2018-11-30 - 2018-12-12
Total distance: 533 km
Cumulative distance: 3117 km

Contrary to the bad reputation that the country has, Albania was one of the nicest, most interesting countries on our trip so far. We cycled from the north to the south of the country, passing through the capital Tirana, the old cities of Durrës and Gjirokastër, and the archaeological site of ancient Butrint. On the way, we met the most friendly people, ate delicious food, and learnt more about this fascinating country that, not too long ago, was one of the most isolated countries in the world.


In the Land of Thieves and Mobsters?


Albania has a terrible international reputation. When we told people that we were going to Albania, the first associations many people made were along

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First lunch break in Albania, directly after the border on a very trashy place, but with a nice view of Lake Skadar A herd of goats suddenly came down the road from the border crossing Albanian countryside with snow-capped mountain peaks in the background Lake Skadar with the mountains on the Montenegrin side in the background Hannah with our hosts in Shkodra Rozafa Castle and dilapidated bridge across the river Drini just south of Shkodra On a bridge across the river Drini just south of Shkodra Our wild camp at a small lake near Thumanë Entrance to "Bunk'Art", a museum and art space on communist Albania, in the atomic bunker of dictator Enver Hoxha Orientation map of the Bunk'Art exhibition inside the 106-room atomic bunker of dictator Enver Hoxha. The bunker itself is a bit bigger than what is shown on this map. Due to Albanian dictator Enver Hoxha's paranoid fear of foreign attack, he had over 170 000 bunkers built across the small country. The bunker contains a big assembly hall intended for parliament and government meetings, now sometimes used for cultural events. One of the many long corridors of the bunker Communist statues (Stalin, soldier, Lenin, worker, Hoxha, Stalin) that were removed from the city and are now semi-hidden behind the city hall Tanner's Bridge, an 18th-century Ottoman period stone footbridge in Tirana The Great Mosque of Tirana is currently being built, largely funded by Turkey. When completed, it will be the largest mosque in the Balkans. The roman catholic St Paul's Cathedral in Tirana was inaugurated in 2002. The statue in front is of Mother Teresa, who is of Albanian origin, of which Albanians are very proud. "Piramida" (The Pyramid), built in 1987 as a museum for the deceased dictator Enver Hoxha. Now it is abandoned, but there are plans to convert it into an IT centre for the city's youth. Prime Minister's Office in Tirana. The fancy light installation above the entrance was added when the "Center for Openness and Dialogue" was opened in the entrance hall of the building, an initiative to make public institutions and records open and available to citizens. Defensive bunker in a park in downtown Tirana. Enver Hoxha had a paranoid fear of invasion and had over 170 000 bunkers built throughout the small country, partly as shelter for the people, partly like this one as a defensive bunker for two soldiers. In the background, on the left is a memorial to political prisoners who died while working in the mines, and on the right is a segment of the Berlin Wall.

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