An unplanned trip to Vlora in mid-February
My wife needed the driving practice and I needed the change of scenery. So one Saturday afternoon, half-way from Tirana to Durres, we decided that Vlora would be our final destination. The unplanned trip meant that we had to figure things relatively fast. With no change of clothes or anything packed, we did not stop but drove directly on to the city. The guest house we had stayed before would not answer their phone so a friend of mine and his wife were extremely kind to invite us at their house. We did check out a local hotel first, but decided that, despite the unplanned visit, their house and hospitality was a worthier accommodation than the local hotel. That decision made our whole trip a very enjoyable time. The next morning, I wrote the following…
Morning from Vlora!
The city of Vlora, the same as Tirana, has been turned into an urban jungle. The entire viewable area is a giant collection of many buildings. Most are small and only a few stories tall, but from this 8th floor view it is obvious that the city’s land has been overtaken by “mushroom” constructions that have sprung up everywhere they can.
Even the hills have been conquered. The hill on the right of the center building (called the hill of Babica) now has a number of buildings that all seem to be crawling up and someone has already captured its top!
Just like Tirana, the roads are bumpy and plenty of wholes to be aware of. Traffic is comparatively manageable but still a challenge as here; driving rules, street lines, or policemen, are few and very unreliable. Ah, about stop lights, there are none – check that out when you visit next time!!!
Other than that, Vlora is blessed with a very mild winter and plenty of sun most of the year, but that is almost a given for a Mediterranean city like this.
Our friends showed us a small fish restaurant near Narta. I had never been on that part of Vlora so, despite the late night visit, the trip and location was quite interesting, even if just to learn about a new eating spot in this city. The fish was a bit old, I should admit, and the rations rather scare, but we enjoyed ourselves nevertheless as we were there for company and not just food.
The service, otherwise, was relatively good for Vlora. Most people from Tirana, that I know, always complain about the rudeness of waiters in the city and beach area especially. The feeling that many have reported when the waiter would come to take your order, was almost that of being in a police interrogation where you, the customer, were the accused! Well, this time it was different, I think, though things have improved much in the past few years as restaurants and bars have gotten to understand that without customers there’s no business!
Meanwhile, I managed to forget my hat back at the restaurant, so we had to go back and get it. Bummer!
As we all got ready, my friend and I went for a quick coffee, while our respective wives did a short shopping trip afterwards. Then we joined again together for a coffee by the sea, which was especially enjoyable with the excellent weather. The trip to Tirana was rather fast and uneventful, except for the feeling of tiredness that you get after a relatively long drive.