Fortifications at Mountain and Sea

by hopesfrenzy

Our final couple of days in Tirana were spent both exploring the city as well as the areas north of it. One day we picked up our car (which, by the way, involved a car elevator that you drove into and took you up/down – it was always chaotic and took forever!) and drove to Kruje. This town, like many were seeing in the countryside, was perched on a mountain surrounding an ancient fortress. The castle village (again, people still lived there) was cute, as was the bazaar that wound down the hill into town. The sun was warm and created a very cozy atmosphere. We grabbed some baked goods at the “George W. Bush” Bakery (there was also a statue of him in another town we passed), and starting driving toward the coast.

Our destination was the Cape of Rodon, and like always this involved some adventurous back road driving, beautiful scenery, and questions about whether this adventure was worth the destination! The small road snaked along the crest out into the ocean, and it seemed very sparsely populated and not a lot of services.

We parked in the dirt parking lot and, as we started our walk, were quite amazed at the strangeness of the beach here. There was all of a sudden a stone path, a beautiful church, lights and all kinds of sculptures and other infrastructure. There was a restaurant out here, as well as a series of abandoned military bunkers. Albania’s longtime dictator, Enver Hoxha, was paranoid of invasion and he had over 750,000 of them built across the entire country.

After relaxing on the beach for a couple of hours, swimming in the Adriatic, and exploring the area, we jumped back into the car and back to Tirana (where we had to go through the nightmare of parking again!). The next day we went to Bunk Art in Tirana, and then on our final day we made the drive back to Ohrid in North Macedonia. We stayed at a beautiful little farm close to the airport, and headed straight to the beach so we could get one last swim and sun in. Early the next morning, we were sent off by a brilliant breakfast put together by the mother whose son ran the place. It was a perfect and tasty end to a wonderful adventure.

Driving with Stéphane
Location: North of Tirana, Albania

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