I’m writing this from an ocean view apartment in Saranda, Albania; yes ! This is the final country in the Balkans that I had yet to explore so I’m beyond excited to be here. I’m here with a friend I met in Valencia who also happens to be from Ottawa; small world. I took a short ferry ride from Corfu to get here and I will write about that in the not too distant future. I’ve bee here a short time but I’m not really traveling or touring; just living in Saranda and going about my business.
First impressions of Albania? It’s beautiful. Saranda is the big city here in the Albanian Riviera and despite it being November, I went for a swim two days ago. That said, as of yesterday the weather has taken a turn for the worse and as a result, it’s starting to feel a lot more like winter in Europe than it did a few days ago but such is life, yes? So think about it for a second… The Greek islands are beyond popular and so are the coasts of Montenegro and Croatia… As a result, why wouldn’t Albania which is right in the madness of it all be solid too?
Again, I must mention that it is November so this town is a bit sleepy; in fact it’s probably resting from the crazy summer that it just had. I will also note that living expenses here are beyond reasonable and the local currency is the LEK which is roughly ~140L to a Euro or a cool ~100L to one dollar. The meat selection isn’t so amazing but the cheese, oh the cheese. Lots of feta, goats cheese and any other type you can imagine for incredible prices.
I’ve also bought a sim card with 100 minutes and 1GB of data for ~$10US and if one wishes to visit the dentist, it will set you back 12E. I know I had my teeth done not long ago but at these rates would would have to be nutty not to get a polish, yes? The city of Saranda itself is cool but if you do come, I urge you to rent a car and get out there. If they have a small Suzuki sidekick or something similar, I’d recommend that as some of the roads are less than perfect.
In the area there are lots of other places to visit such as Ksamil, and of the which is this natural phenomenon; it’s a spring that goes ~50m deep with some of the clearest water I’ve seen in my life. I filmed a video of that day so stay tuned for that. The plan as of now is to hang out here for a while then make our way to Tirana before I fly to London. That said, anything is possible really.
In closing, I’m really glad I finally made it to Albania.