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This and That

The cycle of hot sunny mornings and wet thundery afternoons seems finally to have ended and we have been treated to almost non-stop sunshine in these last days. As spring takes hold there is a lot more going on in the city.

On Monday we visited the Egyptian Trade Fair being held this week at the Palace of Congresses. When not being trampled by the herd of reporters, heavies and cameramen following the Prime Minister around, we were treated to an eclectic mix of Egyptian products, from aluminium pots, to stuffed olives to fake horsehair chairs.

Just down the street the Rognor Hotel is advertising its Schnitzel Week. The connection here is that the Rogner is owned by an Austrian company. We have not tried their restaurant yet, but this might be a good excuse to do so. Good schnitzel has proven elusive so far, but we would like to think that the Austrians should be able to get it right.

Perhaps holding the Egyptian Trade Fair in the Pyramid would have been a little too contrived, but it turns out that the Pyramid was already booked anyway. The International Centre of Culture, as I believe it is properly known, is holding an Albanian-Italian Festival of Friendship this Saturday. I'm not sure what all will be there, but I imagine food will be involved.

We made our own contribution to Albanian-Italian friendship as the result of the discovery of a very fine Italian restaurant called Vinum. I had not come across this restaurant before, nor had I seen it recommended anywhere. This may be because it is a little off the beaten track on an alleyway off Rruga Qemal Stafa. It is, however, well worth searching out.

We were also quite excited to spot some tourists in Tirana yesterday. At our weekly expat bowling session, a couple appeared on the steps, he in shorts, she in flowing skirt, both in sandals and carrying rucksacks. They looked around for a moment and then disappeared again. I thought of going to say hello, but decided that they might be disappointed to find a bunch of English speaking expats hanging around the place - not quite in keeping with the 'last forgotten corner' image.

Finally, I am pleased to report that we now have tarmac on our road. Following three months of neglect, the construction company turned up and started coating everything in a thick layer of asphalt. It looks very nice.

Unfortunately, it still doesn't come from anywhere or go to anywhere. It's just a strip of tarmac in the middle of nothing. It has given young boys on motorbikes something to race on, and it has given the driving instructors somewhere to have their students practise reversing round bends and parallel parking - while everyone in the street looks on.


Adela&Radu said…
I was starting to think that you should change the title of your blog to "Our Man in the World" :)when you finally gave us another good update on Tirana. Thanks a lot. I really like visiting this blog and reading your adventures and insightful comments on Albania.

ourmanintirana said…
Thanks Adela. I had had been out of the country for a few weeks so the last few posts reflected my travels.

The big challenge at the moment is the heat - for a large part of the day it is too hot to be out and about, so I don't see as much of the city now as I used too. But I will be posting more Albania stuff from now on.

Thanks for the link to the Lonely Planet story on your blog. I had not come across that one before. I'm trying to come up with as many tourism/travel/cultural type stories about Albania as I can and then put links to all of them in one posting.

I'm going to put a link to your blog on my site if that's okay. And any time you are near Court House, have a pint of Bass in Summers for me.
Adela&Radu said…

Thank you for putting a link to our blog. I plan to put a link to your blog as well, but I'll have to educate myself on blogger first. :)

We plan to come to Tirana in June and I am looking forward to all the changes that I hear about through your blog and others. I have been looking online for information on events in Tirana during the month of June, but have had no success so far. I am curious to know if there is anything interesting at the Theatre of Opera and Ballet or any ethnic festivals and other activities of this nature.

I know exactly what you mean when you talk about the heat. The only things that come to my mind when I think "summer in Tirana" are dust and heat. Pogradec is a good place to visit during the summer, the lake is beautiful and it never gets as hot as Tirana.

We leave in Courthouse, but haven't been to Summers lately. I am sure we'll go to see some of the World Cup games. We'll definitely remember to have a pint of Bass for you.


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And now the end is near
and so i face nanananana...

Never did like that crappy song.

But it's true nevertheless.

Tomorrow in the wee hours of the morning we will be heading for the airport for the last time. I suppose it was too much to expect that I could have kept this going while getting ready to leave. So apologies for the lack of postings over the last weeks. This is post number 380 something so I suppose one post every two days is not a bad average.

There were probably 380 more in my head or scribbled down on scraps of paper, but many of them are perhaps best left there.

I suppose I should be penning - or typing - my final thoughts and reflections on two years in Tirana, but right now I don't have any. Maybe in a month or two though I might come back with something.

Thanks to all of you who have read this blog - especially those of you who have become regulars. Thanks also for linking and thanks to all who left comments.

As for the other stars of the blog, Bella now has her own …


Welcome to Our Man in Tirana. I moved to Tirana, capital of Albania, in October 2005 and left in October 2007. This blog is a mix of photographs, reports, links, impressions and, undoubtedly, prejudices relating to the city and the country.

Since I am no longer in Tirana I am no longer updating this blog. However, there are over 300 posts covering this two year period and I hope that they are still of some interest.

So if you are curious about Albania or if you are planning to visit I hope this blog will be of value.

Miss Globe 2007

On Saturday, we were at the Rogner meeting with an expat friend who was leaving Tirana. It was breakfast time, and as our friend was finishing his tea the breakfast room started to fill up with over-dressed (or under-dressed) young women wearing blue sashes. These were the contestants for the Miss Globe 2007 beauty pageant being held in Tirana tonight at the Palace of Congresses. High heel boots and mini-skirts - or in a couple of cases micro-skirts, or possibly just belts - have never struck me as obvious breakfast attire, but the girls seemed happy enough tottering and wobbling around with their tea and toast. I'm not sure why they were wearing their sashes - perhaps in case they forgot which country they came from.
As we were leaving they were boarding a large coach which I had seen a number of times around the city in the last few days for their next trip. I'm not sure how some of them made it up the steps, or how they managed to sit down, but perhaps these are the kinds o…