7th May 2015 – Tirana, Albania
I finally got around to visiting Tirana’s prized possession. One that was built in glory, and then crumbled to ruin. People come and go, and so do short-lived governments. But all that remains of their rule, is their own doing.
This morning saw me waking up early, to go to Tirana’s bus station and buy a ticket for my onward journey.
Took a slightly different path on my way, intent on passing by one structure which everybody in Albania tells me to see. The Deshmore e Kombit, or the International centre of culture, was built in 1987 as a museum for Enver Hoxha by his daughter. One of the most expensive buildings erected during the communist rule, the ‘piramida’ was even the venue of a speech by George W Bush when he visited Albania.
But nowadays, this is a ruin. The walls are filled with graffiti, the floors are covered with litter, and all the glasses are in pieces.
In the evening, I went to catch my bus to Ohrid. Well, technically, my bus to Struga. Struga is 3 hours away by bus from Tirana, and once there, I can take a 5 EUR taxi to get to the Albanian lakeside town of Ohrid. This involved a border crossing, which was hilarious. The Albanian customs officer did not put an exit stamp for me on my passport, and when I asked him to do it, he was confused. Then, he looked at the pages on my passport, saw all the stamps, and understood that I was collecting them.
The Macedonian side is easy entry. As long as you have a Shengen visa, entry into any of these regions is very easy.
And at long last, I was in Ohrid. Meeting up with friends. Well, more about that tomorrow.