With our bus for Sarande (Saranda) departing mid-afternoon, we had plenty of time to explore Albania’s capital. It’s a really quirky place, with plenty of Eastern Europe’s typical concrete housing and even a few mosques thrown in – even though most of it seemed under construction. One of the fun thing about the city is those ugly concrete buildings themselves – as per a government mandate, many buildings have been painted in colourful solids and patterns. Stripes, squares, maple leaves, bubbles – you never know when you’ll stumble on some strange paintings covering entire buildings.
For lunch we decided to buy a few things at the farmer’s market and bring it back to eat in our hostel’s large garden. There was an abundance of beautiful produce, and we had quite the feast. Who knew that figs dipped in chicken juices tastes even better?
Eventually it was time to leave, and we headed to our bus. It was going to be a long ride, across most of the country to the beach town of Sarande. The distance, coupled with bad roads meant that we wouldn’t arrive until almost midnight. The countryside scenery was nice to pass the time while we had daylight – we even saw some of Albania’s famous bunkers. Once the sun had set though and the night had come, we faced another challenge: windy roads. While I’m usually good with them, in the dark I am utterly useless. Both Travis and I had to fight motion sickness, and thankfully we made it into town without loosing our tasty lunch.
Sarande was deserted when we arrived, and we were not sure as to where we were. Thankfully Travis figured it out and we made it to our hostel. We couldn’t see much in the dark, but we could hear the ocean and see the stars. I can’t wait to wake up tomorrow morning and see the ocean!