An Albanian Summer

23 Jul

I’m on holiday this month, but as a self-employed writer it’s very much a busman’s holiday, of course. I’ve been researching an article on Albanian vineyards, working on part two of The Sarcophagus Scroll (called Daughters of Fire, since you asked), and editing a booklet called How to Get Published, which will be available free to newsletter subscribers in September.

But I have also found time to have fun and enjoy the beauty of Albania (as if touring vineyards wasn’t fun!). So here’s a nice photo post for you.

(A quick note: the place in Albania where I spent most of my time is Lushnjë, but it won’t feature in this post. While Lushnjë is full of lovely people and rich in agricultural produce, it’s not particularly eye-catching or touristy.)

Dhermi

Let’s start with somewhere that’s flat-out gorgeous. Dhermi, or Drymades in Greek, is in the Vlora region, near the border with Himar (which is a Greek-speaking area). It’s very popular with tourists, Albanian and foreign – and especially with mixed couples, which is not surprising. If a bit of your country looked like this, wouldn’t you want to show it off to your spouse?

Prices in Dhermi are kind of high for Albania, but the food is good, the beaches are clean and the water is like crystal.

The whole of the coastline between Vlora and Saranda (in the far south) is gorgeous, so naturally we had to pass many beautiful places on our way to and from Dhermi – and the taxi driver insisted on stopping at all of them, and on getting me to pose on dangerous precipices. I think he had something against me 🤣

Shkodër

One city I hadn’t been to before is Shkodër, in the far north-west, near Montenegro. It has a more mitteleuropa, less Mediterranean feel to it, at least in the old part. I barely saw it because I was just passing through, grabbing breakfast on my way to Zadrima vineyard, but I would like to go back.

The place I stayed the night before, just outside the city, was also very beautiful, especially the views from Rozafa Castle.

Swimming pool with a view

Three rivers meet below Rozafa Castle.

Berat

If I’m honest, Berat, in the east of Albania, doesn’t do much for me. I just had to go there to visit a couple of wineries. However, other people rave about it, so here are a few pictures.

Mount Tomor

Durrës

And now to my favourite city in Albania, although I find it hard to explain why. It’s got a mix of vitality, livability and history that works for me, plus it’s by the sea. Whatever the magic formula, I just love it, and love being there.

Steps up to the top of the Venetian tower – which is now a cafe.

Some fun street art

It has an amphitheatre!

And a forum.

Well perhaps it’s not such a mystery why I like Durrës 😉

I hope you enjoyed your pictoral tour. If I go anywhere else pretty I might add some more photos, but I’m only here for another week, so don’t get your hopes up.

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