North to Gjiri I Palermos (on the other side of the peninsula), there is an ancient military facility. It is now entirely ruined but it seems that nevertheless, peoples inhabit inside the enclosure, protected by the sign “Zone ushtarake” (military zone). What are they doing here is a mystery! (photo 1). That does not look military anymore, except...more
There is nothing else on this photo than a lonely cow, the mountain and the sea. No human being in sight. That may be considered as uninteresting but I felt that it was a kind of digest of the Albanian Riviera before tourists! How will it look a few years ahead with herds of tourists instead of a single cow, I prefer to ignore…more
The first photo shows the bay of Gjiri i Palermos (Porto Palermo) in 2009 with in the middle of the photo a peninsula (see photo 4)The second photo shows the bay from a little further. It was shot in 2007 and on the far left, the old road can be seen, without any protecting railing.The third photo was shot in 2009, almost from the same place, from...more
Both photos show how the new road looks in the landscape. The old one was hidden in the vegetation and fully integrated. The new one has done enormous scars and they will take a long time to melt in the landscape, if they ever do. But that will change the life of those that live in these otherwise remote places.more
Shortly after Gjiri i Palermos, there was an excellent, newly built single track road that left the main road. The second photo says “this road was rebuilt with the support of the European Union Integrated Coastal Zone Management and clean Up Project”.As it could not be very long, we drove it to know what it was for but after about 3 kilometers, it...more
Instead of putting upside down Enver Hoxja’s bunkers, some are on trial for rehabilitation. It is not sure that the rehabilitation process will succeed as these bunkers have been so tightly designed for war. However, it is worth the trial, isn’t it ?They might be used as a bar but the window for the customers is very narrow. They might be used as a...more
Comrade Enver Hoxha, wake up, they have gone mad! In the long run, you were right, Albania has been invaded. Not from abroad but from inside, by its own people. They are putting upside down those cute little bunkers that so nicely dotted the country! Fortunately, out of the several hundred thousands that you built by the sweat of your brow, no,...more
Moliana restaurant was standing in the middle of a short section of the road that had not been widened yet. While we were having dinner there were big engines that were working ferociously to widen the road.On the left, a small road sign says “for sale” (***et). That is for sure, an add to sell a piece of land. With the new road the price has for...more
This photo shows on the right the old narrow unpaved road with its narrow bridge that we crossed in 2007 and on the left, the wide new road with a brand new coating and its new bridge that we had two years later, in 2009.The good thing is that those living in the Albanian Riviera will have easier access to other parts of the country.The sad thing...more
The 70 km road has been divided in several sections. Each of them has been alloted to a company that should do the job for a given date. In May 2009, Sarandë to Lukovë was completely finished. Further, some sections were also finished, other should be finished in August or October 2009. Few sections should be finished in early 2010 but, anyway,...more
The first photo shows the road as it was in 2007 and as far as I remember, almost the same as it was on my first visit, in 1988. Most of the time between Saranda and Dhërmi, it was a dirt road, mostly in fair condition. Most of the time it was narrow, almost single lane, and on several occasions, we had to maneuver to cross the, gladly, few cars...more
When we arrived in the middle of a busy road work, with heavy engines working everywhere, we found this small restaurant (photo 1), built over a small stream (what we discovered later) but what we saw was a road sign that said “feshk” (fish). As it was in the middle of such a turmoil (photo 2), we would not have considered having dinner there but they had a fish preserve with running water from the gully and good size trouts (photo 3). We had to taste them!
Each of us ordered a trout and the manager of the restaurant went to collect them from the fish preserve (photo 4)
Photo 5, our living trouts are now on their way to the pan! Believe me, they were excellent. They could not have been fresher! That was so yummy that I forgot to take a picture of them!
When I asked for the bill in Moliana restaurant, the waitress wrote it on a piece of cardboard. As this was not our first day in Albania, I knew it should be in the 2000-3000 lek range and I handled her three 1000 lek bankenotes without taking care to the zeros and she gave me my change back.
Unique Suggestions: Later, I had a closer look at the bill and my first thought was that she unwillingly had added one more zero. I had a doubt and checked in my guidebooks. One of them said that 15-20 years before, there had been a reevaluation of the currency and one zero had been dropped. However, a siginificant number of people still use the old currency. I noticed that later on several occasions including in a shop where some prices were labelled in old lek, others in new lek.
This is not to foul foreigners and if you mistake, the people in front will correct. But, who knows, when there will be more tourists, some might be tempted not to say anything!
George Tenet, the former Director of CIA (from 1997 to 2004) was a Greek-American. While his father came from South Greece, his mother was born among the Greek minority in Qeparo.
He once said “My mother escaped from southern Albania on a British submarine just as the Iron Curtain was closing - never to see her family again”. I have not found the maiden name of his mother.