Albania

Butrint

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This weekend my best friend Bo and her boyfriend Paul came over to see what I was up to here in Albania. It was a great and very relaxing weekend! Full of cultural heritage, yummy food, wine and cardgames.

First of all I showed them around the city of course and let them experience hotel Kotoni and restaurant Kujtimi. Points were scored there for Gjirokastra. I took them to the ethnographic museum and Skendulli House (see this post). Tried to find the Ismail Kadare House, but didn’t succeed (where is it?) and visited the castle. But on sunday I wanted to take them to Butrint, a very beautiful archeological place in the most southern part of Albania. Ze boyfriend decided to stay in Gjiro with a good book and a beer or two, so Bo and I went on a roadtrip ourselves.

Bus

We found a nice ride from Gjirokaster to Sarande in an orange 70’s furgon (minibus). There was room for about 12 people, but the driver thought 20 people could fit in there as well, so it was all nice and cozy. After one and a half hour we arrived in Sarande with quite a bit of pain everywhere from the busride. There were busses going to Butrint from the Sarande Boulevard, but after we found ourselves a taxidriver (“special-price-for-you!”), who would bring us to Butrint and back, we thought that would be more convenient for us. So after we had a nice chat with our taxidriver along the way we arrived at Butrint.

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Butrint is located between Butrint lake and the sea side and on a clear day you can see Corfu on the other side. This place has illirian, greek, roman, byzantine and medieval ruines. It’s also quite big. When you take a guided tour (as I did last year), you take about two and a half hours to see everything. This day we walked by ourselves en it took us about an hour. Not only the ruins are nice to see, also the nature (an the combination of these two) is great! Spring arrived, so everything was getting greener again, birds were tweeting and insects were buzzing. I can really recommend a visit in springtime if you want to visit the place (this counts for Gjirokastra as well).

One of the nicest things to see here is the theatre. It has turtles, so that’s why. I adopted a couple and put them on the side of my blog as you can see. The most interesting part of this was that people back in the days already thought of a place to put their soda in while watching a play. Hehe, no. Does anybody know what these holes were for?

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On our way back the taxidriver took us to Sarande castle, because there would be a great view over the whole area. He was right! There was a great view over Sarande, the sea and Corfu island. Very nice!

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Back in Sarande we decided to take a big bus to Tirana, who would stop in Gjirokastra and that was a bit more comfortable. Although, when in Albania, you should take a furgon just once on your travel through the country, I think. It definitely has it’s charm. (:

And extra points for Kujtimi restaurant for being a good boyfriendsitter. Faleminderit!

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