After enjoying the Albanian capital, Tirana, it was time to explore some of the countryside. I will admit I was a bit nervous as we picked up the rental car in central Tirana. The driving here appeared to be quite “freeform”. However, once we were rolling with Karen giving turn by turn guidance it wasn’t too bad. Other than the occasional jackass in a new blacked out Mercedes feeling he had to go as fast as possible in heavy traffic, I have found the drivers here to be very easy to drive with.
From my preparation reading before we arrived I had become quite fascinated with the Albanian national hero, Skanderbeg. The statue you see of the fellow riding the horse in most articles that are written about Albania is him.
The thing you quickly learn is that although Albania is quite a small country, you don’t get anywhere fast. Between traffic in the towns and cities and incredibly rugged terrain and winding roads, one simply has to relax and get there when you get there.
After spending the night in Durrës we headed south to the ancient ruins of Apollonia near the city of Fier. This UNESCO site was originally founded in the 7th century BC. To put this city in historical perspective, the grandson of Julius Caesar was studying here at the time of Caesar’s death. He later went on to become Emperor.
I was going to include information right up to our arrival here in Sarandë, however, I prefer to keep my posts a bit shorter so I’m going to wrap this one up here. The thing about this region is the depth of the history that exists at every bend in the road. Whether from the 7th century BC to the 1990’s, not a lot of places have that much range of dynamic history. Until next time.