Tirana’s Interesting History

When you’re doing rapid travel planning because you’re trying to avoid going home but don’t want to get chucked out of Europe for voiding your visa, there’s a couple of things you can do. One – get creative. And two – call on your network.

Thanks to Facebook, I knew that Camilla, an old work colleague of mine, was wandering about Europe in a similar style to us with her partner Ben. And knowing they’d already been to some places we hadn’t, I hit her up for some advice for what was worth visiting without breaking our Schengen rules. Her enthusiastic answer was to look up Off Limits tours in Albania, and go wandering in the remote northern mountains. So that’s exactly what we did!

Albania was surprising, exciting, educational and a lot of fun. Here are some of the highlights from our unexpected detour through this remarkable country.

Our first night in Albania was a walking tour with Eri, our tour guide (and the owner of the touring company). He walked us around Tirana’s architectural highlights, giving us some background on the history of Albania’s capital. His experience and knowledge were pretty awesome, particularly as someone who lived through the end of Communism, two civil wars and a huge rebuild and restoration effort to bring Albania out of its troubled past. The combination of pre-war, post war, Communist and modern-day buildings, as well as sculptures and repurposed spaces makes it an interesting city to walk around. And having a beer at the revolving restaurant above it all

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