| by Kenneth Chase | 1 comment

Touring Tirana: Vibrant City Center & Nuclear Bunker (Plus Incredible Penthouse Apartment)

Good morning from beautiful Prizren Kosovo. Yeah, we’re sad to leave after only one day here in Kosovo it’s a just a really nice city that we wanted to experience a little bit more of but Our itinerary only has time for one day. And so we are headed on back to to run Albania the capital of today We don’t really know what we’re gonna be doing today in Tirana a big part of this tour Has been that we didn’t do a lot of the planning. We have not been let down so far Cheese Balkans has come up with this whole itinerary every morning our guide Nick tells us just a little bit about what we’re going to be doing He likes to keep a lot of surprises and then when we come up on something cool, he likes to go Well, you haven’t seen anything yet. We’re told we are guests of the boss tonight for dinner I don’t know if that’s normal or if it’s something special for us but that is the one thing we’ve been letting onto for today that we’re really looking forward to our drive to Albania’s capital city took about two and a half hours and despite some internet searching that led us to believe that Albanian roads needed a lot of updating. This route was an easy ride on newer highways until we hit the city traffic Tirana is home to about 500,000 people and holds a lot of history We were excited to see the city for ourselves after hearing that the capital is a mix of post communism style with a quirky and colorful vibe We are now above Tirana We’re gonna have a little lunch with a view pretty good view Lunch as every other meal has been, was amazing we had Goat some sort of meat and ricotta cheese and some other sort of sauce mixture a salad I’ve had more goat this week than I probably had in the rest of my life combined We should eat more goat in the States now that we have finished up lunch We made a stop on our way back down into the center of Tirana. We’re here at a former military base There’s some bunkers here, but they’ve been repurposed and given a new life You can find bunkers all across, Albania 207,000 bunkers were planned and a hundred and sixty-eight thousand bottles The complex sprawls five levels underground and was built in the 1970s to protect paranoid communist dictator in Enver Hoxha and government officials from any nuclear war The maze of tunnels take you back in time giving you a brief overview of life under communism in Albania leading up to 1990. Our guide was telling us that even members of his own family were kind of uncomfortable with the idea when it first opened Because of such horrible things that had happened down underground But it gives you a very honest look of what life was like during that time. With a visit to bunk art complete we drove back Above-ground to the modern city where we met with the Choose Balkans team at their tour office and checked into one of the rental apartments the company manages. What we didn’t know was that this was another one of their little surprises for us The owner of cheese Balkans told us that he upgraded us into a really nice room and When we arrived on our floor and the building that we’re in We were blown away. This room is huge if you take a look we have a kitchenette here There’s a double-sided couch one looking out over the city the other looking at a TV Complete with Netflix and everything else. You could want a huge comfy double bed tons of closet space a fireplace Here toilet, walk-in shower That walks out to this. And just in case you’re wondering the city’s main square is easily viewable from this large Walk around wrap around balcony. It is right there There’s Skanderbeg Square. Now that we are all checked in into our amazing room with you We’re getting ready to check out the capital city of Toronto Which we can see pretty much from our window. The main attractions of downtown Tirana are easy to see on foot So we started our city tour with our guide Nick and our first stop is going to be the new Bazaar here in Tirana Which is 250 years old So that let’s you know what new means here. Walking around you can feel the city is lively and unique vibe With lots of new construction everywhere you look Brightly colored buildings and even a street named after a US president. There’s also one very distinct and debated landmark. When we were researching things to do here in Toronto One of the only things that we could find on Google and one of the only images of Tirana that came up consistently was of a rundown Pyramid that sits here in the city center The pyramid was actually a museum for the communist dictator. And now it’s falling apart here in the city center It’s kind of a tourist attraction and some people like to climb up to the top of it Yeah, it’s fenced off here today. It looks like a few people have jumped the fence We asked our guide Nick if it was okay to go inside and climb it He said you could probably do it, but you may face some issues with police Which we don’t want so probably going to pass we then crossed over to the Blloku District, which is now home to upscale restaurants shops and the city’s nightlife It’s a sharp contrast to some of the neighborhood’s history. So it’s just a little interesting We’re standing in front of the communist dictator’s personal villa here One of the fancier homes here in Tirana and it is now located right across from a lovely KFC After our afternoon walk we met the owners of the Choose Balkans tour company Albin and his wife for a fantastic dinner featuring some delicious meats a wide selection of other tasty dishes and a lot of great conversation. We ended the night with a stroll back through the city’s bustling streets and major squares Finding relics of Albania’s past so our guide took us to a communist monument graveyard so these old statues used to stand in the squares during communist times and now they are just dumped behind a building and Stumbling across the flourishing art scene complete with an outdoor concert Our final stop was the redesigned grand Skanderbeg Square featuring stone from all across Albania and a number of national buildings We have made it back to our apartment here in Tirana city centre Tirana itself has a really different feel than I think anything else I’ve ever experienced It’s got a little bit of an older feel but you can feel that things are rapidly changing There’s a lot of construction in the city There’s a lot of new restaurants and it’s interesting to see how it develops alongside the history that goes back hundreds of years here Even after 40 – 50 years of communism. So I think it’s definitely worth checking out along with the rest of Albania Thanks for bearing with us today while I’ve been under the weather. I’m starting to lose my voice So Steph’s done most of the talking and been on camera the most but she looks better on camera Anyway, so you probably didn’t mind If you like this video, please be sure to give it a thumbs up subscribe to our Channel and click the bell down below So you’ll be the first to know when we post something new. Thanks for watching and good night from Tirana

1 Comment

Gjergj Kastriot Scanderbeg King of Albania

Aug 8, 2019, 11:10 pm Reply

Glad you enjoyed it guys! Tirana has been rapidly changing in the past 2 years and I think it wont stop chaning for another 10 years. Greetings from my Square, where I watch over the city! 😛

Leave a Reply