If you travel to Albania this is standard.
You should take care of all your belongings.
If you travel by car you should park only on save parking spaces.
The Albanian "Auto-Mafia" is activ.
It's better to drive with daylight!
The roads are sometimes very bad. Some drivers haven't good light.
Be careful with making new friends. Some friends are not friendly :-)
When you enter albania you will get a helpful brochure with numbers of the police.
When you drive on Albania roads ,be careful ,local drivers most of them on Mercedes behave on roads like in jungle,.Most of roads have just one line ,usually between the towns road surface is good ,but near the towns it became bumpy with potholes, and add to it driver that could jump from the corner exactly on your line opposite you. Therefore we often sought on such corners plates with photo and two dates ,these were signs that relatives place for beloved one, that find his death there.So be cool on the roads and ready to all surprises.
In 1988, our Albanian guide had warned us that we should not photography official buildings and army members in uniform and anything related to the defense.
Strongly forbidden photo !
Here, we were looking for tracks of otter and saw only droppings but overhanging us was the Albanian army in operation. That was the occasion to try a forbidden photo!
No not terminators but indoctrinators should be your worst nightmare in Albania. Espacially in the North the people tend to be a bit more enthousiastic about their religion (which is Islam by the way) so they tend to begin a "dialogue" with you about religion. Mostly this dialogue ends up in a monologue and they will provide you with some bonus materiall as a cd-rom about how to convert in to a muslim :-) If this happens to you this is one of the things you can do: Just smile very friendly and try to excuse yourself because your bus is leaving or something. accepting the bonus is up to you of course:-D I told the man that I'm already a muslim so he was a bit dissapointed about that because I guess he had prepared a whole speech for me. They are mostly very nice people who are just a bit to much focused on their own religion then on reality, so their intention is not to harm you, keep that in mind.
Do not drink the water while in Albania!!!! Being a poor under developed country, sanitation is quite poor. The food is plentiful but when I was there the Navy told us to NOT eat any of it. Hepititus A, B and C are among the MANY diseases that are easily contracted simply by consuming some of the food there. If you are thirsty, your best bet is to hit a tourist shop where you can buy bottled water or cokes. As long as they are sealed when you get them you are ok.
Generally most of the main roads are in good conditions. All the transit routes are renewed and enjoyable to drive on.
The coast road from Vlora to Saranda is excellent all the way to Llogaraja Pass and a few kilometres south of there. But for the 80 kilometres stretch from the pass down to Saranda expect a rough and slow drive. It took me about 4 hours on a motorbike. The road is winding up and down the mountains and often there is more gravel than tarmac. You never know what you have to expect behind the next bend – drive slowly!
Some maps are showing a road that is connecting Gijrokastra with Berati. Forget about it! There is no drivable road. Even the local transport is doing the detour via Fieri.
Although very very very nice at the time the ice cream from one of the stalls in Tirana (near to the main square) made me quite ill, i tried it a second time on another trip and the same thing happened again! I am guessing that this is because i am not used to the untreated milk that they use to make it, all the albanian's were fine and plenty of people eating from there including my husband, they have been drinking it all there lives so must be immune to any bugs!
Not really a danger but you're not supposed to take leke (the Albanian currency) out of the country. We weren't searched or checked for this when we left, and I did have some with me, but you never know. Also be careful taking alcohol out of Albania into Greece/Corfu, especially given how cheap it is - I wasn't checked, but my travelling companion's bag was searched to see how much he'd brought.
Ray got his wallet lifted they also like to steal cell phone or anything else from people, Ray carried his money in his front pocket from then on and his cell phone in his inside top pocket of his coat, it jsut wasn't that safe.
Be careful if you're going to walk out in the countryside - there are poisonous snakes, spiders and scorpions in Albania, and getting to a doctor could take some time. I actually didn't see any of these things while I was there, but some of my colleagues spotted a wolf spider (which actually isn't poisonous, but is quite big) and a dead scorpion was found in a wall. Disappearing off into the bushes to 'use the facilities' was a little bit nerve-racking!
The piles of rubbish lying around do tend to attract stray dogs at night. Coming back to the hotel from the bar late at night we were frequently barked and growled at, and one of my colleagues couldn't walk back alone - they seemed to have taken a dislike to him and would chase him if he did!
Although the locals say the water is safe to drink, it's probably best to stick to bottled water, which is readily available.
Be careful about the food - I was very lucky when I was there that I ate pretty much everything on offer and wasn't affected in the slightest, but almost everyone else newly arrived on the project came down with a stomach bug which meant they couldn't leave the bathroom for 24 hours or so!
There are no rubbish collections in Albania, at least not where I was staying. All the waste - glass bottles, cans, plastic - either gets dumped in a communal midden in the middle of the village (a three-sided low brick wall construct in Ksamil), or seems to be thrown into the sea - from where unfortunately it all washes up onto the beaches. Ksamili has some gorgeous little coves, but most of them were filled with trash. I'm hoping that the increase of interest in this country will encourage them to clean up a bit. It's a shame it takes tourism to do it.
You have to watch where you walk and not fall into open man holes. They are stolen and then left open and most of the open holes are about a foot or two deep some are over 10 feet deep. One man died while we were there after falling into one while it was raining and he drowned. Garage is everywhere they sweep out their stores right into the streets, odd bunch of people they just drop their garbage while they walk down the roads. The water and sewer lines run side by side so the water is not safe to drink I tried boiling it twice through and it still wasn't drinkable.
If you're going swimming in the sea at Saranda or Ksamili, or in Lake Butrint, be careful where you put your feet! I had great fun spotting hermit crabs and crayfish, but you might get your toes nipped. This probably wouldn't be worth a warning, but you also have to be wary of sea urchins - step on one of these and the spines can inflict a painful wound
Having spent approximately 5 months in the Sheraton-Tirana, I know the "ins" and the "outs" of the...more
Rr. Veli Zaloshnja, Berati Lakes, Berat, 1233, Albania
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Solo
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Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Solo
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