Our stop in Durres last week wasn’t the best choice as an introduction to Albania. We thought choosing a town near the water would be a good one as it usually is for us but that ended up backfiring when it turned into a port town without much to do. So we were a little hesitant to try another large city but decided to not let one bad choice stop us from exploring an entire country… so to the capital we go!
I should probably show you where we are camping in Tirana but wait. We found strawberries at the local fruit and vegetable stand.
So back to our parking spot. We ended up in a public paid lot tucked between the center of the city and the large city lake thanks to a recommendation from our traveling friends HairVentures who are also here in town. It ended up being 500 leks a night, less than $5 a day. We ended up liking the convenience of our spot so much that we stayed for a full week. There was a toilet we could use to empty our portable one and a water spigot for refilling our bottles (not to drink but to wash dishes).
This stray pup visited us a couple times and we gave him some Yoda kibble and wet food.
Our parking spot allows us to easily to walk into the city to explore, eat, drink and shop.
In 1988, this pyramid housed a museum for Enver Hoxha, the former leader of Communist Albania. Three years later, Communism fell and the museum closed.
Since then, it’s been a conference center, NATO headquarters during the Kosovo War, and even a radio station. Today it sits in a state of disarray and has decided that it will be refurbished.
But until that happens, people will continue vandalizing it and climbing to the tippity top.
The city’s utility boxes are all painted with different types of art. I couldn’t help to snap a photo of Luka coordinating with Chewbacca.
As we walked towards the main square, Skanderbeg Square, we ran into the Bunk Art museum. There is an underground multi-room bunker that allows tours. We decided to skip it when a friend mentioned it might be a little too dark for children.
Instead of the bunker tour, we took the kids on an antique merry-go-round in the square. Less than a dollar a ride.
Here is an 18th-century mosque that was closed down during Albania’s communist rule. It was reopened in 1991 without permission from authorities. Over 10,000 people showed up once communism fell and police didn’t interfere.
Mural in front of the Tirana’s National Museum.
Ava art directed this shot.
If you pee off the bridge in Tirana, you will end up on their YouTube channel.
We spent a lot of time in coffee shops here. It’s really part of the city’s culture.
Hot chocolate here is like pudding. The girls liked it. Luka not so much.
This is how working remotely and roadschool looks like on some days.
Sometimes one coffee is not enough. This one has a playground outside,. Perfect for a pretend date with my man.
Our little man had some issues one morning and soiled three pairs of pajamas. I did my best handwashing the mess but we needing a real washer and showers too. So we ended up renting a tiny AirBnB just to use the shower and washer. They even had a dryer which is almost unheard of here in Europe. We paid $35 to use it for a few hours and left at bedtime.
Across from our parking spot are the steps up to the lake and park area in Tirana.
Can you spot our van from up here?
This man-made lake is huge.
The kids really enjoyed the playground area here.
A local kid asked Dan to play a game of basketball with him.
Mila might have said aloud that this reminded her of Napoleon Dynamite. Haha. I’m not sure why but it cracked us up.
Someone is super sweaty. Good thing our friends HairVentures offered their shower to us tonight. Pee you.
Eating a souvlaki every day here. They are about $1.30 each.
One our last day here, the kids got to get cotton candy at the park.
Enjoy Dan’s vlog about our stay here as well.
Thanks for following our adventures,