During my first visit to Albania, it was cold and rainy with too much snow in the mountains for fun bicycle touring up high. Those mountains looked great from below. I knew I wanted to get back and check them out. Well, Jeff and I passed through a few mountains in southern Albania, and they certainly did not disappoint. Northern Albania is supposed to be even more spectacular. Another trip?
We crossed the border and holed up in a restaurant for a few hours to wait out some fairly heavy rain squalls. Oh no, this seemed familiar! Not to worry. We ended up spending about a week in Albania, and that was the most it rained.
I was still low energy from being sick so I was happy to have Jeff pull me into Gjirokastër against a headwind. We might have beat the next squall had we not stopped to take photos of this bridge:
UNESCO-listed Gjirokastër was our culture/tourist/city stop in Albania. It’s famous for the fortress-like mansions built during the Ottoman period.
The çarşı area was a bit overdone.
We visited one of the mansions (Zekate House) and saw this fireplace:
If it all looks a bit like stuff you might see in Turkey, well, yes, that’s true. It’s similar in many ways, but I’ve never seen mansions quite like those in Gjirokastër.
The breakfast at our hotel was certainly something like you might expect in Turkey:
and we even found the Bektaşi Tekkesi (dervish lodge, you might say):
Jeff and I took a short walk out to Ali Paşa’s Bridge (really a bridge?)
where a couple guys were quite casually and seemingly rather dangerously clearing the vegetation:
The rest of our days in Albania were all about the wonderful scenery.
Permet seemed like a nice town:
as did Petran:
as did Ersekë:
as did Korçë:
I don’t know what else to say about the scenery except to show a bunch more photos.
Thanks, Albania, till next time, I guess.