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Trip Report Long weekend in Albania

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The purpose of this trip was basically to spend time with Albanian friends whose daughter was getting married, so we were not on a full fledge tourist mission to see everything available as "family time" was more important.

We arrived on Turkish airlines to very slow immigration counters., but finally got through and collected our luggage. Our friends were waiting for us and the others on our flight also coming to the wedding.

Taxis were arranged for all. The company charges 20E to the city but they gave us a card for the return trip for 8E ( 1,000 LEK). The airport is not far from the city but traffic seems very congested as there are no ring roads and everyone is funneled to roundabouts leading into the city and crossroads. Your hotel will tell you how much time you need but from where we were staying I would count on 40 minutes, but you may be there in 20.

We were booked in at the Plaza Hotel, which is really really nice. I had made other arrangements but everyone else was staying here and the family wanted us all to be in the same hotel, so this is where we stayed. I am so glad we did.

http://www.plazatirana.com

The wedding reception was also there. The breakfast was excellent and you could order things from the grill, etc. if you didn't fancy what was presented ( pancakes and omelets to order, among other things)

The next day we had a private tour van for our small group to go to Kruje, the closest historic town to Tirana. You can read up on it here

http://www.albca.com/albania/kruje.html

We had lunch at the Panorama restaurant. http://hotelpanoramakruje.com/restaurant/

The food was excellent. I think our hosts ordered every typical dish there was so we could try everything. Soups, lamb and cheese breads are all amazing, as is the freshness of the greens and salads. I am sure you will find the Albanian food tasty.

It takes the full day to tour this area if you have a guide at both museums as there are lots of historic details/wars, invasions, conquests to understand. We enjoyed Skanderbeg's history and also the in tact home of a wealthy towns person that has been kept true to the times in good condition.

Our guide with the van was not really good at all but the ones in the museums were tops.

Basic English was spoken by most servers in all the restaurants we were in but then again they were not small, local places, but attached to the hotel in Kruje and very nice hunting lodge place in Tirana. But I do think that not knowing the language here is not a huge problem. The people are VERY hospitable and welcoming.

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