Bunkers and beaches
Trip Start Nov 15, 2005
248Trip End Aug 15, 2008
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Where I stayed
The whole train experience starts when attempting to buy tickets. The Albanians don't seem to understand the concept of queueing. Even when two of us with enormous backpacks were standing right at the ticket window, people would simply thrust mnoney through and get served before us. In the end, we actually had to physically elbow people out of the way to stop them from pushing in front.
The train itself, having a narrow guage track, was small and cramped enough that it was impossible to stretch out across the seats and sleep (it left at 6.03 in the morning), and exceedingly slow
Having reached Vlora (the end point of the railway tracks), we had to wait for a few hours before a bus showed up, though there was some doubt as to whether it would or not. Some more advice - never trust the taxi drivers, or anyone who knows a taxi driver. The inevitable response when asking about public transport - "No bus until tomorrow. Come, I take you in my taxi. Only 40 euro!". As it was, the bus to Himara cost 300 leke - about 2.5 euro. Fantastic journey it was too, through the Llgora Pass national park, the most beautiful part of the country I saw, and down along the coast road (appalling though it was).
Staying with a Greek-Albanian family in Himara was interesting to see the somewhat more traditional roles they played. As in, the men sat around smoking and drinking while the women ran around doing all the work. Also, it seemed the entire family lived in the one house; felt like I was intruding a bit, but they were all very welcoming.
I did very little in Himara :) Not really large enough to be called a resort, it's a very relaxed little beach town with a quiet rocky shore to explore. A little way up from town, I found my first bunkers! A product of former dictator Enver Hoxha's paranoia, about a million of these concrete structures litter the country - that's one for every 4 people! A shame my camera battery died on me :(