// MY NAME IS DANIELAnd after years of dreaming I've sold everything I own and set off on the open road. I've made this site as a sort of photo journal of my travels. The map shows where I've been (red), where I've stayed a month or more (yellow), and where I plan to go (white). And so, armed with little more than a backpack, a camera, and a dream, I now take the road less traveled by. So it goes.
TIRANA I arrived in Albania from Kosovo and my first stop was the capital, Tirana. Albania's history stretches back thousands of years, first as a federation of Illyrian tribes and later as a Roman province; more recently is was a secretive communist state for many decades before the fall of European communism in the 1990s.
ELBASAN I spent a month in Elbasan as the world was locked-down due to Covid and I needed a quiet place to wait for Europe to reopen. The city, though not well known on the tourist circuit, was really nice (except for the attack by a pack of wild dogs--photo below). The old castle at the center of the city has been transformed into a neighborhood. You can also see the apartment I rented below as well as a Roma (Gypsy) market.
KORCE Korce is a historic city in Southern Albania near the Greek border, founded in the late 1400s by an Albanian commander in the Ottoman military. Being so close to Greece, the city has a large Greek and Orthodox Christian minority.
SHKODRA Another historic city, this one however in the north, near the border with Montenegro. Shkodra (also called Shkoder) was founded in the 4th Century BC by ancient Illyian tribes, who were later conquered by Rome. Like Korce, the city has a large Christian population, though here mainly Catholic.
ROZAFA CASTLE Rozafa castle sits on a hill overlooking Shkodra. Though likely the site of older fortifications, the castle itself dates to the Venetian Republic who once controlled much of the coast. The view really can't be beat. The legend of the castle says that it was built by three brothers, but the walls kept falling. An old man told them that to keep the walls from falling, the first of their wives who served them dinner that day would have to be buried inside the foundations. In the name of fairness, they promised not to warn their wives, but the two older brothers cheated and told their wives the prophecy. So it was the younger brother's wife who served dinner first-- and therefor chosen to be buried. She made only one request, to have her right arm and right breast exposed, so she could still nurse her infant son.
LAKE OHRID Ironically, I spent a month living on the other side of this lake in Macedonia, looking out at Albania every evening on my daily runs and wondering what it was like over there on that mysterious other side. Now I know. And sadly that is the end of my tour of Albania. Next stop, Montenegro.