Albania

photo_20150428151535-resized-1024Serbian people told us: “Albanian people are not nice and above all they are stealers.” But we decided to go over there, even if it was not recommended! We passed from Montenegro to Albania without transition. Houses are different, all of them have on their roof a big tank for water. We saw a lot in all the country, they are very useful during the cuts water. Despite it, Albanian people often wash their car in the numerous “Lavazh”. But there is a lot of dust.

The first night we met Vjollca, she explained us Albanian habits and culture. She is directress in the ministry of the integration at the Europe and works a lot for that. Despite it, she took time to visit us Lezhë and its fortress. She presented us The Albanian Hero: Skenderbert. We will try to tell you his story.

photo_20150429140448-resized-1024Skenderbert was the youngest son of an Albanian lord. His father was a rebel, so he was obligated to pay a tax to the emperor. So, his four sons were taken to serve in the ottoman army. All of them were killed except one. Too young during facts, Skenderbert didn’t know his story but some people told him. When he was a brillant officier, he decided to change his positions and came back in Albania with other soldiers. In Lehzë, he met princes of the different regions and established with them a resistance which lasted 37 years.

Enthusiast by history and politic, Vjollca told us also several historic stories. During the Ottoman Empire, lot of people were converted to islam more or less by force. If they were not muslim, villagers had to pay enormous taxes, then they had nothing. So they decided to convert themselves. Today religion is present but very discrete, there are few places of worship. Christian an Muslim are very tolerant.

Vjollca spoke us about communism period which lasted 40 years. The country was directed by Enver Hoxha. This dictatorship was the most hard in Europe. People possessed nothing.

photo_20150502165928-resized-1024Lot of bunkers are still present in the Albanian country. Built between 1950 and 1985, they look like little mushrooms of 5 tonnes, almost impossible to destroy. They were built to resist against an invasion. To prouve their resistance, its engineer tested them. He stood inside one and was bombarded by a tank. He was still alive.

Albania is the most poor country in Europe. With the economic decreasing, the gouvernement is very hard with the population. Lot of Albanians are unemployed.

We continued our trip to Tirana, the capital. It was not without troubles, there are traffic signs and good asphalt only on the main roads. For the others roads, there are few signs, sometimes nothing and a lot of holes. We had to slalom between them. People use often motorbikes and bicycles. We met several travellers by bike.

photo_20150502103909-resized-1024In Tirana and others big cities, we can see some German and french buses. For example, we have seen buses from Paris, Lyon and Montpellier. Signs are still written in french. It was surprising!

We continued our tour along the Ionian see. The steep roads near the see are a bite difficult but the amazing  landscapes were a reward. No restaurants or hotels, only nature. Spring is finally installed with its heat, its flowers and its perfumed odors.photo_20150502150240-resized-1024

Albania was a real discovery. People are so nice and enthusiast. There is like a permanent effervescence and always someone outside. Along the roads people encouraged us.

We left Albania on May 5th for the Greece.

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