Hear about travel to Albania as the Amateur Traveler talks to Dina Rabiner about her visit to the country where she originally went as a Peace Corps volunteer.
Dina says, “My first introduction to Albania was when I was a Peace Corps Volunteer. I was part of the first group of Peace Corps volunteers to be in the country and that was in 1992, right when Albania was emerging from a period of not communism but Stalinism.” Dina was just back this year, with her family.
“Albania is a beautiful country. It’s a very small country and a lot of people equate it to the size of Maryland, but it’s just chock-full of natural beauty, of history (both its more recent communist history but also the history from Turkish occupation, from the Byzantine era). There are artifacts from all of those times.”
“You can travel the whole country within a week or a week and a half as we did and see a real range of natural beauty, of history. And the people are just incredibly welcoming as well.” Dina backs up her claims about a welcoming people with a family who just about gave them the clothes off their own back when they needed help.
Dina starts us in the capital of Tirana where she directs us to the main mosque, the market, and the House of Leaves museum which tells the darker history of the communist era.
She takes us to Krujë and then up to Valbona in the Accursed Mountains for a day hike. She continues through Durrës and Gjirokastër to the historic town of Apollonia, its ruins, and its Iso-polyphonic folk singing.
We also talk about the UNESCO sites at Butrint and Berat as well as where to find a nice beach on the Adriatic or Ionian coast. This is, after all, a country that shares a coastline with Croatia and Montenegro.
Although Albania may not be on your list of places to go, perhaps it should be.
House of Leaves (Shtepia e Gjetheve)
National Historical Museum (Albania)
Pazari i Ri
Et’hem Bey Mosque
Prokletije (Accursed Mountains)
Valbona – Catherine Bohne is an American who went on vacation to Albania 9 years ago and never came back. She also prints small hiking maps.
Museum of Apollonia
Albanian Folk Iso-polyphony video
Mrizi i Zanave – Agritourism
Albarent Rental cars
Albania Trip Planning
Hi Chris — Really enjoyed that episode, having been to the Yukon three times. But your host neglected to mention the infamous ritual of the Sourtoe Cocktail in Dawson City! More than 100,000 folks of all ages and from all over the world have done the drink with an actual mummified human toe in it, since 1973. Google it! ( I saw it but declined.) Anyway, thanks for all your podcasts, and keep them coming…I have listened to every one!
Best regards, Jack
I always enjoy the podcast but I especially enjoyed this episode of a car trip exploring the Lofoten Islands of northern Norway, I am definitely thinking of BMW for my next car, that was the car brand I used and it is simply amazing. I listened while viewing the accompanying photos in the advanced iTunes version and followed along on the journey with an online interactive map of the area. I certainly would love to do this trip someday. My only time in Norway was a few days in Oslo. The buildings of this region remind me of those I’ve seen in Greenland and Iceland. Great episode! Thanks to guest David Nikel for sharing and Chris our beloved and hard-working host.
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November 2017 – India Amateur Traveler Trip