Albania Stories and Tips

Vlora

I will post reviews also, but mainly I have some sights to list if you are in Vlore that you might want to check out. The city layout is decently simple. Beaches to the west, city to the east and you'll want to stay more north than south as far as city goes, but as far as hotels and nightlife go head to the southern part of the city.  Statuje Impart (Statuja e Pavavsise): This sits in the original qender or center of Vlore, though where all the fun happens is in the Riviera the new and growing center of Vlore. The Statudje Impart is the flag statue or the statue symbolizing the first declaration of Albanian freedom from their Turk rulers in 1918. I believe, the date is written on the statue. When this flag was raised it was the fist time in a thousand years that Albania had declared itself its own country. It had always been ruled by the, Romans, Greeks and Turks. Funny thing is that one year after that flag of independence was raised, America and Great Britain and other European Alliances broke up the country into Greece, Macedonia, Kosovo and Yugoslavia (something like that, all the surrounding areas got divided into numerous different lands). This statue is very highly esteemed by the locals here.  Riviera: This is the new, modern center of Vlore. Tell any taxi driver or ask any local where the Riviera is and you'll be pointed in that direction. If you want to ask just say "Ku eshte Riviera?" (Pronounced almost as it sounds Ku esh-ta Riviera.) In the Riviera you'll see a mall like building on the corner. Inside are some clothing shops, a book store you can make copies in, a little modern grocery store, a great cafe and restaurant and if you head up stairs and outside the building you'll find a great Internet cafe there as well. Just behind the Riviera are some local stores to buy fresh fruit and cheap drinks. To the west of the Riviera is the University of Vlore and to the North east is where you'll find some great eateries other stores around there. The Riviera is a springboard for the rest of the city.  Kuz' Baba: This is a restaurant/cafe that sits on top of a hill that overlooks the city. From the Flag Statue or Statuje Impart looking away from the statue, to your right will be the mosque and if you look high up and to the right you'll see a hill that towers over the city and on top you can see a restaurant or observatory point. Head in that direction or just head to where the buses going back to Tirana and Elbasan are located. When you get to the base of the hill you'll see a small collection of busses headed to whatever city and behind that you'll see stairs leading up towards the hill. Just follow them, up, up, up and you'll hit the top of the hill, where you are greeted with a spectacular view, a great cafe to get refreshments or a meal to rejuvenate you and you can take in Vlore in its entirety. It is highly recommended.  Hotel Konami: This is the only hotel I've stayed at in Vlore. Its accommodations are simple and basic. Rooms are nice enough, try to get a room with a view of the sea. Being a foreigner they usually give you what you want. This place is great for a few reasons: the view for one, sunsets are directly in front of you and eclipse right over the little island that sits just outside the bay. Their cafe is great at night and you'll find locals who like to come hang out there as well. Also they get huge groups that are what this hotel likes to bring in- group rates get the best deals. For a very good hotel the price is roughly from what I was told $20-25 a night. You can definitely get cheaper but every now and then it is good to spring for something.  Lastly, discos sit right underneath you and this is the sore spot of the location. The discos rage out till four in the morning and sound carries crystal clear up to the hotel, so sleep can become a bit of an issue- unless you are down there tearing it up with the locals. Albanians are not known for their dancing in discos, though the ladies like to get out there, but they are known for it in their weddings. Also all the cafes are packed on the strip just below the hotel. For a good time, walk down the long walk of stairs and make your way south or left and you'll pass by several cafes' a few discos and some great places to find some amount of trouble!

 

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