventure. More than 5000 years of history. 7 Ancient theatres. Unesco heritage. More than 95 cultural monuments. More than 250 days of sunshine per year. More than 160 castles and fortresses. Fresh bio food. Capital city Tirana is a dynamic vibrant metropol. Youngest population in Europe…
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Things to see and do in Albania

Travel July 15, 2017

Hike through the Albanian Alps. Explore ancient archaeological sites. Cycle the mountains for unbeatable views. Be on the look out for birds of prey. Find fantastic frescoes in Voskopoja. Delve into Tirana’s communist past. Uncover the legend of Rozafa Castle. Meet Albania’s national hero at Kruja. Explore the Ottoman architecture of Gjirokastra and Berati. Reclaim the abandoned city of Butrint. Raft down Albania’s rivers. Stand in awe at the religious art. Set sail on the Lake Komani ferry. And many more attractions…

Albania’s Block party – Rocking the Block in Tirana

Travel May 21, 2017

It may now be Albania’s liveliest neighbourhood, but a little over two decades ago it wasn’t even on the map. New bars appear almost daily and at weekends streets and sidewalks are packed with locals and tourists looking for a big night out. Dozens of cafes, bars and restaurants have made it Tirana’s premier nightspot. Everywhere there are references to the West especially the U.S., whose brand of free-market capitalism Albania has adopted with varying degrees of success. There are open-plan outdoor clubs where foreigners dance to thumping house music until the early hours. There are coffee shops where the staff call themselves baristas and care a little too much about coffee beans. The country is also one of Europe’s sunniest…

Albania Mania; Perfect beaches, mountain hikes and truly local food. Packing yet?

Travel May 12, 2017

Albania’s one-of-a-kind culinary scene and genuine slow-food network is straight from the pages of a locavore fairy-tale. Wedged between northern Greece, Kosovo, Macedonia, the mountains of Montenegro and the warm waters of the Ionian and Adriatic Seas, Albania is a small but fiercely proud country with a unique history, language and cuisine, one that is heavy with Italian and Turkish influence, yet unmistakably Albanian. For centuries, Albania has been conquered, invaded, carved up and isolated, creating a people who have learned to get by with what they have, which, fortunately, is a lot. From grapes to peppers, goats, fish and sheep, Albanian food is all about fresh ingredients and tried-and-true recipes that will leave you in awe of how good simple food can be.

A Weekend Road Trip Through Astounding Albania

Travel January 11, 2017

Why?  Why is the question I hear the most. Our long weekend was upon us and my co-workers know that I’m going to go someplace. Where? Many would ask, and then their eyes glaze over at the answer, “Albania”, because it’s a place they do not understand. They politely tell me to have a good trip and they’re off. Some, the curious ones, usually stop, shake the glaze from their eyes to look at me real hard, and ask why…

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  • Welcome to my place . . . Albania

    by on January 29, 2019 - 0 Comments

    ‘It’s good to appreciate how far Albania has come since the dictatorship ended in 1991’… Some 40 minutes’ drive from Tirana is the town of Kruja, set on a dramatic escarpment and home to the country’s largest antiques and handcrafts market. Handwoven kilims, bold and sometimes gaudy traditional costumes and carved wood utensils can all […]

  • Kosovo: Life in the land of popstars

    by on January 29, 2019 - 0 Comments

    When people think of Kosovo, they probably remember the war-torn country in the late 1990s. What they probably don’t think of is the fact that there is no place in Europe that can boast as many popstars per capital as Kosovo. Before telling you who those popstars are, let me emphasise that this was not […]

  • Tirana city guide: Where to eat, drink, shop and stay in Albania’s capital

    by on January 22, 2019 - 0 Comments

    Albania is coming in from the cold. After decades of isolation, Europe’s last undiscovered country is set on modernising and attracting visitors. Its capital, Tirana, is at the heart of this plan. The first ever low-cost flights between the UK and Albania started in April 2018, when Wizz Air opened its new London Luton-Tirana route. […]

  • Ava Max: My parents left Albania in 1990 and lived in a church in Paris for a whole year

    by on January 22, 2019 - 0 Comments

    Albanian-American Singer-songwriter Ava Max has had a remarkable few months since the release of her breakout single Sweet But Psycho, which narrowly missed becoming the UK Christmas number one. Ava Max is buzzing. She’s bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and raring to go at the start of what many critics are already predicting will be a stellar pop […]

  • Communist Concentration Camps of the Past Haunt Today’s Albania

    by on January 22, 2019 - 0 Comments

    TEPELENA, Albania—Simon Mirakaj was 4 years old in 1949 when, together with his mother and two siblings, he was transferred to an internment camp a few miles from the town of Tepelena in southern Albania. His family’s odyssey of displacement first started in July 1945, when the communist government of Albania, headed by dictator Enver […]

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