Something we learned very quickly in Albania is that you kind of have to take a leap of faith when it comes to travel. Public transit options are essentially buses, furgons (“minibuses”), and hitchhiking. All fine and good, but trying to find information for your route online is at best horribly frustrating and at worst outdated/outright wrong. Research your options ahead of time, but make sure you verify pickup locations, fares, timetables, etc. in person or with someone local. I found checking recent blog entries which detailed their route fairly helpful (check out here and here to get an idea). Even then, prepare to be flexible as arrival/departure times can be fairly loose and timetables can be outdated. I’ll elaborate a little more below when I speak about our adventure figuring out how to leave Tirana, but for now lets talk furgons.
What are we eating in… The Balkans!
I want to start by saying that we LOVED the food throughout the Balkan region. Think rich soups, stews, grilled meats, and pies flavoured with paprika, garlic, and fresh vegetables. This feels like cheating a little bit because the “Balkans” encompass a large, diverse region of eastern Europe. The Balkan Peninsula is surrounded by the Adriatic, Mediterranean, Marmara, and the Black Seas and more or less encompasses all of southeastern Europe. For simplicity, I’ll be talking more about some of the foods we enjoyed in the core region of the Balkans, namely Albania, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia.
Throughout our European travels we have found evidence of the greatness of the Roman Empire; from Hadrian’s Wall in the misty isles of Britain as far as Ephesus on the Aegean shores of Turkey. Every church, every castle, and every European city we visited was built upon the foundations of Roman temples, forts, and towns. Roman language, culture, and technologies spread all across the western world and are still used today. Needless to say, I was ecstatic when at last we had arrived at the centre of it all, the birthplace of western civilisation, to which all roads once led: Rome.