the second impression of tirana

ernest hemingway is here. it is time for a new post from albania.

they smoke! They smoke and they smoke! Dunno, maybe I am sensitive as I have been not smoking for 2 326 days now. And that is why I still notice it? I think you see less people on the polish streets with cigarettes. Even in sweden I see some, but here? I have got a feeling that everybody is smoking. It is not so invasive however when we sat down for a coffee or drink, I could feel the smell. Oh dear!

But we are alive!

Tirana is so vibrant, throbbing and alive! We are so surprised there are so many local people on the street on monday bright day. You do not work people? Lucky you. It is because the streets and sidewalks are narrower than in warsaw. That is why you feel it is denser here. Oh poor malmo is empty comparing to those cities. But malmo is not a capital city and they have a very strong competition just across the Oresund. So, I really appreciate the calmness of that skåne’s beauty now. 

We checked 15 places you need to see in tirana. We added some hot spots recommended by our hotel and hit the road. I still have a feeling like I am in italy, romania and ukraine at the same time. And it is very green. Trees are everywhere. 

I really think this town will change soon. People dress not worse (not to say better) than in any european city I have been to. They have very modern solutions for people (I notice benches with usb and wi-fi). The shopping mall was not that small after all. Yes, they have jysk! 

All those 15 and plus worth-seeing places we visited today. I am quite impressed. I really like the temples of any religions. We saw 2 mosques and orthodox church. I like the architecture. They really try with this city. And it is clean. 

We had some yummy, local stuff. I am still waiting for my sea food night. Today was beef. It was yummy. 

English is not necessary here. We manage. We speak the universe language of … money. But seriously. People are very open and friendly. Why do they need to speak english? I am the tourist here, I have to try. 

I translated some easy expressions in albanian. You know, crap like: thank you, hello, no and good bye. Ok, I think I will stick to english. They understand it. And I thought skånska (southern swedish; from scania) was hard to pronounce. Ha ha ha ha. 

The sidewalks are not accessible for disabled people or moms with strollers. And I feel sorry for the cyclists. It must be a nightmare here. But so far, no crashes with anybody on the sidewalks. Yay!

It is not as cheap as we thought. Glass of white wine and double espresso in a café was 550 leks (55 sek, 5 euros). And that was cheap. But melon in a local supermarket was 475 leks for a kilo! 

We had a dinner in an old castle site. Byzantine era castle. We could only admire the wall. Inside was packed with all kinds of restaurants and shops. We tried the recommended place – Ceren Ismet Shahu. It really a simple place – no menu! You pick the meat and they will do everything else. We could choose from lamb, beef, goat, pork. Our choice was beef. Drink menu? Only one kind of white and red wine. Appetizers were yummy! We paid 5 700 leks for two (51 euros, 576 sek). But it was a 9-course tasting menu. 

We had lunch at some greek food street restaurant. I was rather skeptical about this place as it looked like a fast-food place not a street food. However, to our surprise the food was yummy – calamari pita and avocado salad. 

The city has another side in the evening. Lots of bars, restaurants. Very well designed, good looking from outside, lurking on every street. And it is lively and colorful. 

And everything is interwoven with (clothes) stores from communism/regime times. 

Diversity and contrast again.


  1. Michael T Tosatto

    The photos are great. It seemed as if everyone smoked in Lisbon as well. I will do some research now on Albania, because I only know it from your words.

    • m

      they smoked? Oh, it must have been on a lower scale. I really didn’t notice. Here is like one giant smoke. sadly

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