The night at the boat reduced the storm of feelings from yesterday. I even dream about a difficult situation at one client.
I’m at 6th bridge – name for floor in boats – where the reception is, together with about hundred passengers waiting authorization to disembark. Mainly seem immigrants returning home and truck drivers. No tourists in sight. Next tasks: breakfast, sim card and bus to Tirana.
Still at the port I buy a Vodafone Albania sim card. There is a roaming free area with neighboring countries which might be useful. For this quick trip, relying on wifi to check hotels, maps, timetables would increase the stress.
The first touts offering taxi services come as soon I step out the port building. I had memorized the way to the bus terminal and could easily ignore. On the way there is the Dürres train station, where they are rebuild the line.
The bus leaves in 10 minutes, ticket is 2 euros. I quickly buy a 2 kefka sandwich before boarding. The bus is full and I stand during the 30 minutes drive without many road rules.
The Tirana regional bus terminal is 4 km away from the center. It is raining. The umbrella partly hides my tourist look. I decide to walk to the international bus terminal, half way to Tirana center. “One country or city development is measured by the comfort given to pedestrians” is one of my sayings. Tirana can still gain several places in that area.
I’m trying to know when there are buses to Pristina tomorrow. At the billboard tells about 2 buses, I read about 4 online. Travel agencies touts trying to convince me to buy tickets. The say about the times not in the billboard when I insist. The 15 € price seems fixed. There are dozens of travel agencies selling the same tickets. Tomorrow I’ll decide.
I’ve decided for a “boutique” hotel for 40 €. I could already get the room and leave the backpack. I ask how to get to Bunk’Art 1, which I know is in the outskirts of Tirana. “Is far, only by taxi”. I had seen that a city bus goes there. The receptionist asks the cleaning person who confirms and explains me where to take.
Level -3 of the main bunker from communist times of Albania. One interesting exhibition about the influence that Italy, Russia and China had in the history of the country. The country was very closed, all furniture was produced locally, all machines. For long time the TVs were made in a way they could not receive foreign channels.
Little after 16:00 it starts to get dark at this longitude. Tired of walking in a noisy city I retreat to the hotel. Excellent timing as a thunderstorm arrives soon after. Tirana has little interesting spaces and surely with more time one would appreciate more. There are quite some people cycling, even in the chaotic traffic. Some separate cycle lines (dis)appear in the city center. Time to look for a restaurant, now that the rain stopped.
Final thoughts about Tirana: it is impregnated with live. Every ground floor is a shop, open from early until 21h or 22h. The new influencer in the country is Saudi Arabia, which builds nice new buildings and has an exhibition in the city center. Many motor-bicycles have a rain cover, quite funny. There are still water tanks at top of some buildings – usually related to not so stable electricity.
Next Stop: Kosovo.