Tirana (Albania) For One Day

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The best way to predict the future is to create it.” -Alan Kay

I get numerous messages from friends and acquaintances asking me how I am able to travel for this long. I am on the road for 8 months now. But I don’t sleep on the road😉. I feel truly fortunate to find places I can call home. I keep receiving questions like – where do you get your money? How can you travel for that long and quit your job? How much are you earning if you don’t mind? Et cetera. These are valid questions. And I fully understand why they are asking. I came from a third world country. And perhaps not many of us are pursuing this kind of path. I will try to answer these in my succeeding posts.

Apparently, it is my second post about Tirana, Albania. Yet the focus is not at all about Tirana. I have not really talk about my impressions of the city, it’s people, the culture. I keep reading bits and pieces of Albanian history. And like my friends and even family would say: “Amiga, I have to google again where is Albania!” I don’t feel surprise. Because I have to admit that before visiting Albania, I know nothing about the country, its past and how they are in the present, I receive mix opinions. So every time the locals would ask me why are you in Tirana? Why are you traveling to Albania? I give them ‘my sweetest smile’ 😉. That is more than sufficient answer because I have no words to say🙂. For sure, I will write a post about this too.

Today, I want to share to our dear readers and friends a glimpse of how my day looks like. Through this you will have an idea that I am not just traveling, I am living like how I would be back home.

Here it goes.

A fellow volunteer worker asked me to swap with the work schedule at a hostel. I took the morning shift. I work from 8am to 12pm. I get up 15 minutes before I start with my work. Quickly prepare myself. Quickly check emails for any booking or reservation. Quickly check the excel sheets for the number of guests. Then I head to the kitchen to prepare the breakfast. I have to make sure that there is butter, fruit jam and cheese. Milk, corn flakes, sugar. I boiled the eggs. Sliced tomatoes. Put the olives. And then quickly run to the nearest bakery to buy bread. Fresh bread. So when I get back to the hostel, the eggs are cooked already. And charaaann breakfast is ready!  :) The coffee and coffee maker is there. I have not really prepare coffee (I don’t know how) since I am not a coffee drinker😉. I make sure that  there is tea, various tea: lemon, mint, chamomile. And I put water in the tea boiler.

I go back to the reception area and put on some really nice music to make me fully awake🙂.  In between I surf the internet or respond to my personal mails. When the guests are awake I try to make some small talk to make them feel like at home. Sometimes there are guests who walk in – so I just check them in.

Before noon, the hostel cleaner would come, and the hostel manager is around too. Then my fellow volunteer workers are back in the hostel as well with other guests. We went out together for lunch. Thereafter, I return to the hostel to get some power nap. It just makes me feel so sleepy after every meal🙂.  After 30 minutes power nap, I wake up and meet a new guest. We walk to the Grand Park – this is (so far) my favorite spot in Tirana🙂 I always love it when I am in communion with nature. While having a lazy walk, we watch a beautiful sunset and the golden silhouette just make the surrounding more beautiful. By coincidence this new friend would accidentally meet her friend. Of all the places, in the park! They didn’t know at all that they are both in Tirana. We walk to the supermarket to buy some groceries. I’d drop by at my favorite fruit stand not only to buy fruits but to say hi to my Albanian vegetable and fruit seller friend/s. We continue our walk around the Block on our way to the city centre. We went to the Travel Agency to buy ticket to Macedonia. While the other friend, is in the look for a shoe-repair to fix her winter boots. We had dinner in one of the restaurant around Albania University. We make a small tour to the city centre – the Skanderbeg Square, with mosque adjacent to it, the Opera House opposite the mosque, next to Opera House is the Intercontinental Hotel and then the National Historical Museum. And that comprises the centre🙂. On our way back to the hostel we pass by a small park where the Freedom Monument is located. Keep walking until we cross a bridge passing a very small river, they call – Lana River. That seems to me like a big canal. And then some minutes we are back to the hostel! Drinking tea, chatting and winding up!

While here I am. Still awake even after midnight. Writing about what transpire within the day. Because I promised myself I will try my best to blog regularly. I have to keep the discipline. I have to walk my talk. Here is a factual of what my day like. Thank you for keeping me company!

NOTE: If you are a tourist visiting Tirana and you have only 1 day. I highly recommend seeing the Grand Park (Parku i Madh)  and Tirana’s Artificial Lake;  a walk around the city centre NOT just seeing the centre – Skanderbeg Square (you will know why🙂 ). Cafes and bar in the Blloku area – lots of choices. A little bit pricey for Tirana’s standard – as this is the most expensive part of the city. Suggested place/s to dine in, please read on.

Here are the photos of today! These are all unedited photos (as ease) from my outdated not-so-smart phone😉

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This is my home in Tirana located in the Blloku🙂

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How I prepare breakfast🙂. It seems a small thing but somehow it gives me a sense of ownership and a sense of responsibility🙂

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Lunch at Era Restorant – Piceri. With fellow travelers, the girl (Catherine) from Canada, Chris who had just visited the Philippines & making his way in Europe and a couple from the US (Erika and Salvador) who are traveling by bicycles! Really inspiring!🙂

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A  chicken, pine nuts & pilaf (rice). Apparently, the 3 of us girls happened to have all the same order. The verdict…it’s so so. Linda at the hostel definitely cooks better! It’s 410 Lek or about 3 Euros. Era Restorant is popular around Blloku. Other cuisines as I was told taste better though.

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Practicing selfie😉 with a new friend from Japan – Erina

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Tirana’s Artificial Lake. I just realized the mirror reflection after I captured it. One and only sunset photo for today. Unedited. As ease. I simply love sunset!❤

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Who would not love this?🙂

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It’s my third time in the Grand Park, and I will keep coming back🙂

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It is too beautiful not to share. I mean, the view😉

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Mirror-reflection. Like for us humans, how we look outside is a mere reflection of who we are inside. When you have a good heart a natural beauty just glows outward🙂

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🙂

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I don’t only people watch. I enjoy baby watch🙂🙂

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Another selfie for the day🙂 Dropping by at my favorite fruit vendor seller to buy my favorite fruit. No it’s not apple.

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It’s orange!🙂 And look, her beauty glows from within. We always talk a lot. She doesn’t speak English. I don’t speak Albanian. But we understand each other🙂 I think it’s a language of the heart :))

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Skanderbeg Square. Albanian flag. The man with the horse is Albanian’s National Hero. The mosque behind. And the clock tower. This is – the centre🙂 Welcome to Tirana!😀

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When you are walking for about an hour or two looking for a shoe repair shop and travel agency while touring around the city – a piece of chicken suflaqe seems not enough. Miwako and Erina both from Japan coincidentally met at the Grand Park. And none of them knows, they are both in Tirana at the same time. A beautiful coincidence🙂

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SUFLLAQE SPECIALE Restaurant. Is found in the street of Rruga E Kavajes near Albania University. This sumptuous Suflaqe chicken (Sufllaqe mish pule in Albanian) costs only 150 Lek or about 1 Euro.

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A fountain next to the small park where Freedom Monument was erected is a relaxing site at night. Just nice to pass by on our way back to the hostel.

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Popular for tourists. Where we dine in for lunch. Located in the Blloku area.

This pretty sums up my day. That it is possible to merge work and travel altogether. See a new place, indulge in a new culture, meet people. That life is about living. That dreams indeed do come true.

Gudnite friends until my next post!

4 thoughts on “Tirana (Albania) For One Day

  1. It’s incredible what you do, volunteer and staying this long. But as ever, I am ever amazed and in envy. There’s also something about the way dishes are laid out and their colors too, that’s so cute and interesting. Love the outdoors too! in the concrete jungle aka city there’s very little nature🙂

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