Delo Slovenian magazine has published an article about Albania, describing the country at its finest. The journalists took a travel to the southeastern Europe country and what they first noticed were the “modern gallery” of bunkers and blockhouses, inherited from the communism period but never used for any purpose during the time they were constructed. Nowadays, they have transformed into an exciting touristic attraction for Europeans. Here is the translated and adjusted article which was originally shared in the Slovenian language.
“Albania is no longer that poor country of Balkan but in the contrary. Many Albanians have returned from the migration rich and well educated and are trying to realize their dreams in the country. The difficult past can be now evidenced by the bunkers spread in valleys and constructed as a preliminary measure during the Cold War.
The Block, which is the main and most expensive area of Tirana capital, hosts the house of the former dictator Enver Hoxha, surrounded by an iron fence. It seems that no one wants to destroy this house but just leave it as it is.
Nowadays Albania is far from the stereotypes of an undeveloped Balkan. The word Albanian has a different connotation for us but its source comes from the symbol of eagle. Albanians call themselves the sons of eagles.
Another abandoned architectonic surprise in the middle of the city is the pyramid, constructed by the dictator. Now its external walls are covered with graffiti. Speaking about the architecture, in the heart of Tirana raises Sky Tower, a modern city from which you can see the rest of Tirana and the villages nearby. This panoramic background seems pretty interesting and no surprisingly will end up at Lonely Planet pages one day.
The Albanian Riviera is full of new constructions, fantastic hotels and the water of Ionian Sea is like crystal. Meanwhile, we read an article of the Italian journalist Roberto Saviano which speaks about the relations between the Albanian and Italian mafia.
But we, as tourists, do not encounter any security problem. People in Himara area tell us that they have worked in Greece for years and now they returned to their country to invest, mainly in hotel resorts and restaurants. They say that here come a lot of tourists, mainly Germans and Czech people. You can notice a true goodwill and hospitality here.
The Albanian language is wonderful. It is an ancient Illyrian language which does not resembles to any other language. The most common used words here are “Faleminderit – Thank you” and “Mirupafshim – Goodbye”. The traditional alcoholic drink is called “raki”. Albanians also drink a lot of coffee, which costs no more than 50 cents. You can see coffee shops everywhere.
Inland, you can visit the unique city of Gjirokastra, part of UNESCO list, an ancient city with typical Turkish architecture. You can visit the castles, the tight roads insider the city and hear the locals to speak proudly about their city, traditions and the inherited craftsmanship from their ancestors.
In Tirana capital, the coffee shops are modern and decorated with fashion, full of flowers and pop / lounge music, cocktails and fashionably dressed young people. The city has also many galleries for exhibitions and movies. Form everything that we saw, we may say it seemed that we were visiting Berlin or any other European country. We drank Heineken beer but we wanted to drink some traditional raki that could chop me down and made me sing loudly, but no! Another stereotype eradicated from our heads.
In this country, you can buy a food portion with rissole, sour cream, buns and beer for only EUR 3 per person. Hotel rooms are clean and cheap. People here are very friendly and helpful.”