ALBANIA PART 4 – KOMANI LAKE & TIRANA

Until now we had no problems with telling you our stories. Even now it’s not a problem however, we have no idea where to start. Albania is such a nice unexplored country, we have had so many nice experiences and we’ve met some many nice people that it becomes hard to translate all of this into words. Albania stole our hearts.

Komani lake 

Port of Koman

After our stay at the “campsite” under the bridge, check our latest post if you have no clue about what we are talking, we left Koman by ferry in the direction of Fierze. This boat trip is also known as one of the most beautiful boat trips in the world. A trip with beautiful views over mountains, canyons, crystal clear waters and beautiful nature. The boat stops now and then to allow locals to hop on or off. A trip to fully enjoy from the beginning till the end. And also with lots of entertainment, starting in the small port of Koman. Fortunately we were able to drive the car on the boat without problems, but not all of us were so fortunate. An Albanian guy was stuck in front of the entrance of the boat with his car. Somehow the motor of the car wouldn’t start anymore so he was blocking the way for all other vehicles that had to enter the boat. Because the ramp we had to use to enter the boat was so steep there was no way it was possible to push  the car back. So believe it or not, five Albanian guys lifted the car to the side. They counted to three or four or maybe five, know idea how to count in Albania, and then they all lifted the car a bit to the side. After repeating this procedure five times the car was far enough to the side to clear the entrance of the boat for the other cars. The trip took about three hours, but time flew because of the beautiful scenery we were in and we got some good company of a very enthusiastic traveling couple from the Netherlands. When we arrived at the small harbor in Fierze we had to blink our eyes three or more times, is this really the port of Fierze, the place where one of Albanian most well-known tourist attractions start or end? It was just a place with a very steep, small, unpaved ramp where they had to moor the boat. They had to take out some larger rocks and some sand to clear the road for the cars to get off the boat. Next to this you could find a small restaurant/shop and a bunch of car drivers waiting to pick up people to bring them to their next destination.

Beautiful view during our route from Fierze to Tirana

We drove from Fierze to Tirana, definitely not the most common route however, we want to do the ferry trip so no other choice here. On our route we noticed that it was one of the most beautiful routes we had made so far. The first part of the road, which was a decent asphalt road, was easy to drive. However, the second part of our route was a bigger challenge. The parts of the road which were covered with some kind of asphalt had become so bad during the years that we actually started to prefer to drive the unpaved parts or dirt road. But not worries, almost 70 percent of the road is under construction so in a few year you might want to try this road with a supercar. For us now it was just enjoying the beautiful views while we were bouncing in our car seats.

Just outside of Tirana, tipped by our favorite tour guides, we found a very unusual place to stay for the night. Teater Kame, the name isn’t giving you much space to fantasies about this place. Because it’s just what it says a theater with a few small holiday homes. On the terrain you’ll find so many kitschy looking artifacts but really fun to see actually. We hoped that we could have unfold our tent here, which would be better for our budget, but unfortunately this was not possible. So too bad for us we had to stay in one of the holiday homes, quite comfortable actually. Luckily is Albania not the most expensive country so the price wasn’t bad either. Besides we had such a long drive that day, not that we made so many kilometers but Albanian expresses the length of a route in hours, that we hadn’t much energy left to look for other options. That night we ate something while we were wondering how somebody ever got the idea to build something like this. After dinner Tom had a small Raki tasting with the owner, which is a fantastic man, and got informed about the whole place. The thing is that weddings could be hosted there, but it’s mainly famous by the locals because of the comedy shows they give in the theater. After a decent breakfast and a last view on the premises we took our car to Tirana.

Tirana’s market, your car will easily fits there to pass

Dani is really enjoying this ice cream

In about two and a half hour we got informed about all the ins and outs of Tirana by a really nice tour guide. The free walking tour in Tirana is highly recommended. Very nice and educational to learn so quickly things about  the city, the history of it, the people, off course the Mercedeses and Albanian Politics. After the tour we had a really nice ice cream, see the picture, and we wandered over the huge new central square. Salient detail, the square is the largest pedestrian zone of the Balkans. We have absolutely no clue if there exist any other large pedestrian zones there, but we can tell you that this square is huge but quite moodless. In Tirana you also find the Bunk’arts museums, there is a Bunk’art 1 and 2. Number two is in the middle of the center and number one just outside of the center. The guide recommended us to go to number one since it’s the biggest of the two. We can recommend you to go there as well. It’s easy accessible by public transport or like we did by your own car. In assignment of Hohxa this bunkers were built. Number one was the bunker where Hohxa with his family, important party members and army strategist could hide if there was a real threat. The bunker was so designed that it even could resist nuclear attacks. The bunker is now a museum which you can enter for a small fee, and it’s in original state. In one word bizar! And again, this museum gave a clear insight in the kind of strange person Hohxa was and the turbulent history of Albania. Impressed by everything we saw, we drove off to Macedonia. It was time to leave Albania Behind.

Small part of the central square in Tirana

Albania you gave us a wonderful time. What a beautiful country with very welcoming people. There exist countries you will not forget easily, but there are also countries who find a way into your heart. Albania you are in our hearts, we felled in love with you!