We know that it is freezing here in Dublin, and a lot of people are already looking forward to summer holidays. While you are wearing this big padded jacket that makes you look like one of Bibendum’s relatives, here at The City we would like to talk to you about Albania. Yes, Albania.
If you are looking for a sunny country, with astonishing landscapes and amazing cheap food that is not-so-touristic, A-L-B-A-N-I-A.
Are you crazy about old objects which will certainly be useless once you purchased them? I think we all are. We advise you to go to Kruje, in which there is an outdoor market full of typical Albanian souvenirs. You can also find a huge range of metallic objects, such as old wind instruments and soldiers’ helmets. Not to mention old soldier’s outfits. And old soldiers’ flasks. You can actually find a lot of old army equipment. Kruje is an ancient fortress town. As you climb up the hill, you can see all the ramparts. If you like to find old stones, this town is also for you.
If you like crystal blue water, you have two options. The first one, and the one which is certainly better, is to go to Koman artificial lake. To have the best bathing time ever, we advise you to organise something with one of the boat companies around the lake. They will take you to a private beach and prepare the lunch once you arrive. The water might be quite cold, but the landscape surrounding you at this very moment will make you forget the fact that your toes might be freezing.
The other option is to visit the Blue Eye (in Delvinë District). Blue Eye, called Syri Kalter in Albanian, is a water spring from which you can see the source. What’s so special about that? Well, the depth of the source hasn’t been determined yet. But it appears to be more than 50 meters, and that is pretty impressive. If you’re brave enough, you can try to jump in at the source – good luck with swimming back up!
If you are more of a city person, Korçë is made for you. You can visit museums as well as Korçë’s Orthodox Church. You can find a various range of restaurants and bars in the city. There is a nightlife in Korçë, and young people are always happy to go clubbing. Korçë is also famous for its annual beer festival, which happens around the 13th of August. Families and people of all ages are often outside, giving to Korçë a friendly and convivial atmosphere.
If you would like to learn more about the country’s culture, history and religion, Voskopojë is the right village to go too. During the 18thcentury, Voskopojë was the cultural centre of the area (Korçë). Nowadays this small village is not considered to be the main cultural centre, but you can visit five ancient Orthodox churches, where you will be able to admire great murals. You can also go to Apollonia (Illyria) in Vjosë. Apollonia was an ancient Greek city, in which there was a theatre, a library and an entire street with shops. Nowadays, you can walk through the archeological site and see the ruins of this ancient city.
If we did not convince you that Albania might actually be a brilliant idea for your next summer destination, we advise you to actually go there and make up your own mind. Come on, you can’t say you don’t like it if you don’t try it!
Monday, 2nd February. Text & Photos in the Slideshow by: Defné Cetin