Saturday, 13 October 2012

Tirane and onwards to Durres, Albania (13 Oct 2012)

We had breakfast and moved on to Tirane, the capital of Albania. It is still drizzling off and on. As expected, traffic in the city was very heavy and drivers in Tirane were less patient compared to other Albanian cities / towns we have visited.

As there is nothing in particular that we wanted to see in the city, we took the quickest and easiest way to cut across and head to Durres. On one of the stretch of road, we came across a row of shops selling insurance. We parked and enquired about green card insurance. After asking around a few of the agents we found out that they only sold green card insurance to Albanian registered vehicle. Foreign registered vehicle coverage is restricted to Albania. Guess we will just have to get our insurance for Europe at the border.

Also, as we had earlier lost our Iphone in Iran, we tried to look for a replacement and saw the 16GB 4S model sold at 85,500 Lek. It was quite expensive and the phone is locked to the local operator, so we did not get it.

We left Tirane and headed for Durres. Traffic was heavy towards Durres with a lot of container lorries, which is understandable as Durres is a port city.

Pyramid shaped building along the highway to Durres. From the signboard, it looks like they sell office equipments. Interesting choice of design.

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Driving to Durres, thick clouds overhead threatening to pour.

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Good bye Tirane.. Hello Durres district

We arrived in Durres city at about 3pm, parked Our Sorento and walk around town.

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Roman forum

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Street in Durres

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Durres mosque

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We have now spent close to a week in Albania. For a country that is not very well to do, we have seen a lot of Mercedes Benz on the road. We noticed this from the moment we stepped into Albania from Greece. We tried to look for the Mercedes Benz showroom just to check out the price, but have yet to find one.

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Mum and an artwork in the park

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A signboard pointing to where the tourist attractions are

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Venetian tower, part of Durres castle

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Durres castle

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Some info on Durres Castle

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Street inside the castle area

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Anti fascist wall carving - 12 July 1940


We visited the Amphitheatre (Entrance fee is 300 Lek per person). Mum and dad has had enough of archaeological remains, so I bought a ticket for myself. When we were there, there were no other tourists around, so the lady at the counter told dad to go in with me (at no extra charge). Mum waited for us outside.

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Only part of the Amphitheatre has been excavated. Another section is still being excavated so, who knows what they will uncover there.

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There are a lot of houses around the perimeter of the Amphitheatre. Guess they will have to make arrangements with the house owners if they were to excavate further.

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Lovely mosaic in the chapel

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Another surviving mosaic.


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The place could really use some TLC.

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Dad walking into a dark tunnel…

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only to find that it leads to a dead end with lots of rubbles and some rubbish.

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It did not take long to cover the grounds of the Amphitheatre. After the Amphitheatre, we continued our walk around the city.

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Museum of history

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Museum of History.

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Houses inside the castle

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Newer street in Durres.

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Remains of roman pillars right in the middle of the street.

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Red bull ice cream!!

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The area near the wall is now a small park for residence in the area to use.

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Cathedral of Saint Paul and Saint Astius

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Cathedral of Saint Paul and Saint Astius

This building represents the oldest financial institution in Albania. It houses the first branch of Banka Kombetare Tregtare established on 29 November 1925.


It was drizzling when we walked out for dinner. We headed for the rows of restaurants along the coast. There are so many of them so we head into one when mum got tired of walking.

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Mixed grill platter

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Piglet ribs – these were yummy but have quite a bit of fats on them.

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Squid & prawn linguine.

We also ordered the mussels starter but they were out of season. We ordered the chef salad with rockets and anchovies instead. Hungry from the long walk, we devoured the salad and forgot to take a photo of it.

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