No tagline this time…

Nature

Another short weekend in Voskopoje.

Sometimes I think I could live up here, away from the city noise, the pollution, the people… Always man seeks what he doesn’t have, maybe the people in Voskopoje think the same about moving to a metropolis like Tirana… I wish there was some kind of service/agreement for people to swap their lives temporarily, just to see how green is the grass on the other side, without long term commitment.

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This is the famous village of Voskopoja as seen from one of the opposite hills. Pretty close to the snowy peaks and the pine forests. (more…)

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2017 Trip to Baba Tomorr

As every August 18-22 or 20-25 or somewhere in the second to last weekend of August, people from surrounding areas of mount Tomorr gather at a holy shrine midway up the mountain. There is a Bektashian holy place where the tomb of their holy man is burried. Bektashis are a liberal sect of Islam but they’re quite moderate as they drink alcohol freely and they are allowed to drink water while they fast (or so I’ve been told).

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The road to Kulmak is very bad and most people do it by 4×4. There are even small cars going up the mountain but most of them come to a forced stop midway due to overheating. Our driver was a funny guy with a dirty mouth. At least he got us up there safely. Price per person was 1,000 leke one way. Funny thing, whenever you ask for a price, whatever you buy there, they first weight you from head to toe and then give you the price.  (more…)


A short trip to Ninesh, Mallakaster

 

There used to be a famous village, newly rebuilt after the 1971 earthquake. They even had a cinema, a first for small villages. Ninesh became famous around that part of Albania, even Enver Hoxha himself went there to visit the people.

Ninesh is still there but instead of a cultural hub of the area, it has become a quiet place, with old, new and half built houses, gravel roads and a nearby lake full of fish. The villagers go on with their daily lives, work the fields, feed the cattle and sell their produce.

Why am I talking about Ninesh? I happen to have relatives there, they own a piece of land and they’ve built a small villa there, as their summer retreat while they live and work abroad. As you can see on the photos, their villa is surrounded by green hills, the lake is quite close and there are little fish that eat the dead skin out of you. Also figs, delicious figs.

While having a great time chillaxing by the veranda, me and my cousin thought it would be nice to share this experience with other people too. This way, A Piece of Albania was born. First as a Google Locations Guesthouse (without success) and then an instant success through AirBnB. French people started booking and it’s so amazing whenever we hear the notification on our phone. New bookings help other people experience what we wanted to share in the beginning, we treat our self to a nice little extra income and the village benefits too, whenever our guests decide to buy fresh produce or home made raki 😉

Last but no least, you guys can also book and pay in bitcoin if you happen to wander around these parts. Cheers.

 

 


Some more photos from the Riviera

Paragliding is becoming more and more interesting lately. If you fancy flying from Llogara down to Palase, google Alket Islami, the head of the Albanian Aeronautic Association (or smth similar). Otherwise write me here, I have a couple of contacts.10-_IGP956211-_IGP9565

This is the view from the platform they have been recently, down to the military post where Top Gear flew an old Lada down to a ravine. 13-_IGP9570

Saranda, calm as always, with small and big yachts becoming more and more prevalent in the bay between Albania and Corfu. 70-_IGP9645

Ksamil and its small dreamy islands… Always a pleasure to come here and lay on the beach, reformatting your hard drive, away from city noise and pollution.75-IMG_6048

The small island you see in the Porto Palermo bay hosts one of the many fortresses of Ali Pasha of Tepelena (or Ioannina). It isn’t an island actually, there is a small strip connecting it to the mainland. The buildings on the foreground are part of a military complex serving the submarines base at the shore. I’m not sure if the base is still functional but I do know there are no more submarines there.

This place is almost after Himare, before reaching Qeparo or Borsh. The area is full of Aloe Vera and other medicinal herbs.

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Guys, I’m seriously thinking of turning my passion for travel to a full time tour guide operation. If you ever consider visiting Albania, let me know 🙂


Ngjipe Canyon

For you guys that want to find it online, most people have tagged this place as Gjipe because N & GJ are two letters of the Albanian alphabet that never go together. The street signs of the Ministry of Transport have the correct name on them, Ngjipe.

Here are some photos of the canyon. It was dead dry this summer and the only being I saw were a couple of frogs and a small snake living in a pond. No photos of them though.


Ngjipe – Perhaps the best beach in Albania

This place seemed always so close yet so far. I have been swimming around this part of Albania for as long as I remember but I never took the time to visit this particular beach and its canyon. To begin with, there was no road until recently and the road you see on the photos can be done only with 4×4.

It wasn’t on my plans for the last weekend either but an old Belgian couple I met up in Llogara told me they were amazed and considered this as the most beautiful beach in Albania. I decided on the spot to visit it, although I had my 4 years old son with me.

The place can be found easily if you keep an eye for Ilias village as soon as you cross Dhermi Panorama. After the village there is a right turn that leads to a monastery. The road is narrow but paved with asphalt. Drive until the end and you will see a parking space with amenities for campers. Park your car, pay some 1-2 EUR to the lady that lives there and just start walking toward the only path that leads down the hill toward the beach.

The rest can be seen on the photos. I can only say that the water was crystal clear, the beach was sort of sandy with very small pebble stones. There is also a canteen for beers or water, in case you didn’t bring yours. Expect to pay 80 cents for a small bottle of water or 1.5 EUR for a bottled beer (Korca). As for toilette or shower, this place is semi-famous for travelers with tends or sleeping bags and there are amenities.

Best part, this place is almost empty of people. I’ll post photos of the canyon tomorrow or the day after.


Moonday

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Moon during the day on a Sunday.


Another weekend in Durres

Some sea snail shells, a naked woman statue and a strange playground where a ship ran ashore and couldn’t go back to sea. It’s the Kompleksi Teuta one. The strange gray metallic wall on the right is actually part of the ship and the hull has sunk in the sand at almost ground level.

The season is starting so get ready beforehand to visit our beautiful country, the land of contradictions. 🙂

A friendly reminder, you’ll find us on AirBnb and at our website http://www.durresbeachapartment.com 🙂

 


Good morning from Durres

At approximately 8 o clock, a peaceful morning, a cold breeze and a warm sunshine caressing our faces. I wish I had my running shoes but still, I was late for work. It will be for another time I guess.

So, what you see here is the Durres beach, as seen from Apollonia beach, a small section of the long seashore. The structure on the sea surface used to be  a restaurant but nowadays only the platform remain, the restaurant is long gone. The hills on the background are part of Rock of Kavaja, a small rocky hill by the highway.

As you can see, the beach is perfect foo jogging and the sea is ideal for families with kids since the water is shallow. If you’re thinking of visiting Durres, check my rental apartment here. If you’re from the future and wish to pay in bitcoins, let me know, I’ll be happy to welcome you.


A squirrel in the wild

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First time I see a squirrel in the wild, in my country. Although I was born in a city, I’ve been many times in small forests but never been able to encounter one. I also lived in Athens, and even there are no squirrels around in urban areas. On the opposite, in London for example, plenty of squirrels, foxes and other wild animals around, in parks or in house gardens. Well, I feel lucky I saw and was able to take a photo of this little fella.