So, after the almost two weeks of traveling through Bosnia, Croatia and Montenegro I finally reached Albania again. Originally I was going to stay in Tirana for just one night, but you guessed it: I stayed a bit longer than that. Because I have written a couple of blogposts on Tirana already, but still wanted to recommend some new things I found I decided to dedicate a blogpost on it.
But first I wanted to share a little tradition I have in Tirana and the first picture says it all actually. Being there for so many times now, the first thing I do nowadays is go to the hostel and settle in. After that I go to Mulliri Vjeter (The Old Mill in Albanian and a sort of spin off of The Coffee Company Albanian style), get a tea or a hot chocolate, walk to Skanderbeg Square and make myself comfortable on the stairs of the Opera House to watch the crazy traffic go by. It is such a good spot to sit and watch the traffic and watch people. (:
Does anybody have traditions like this as well while traveling?
Tips for Tirana!
So, the city is already feeling like home (so are a lot of other places to me by the way) and I know my way there quite good now. So here are some tips to stay and visit that I discovered recently and wanted to share.
In one of the older areas of the city close to the charming ‘bycicle’ street and centrally located, you can find Trip’n hostel. A cozy hostel in an old Italian styled building. Erion, the owner, and his girlfriend are very welcoming and generally the people who visit are great as well. I stayed there for a couple of times and it feels like home now. The rooms are very comfortable, as the bunkbeds have curtains (I love that!) and enough locker space. The living room is decorated with beautiful vintage stuff from Albania and has a bar, a veranda and a spacious garden. The main staff is nice as well, although they can’t really speak English, they are always very friendly and helpful. Even the cleaning lady is happy when you visit for the second time!
Another nice part about the hostel is that I felt like people respected each others needs (what is not always the case). When I had to do some work regarding my thesis, it was respected and people would leave me alone (“Ssst, Janneke is working be quiet!” So sweet (:) and not distract me, so that is really thoughtful I think.
So, if you are looking for a place to stay in Tirana, I can really recommend this hostel!
Look for more info on the website.
Just opened a couple of months ago, this new Burger place is excactly what the city needs! It serves burgers with meat, but has also a good variety of vegetarian and vegan options. The other stuff they serve is nice as well! Above was my beetroot soup with coconut cream. Very good! They also try not to throw too much food away. Great thinking! The owner is from Germany (actually not too far from where I live in The Netherlands), so it is nice to see a place like this as well instead of all the traditional restaurants (although those are great as well of course!). But I think it is good to create a bit of a international feel in a city like this and have a bit more options.
It is not very easy to find, but if you have got a map it is okay. Take a look on the FB page for more info.
Coming soon: House Of Leaves
Another interesting thing I passed by a couple of weeks ago, was an announcement on the wall that there was a new museum being built in the old House of Leaves. It is going to be a museum about the secret surveillance that had been done in communist times by the sigurimi (the secret police department in the country). It says it should be finished in a couple of months or so, so I will defenitely visit if I am in the area. It sounds very interesting! Check here for more info (among other interesting stuff about Bunk’art).
So, that was my slow travel trip back to Gjirokastra. Being back here is great and when the weather is good, I love sitting on the balcony of the appartment I rent. Next time there will be a couple of specific posts about the city and its surroundings. I haven’t been very active the last couple of weeks, but that is because I am making one of my dream trips at the moment. So stay tuned!