A majestic city, although I managed to visit only the center. I guess I should thank the Berlin Airports Ground Operations Syndicate for their strikes during the 2017 ITB in Berlin. As there were no flights from Berlin, I had to take a train to Hamburg and fly from its airport. I really liked those couple of hours I spent there and hopefully I’ll visit it again as I have family in Kiel, one hour north.
This place is called “The Aerodrome”. There is a long pedestrian street in front of the buildings, always packed with families enjoying the absence of traffic noise, a rarity in Tirana nowadays. The buildings are new, built in the last 10 years or so, but before there was an airfield for light planes. Now, the only thing remaining from that time it’s the Helicopter Service of the Civil Emergency.
This photo was taken a couple of days ago. The colors were surreal and I knew I had to get it on camera. I went to the other room, took out the bag, changed lenses and tried to catch it before disappearing behind the buildings in the distance.
Patos is a small city close to Fier. The latter is the next city after Vlora on the way to Tirana. My mother is actually from Patos and my father is from Fier. Patos had its greatest days during communism. The regime built close to Patos the biggest oil refinery (there is the biggest oil field in Albania) and they brought engineers and intellectuals from all over the country to work and live there. With the fall of communism, things started to change, people would leave the city to move to Fier or Tirane or even emigrate to Greece or Italy. While the refinery is still there, it is outdated and not working on full capacity. We should also take into consideration that during communism unemployment rate was zero therefore every industry was overcrowded with people and technology was not that efficient. Most of the biggest factories in Albania were built during the 50’s-70’s by the Russians and after them by the Chinese. After the Chinese we were on our own and things started getting worse. There was no possibility to keep up with new tech and machinery so more people were brought in to do the hard work… Now it is depressing to watch the same city deep in unemployment and poverty. When I was young I remember there was a circus, a cinema, a culture palace and many other buildings for social gathering. Now most of them do not exist at all, those were demolished to make way for bars and coffee shops, the only profitable business in our country.
I guess I could talk for hours and hours about Patos or Fier, if you have any questions feel free to ask 🙂
After a long and tiring day, we finally got back to Saranda to enjoy the sunset from the Castle of Lekures. It’s not a castle any more, there is a restaurant on top of the ruins. At least it doesn’t look like a cheesy one, it resembles a medieval villa or smth. The view from there is fantastic and everything from Butrinti Lake to Ksamil, Corfu, the bay and Saranda itself, lie on your palm.