Goodbye Saranda, hello Gjirokaster

As six of the last seven days have been spent in Saranda, it was finally time to say goodbye to the friends and temporary home I had made this last week. In addition to the wonderful ambience created by the manager Klardi, the Hairy Lemon hostel offered fantastic views of the beach that happened to very conveniently be just across the road. I made sure then that I spent at least a couple of hours down by the beach on this my final day.




That evening and as a group, we had a final supper choosing a local seafood restaurant which turned out to be superb and still ridiculously cheap as per everything in Albania! We also had a family of Germans check-in with us for one night so they came along too – and a cool, butch American.

Here is a quick sample of the quality from just a few of the dishes:

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Although you’re probably still recovering from my last post relating to the cost of products and services over here, I’ve got a final example to provide you relating to the above. So consider dishes of the size and quality shown above but for TEN people. I’m talking seafood risotto, seafood casserole, seafood spaghetti fried squid, proper large prawns, stuffed octopus, grilled veg (and many more side dishes!). Then on top of that add a single drink per person with at least half of the ten people consuming a single beer or glass of wine. Even if you averaged that at £20 per person for drinks and side dishes and multiple main dishes that’s a minimum of £200 but you could easily rack up a £250 bill collectively.

Our bill came to eye-rubbing total of £90 euros (£65). I still can’t get my head around that a full day later and probably won’t for sometime.

After supper we walked back to the hostel and enjoyed the last beautiful sight we would see from our balcony:


The next morning we boarded a bus in the hope of reaching Gjirokaster and so the journey back up north continued but this time we’re headed in-land and not along the coast. The journey was again a pleasant one so no surprises along the way. Gjirokaster happens to be one of the very few well-known towns in Albania because it is home to one of the three UNESCO registered sights. Yep, you guessed it, only another castle! But quite a nice one I can admit…

We know there isn’t much else to do here so tomorrow we plan to set off continuing our northern journey to Berat before reaching the Albanian capital Tirana at the end of the working week.

That’s all I have to say folks so enjoy today’s pictures consisting of firstly our hostel (you’d be forgiven for thinking it was a private villa), the view looking down from the hostel and then of course, the UNESCO ‘stamped’ castle!


And the views from high up in the mountain where we were based:

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And now the castle:

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