So here my experience of my trip to Albania last week in a nutshell with some links to pictures I took
Today I left for Albania, as my team FC Utrecht had drawn KF Tirana in the Europa League I decided to travel with them to a country I don't know at all. I didn't travel just for the game, but to see somewhat of the country too.
My flight brought me directly from Liège airport in Wallonia to Tirana where numerous cabdrivers were waiting to bring me to the capital centre. I had to hurry because at 18.00 CET the Dinamo-Sheriff game kicked off and my flight was quite early, I landed about 17.30. But as you know it takes a while before you're out of the plane, then continue to the border checks etc. At 18.05 I arrived at the Skanderberg square where I changed cabs (the first didn't want to take me to Qemal Stafa, he said 'too much traffic' but I negotiate a low price, hehe) and several minutes later I arrived at the stadium. The main stand was full so I had to run to the other side of the stadium to enter but I was too late, I just missed the goal but still saw about 80% of the match, unfortunately without goals and Dinamo couldn't qualify.
After the match I checked in in my hostel close to Skanderberg square, did some walking in the night before I went to bed.
- Dinamo - Sheriff pictures
Today I planned to see the city, I went to see a lot of things in Tirana like you all probably know. I came across some traditional market close to the bus- and trainstation, checked the Skanderberg square with the mosque and clocktower, went to the Taiwan complex, walked through Blloku, went to Qemal Stafa again and also saw the Selman Stermasi stadium. During the day I took some siësta because it was too hot for me and in the evening again I went to Blloku and drunk a bit with some locals there.
- Selman Stërmasi stadium pictures
- Tirana pictures
The day of the match, in the morning and afternoon I did the same as yesterday but walked to the big park a bit too. Then in the evening I went to the stadium and found out we were with fourteen away fans at this match which was quite funny.
In the stadium we met a group of Frisian (Dutch) people who were doing volunteering work in a town closeby. As we were singing to eachother in Dutch the police got panic and didn't know what to do.
The match wasn't of any importance, Tirana did well and deserved the draw, after the early goal we knew it was over.
- Tirana - Utrecht pictures
Today I went to Durrës which I experienced as really different. First in Durrës I went to see the old town and amfitheatre, as it was very, very hot I rested a bit and ate an icecream to cool down before I went to walk to the beaches where it was really, really crowded with a lot of people from Kosovo and Macedonia as well as Tirana they told me.
At the end of the afternoon I went to the Niko Dovana stadium from Teuta, for the second time, where I got my banner before I returned to the bus station to return to Tirana. Then I tried to sleep early before going to the airport and fly back via Ljubljana to Amsterdam.
- Durrës pictures
- Niko Dovana stadium pictures
To conclude I can say I experienced the Albanian people as very hospitable and friendly. Also they're very curious and trying to sell anything on the street, very uncommon over here.
Albania over here is a very unknown country and it really surprised me in a positive way, it's quite poor compared to here but the people seem to be happy and that's what counts.
Also, everyone seems to be driving in a Mercedes
, with that I saw many people burning corncobs on the street, very funny and it smells very well I have to say.
Would certainly return some time to see other parts of the country and visit more clubs outside the Tirana-Durrës region, like for example Vllaznia or Flamurtari.
Anyway, hopefully you enjoy the pics.