Balkans 2016 – Day 36 : Tirana, Albania

Today will be another non cycling day. Had a nice breakfast with Adrian and Cristen in their apartment before leaving to check into a hostel. Adrian and Cristen is not able to host me as they will leave for Berat for some meetings.

I checked into a backpacker hostel called Zig Zag for 7 Euros per night with breakfast. When I arrived I saw another touring bike parked in the garden. Turns out it belong to a tourer from Korea who have been on the road from London.

I checked in, left my stuff and went out for city tour. I was intrigued by the attraction called Bunkart. It was a former ‘nuke proof’ bunker complex built by the dictator Hoxha during his time. It’s now a museum. So I asked the hostel host how to get there by bus. It was a complicated process as she doesn’t speak English at all. So finally after getting gist of how to catch the bus, I went on my way on foot. It’s a 2km walk to the bus stop but I managed to see some sights along the way and also enjoyed people watching.

When I arrived I asked a bus ticket kiosk which bus to take and how much. So happens there is one there and then and it costed 40 Leks for a single ticket. The bunker is around 6KM from the city.   It took awhile to get to the point where I need to get off the bus to go on foot to the museum. It’s around 1 Km walk uphill. When I arrived I found that it was closed today! What an anti climax. Anyway I walk back down and caught the next bus back to town. Oh well the bus ride was a great experience in itself.

I decided to then check out the National Musuem. It was moderately interesting for me so I did not spend too much time there and so I decided to return back to the hostel to relax.

When I reached back at the hostel, I met the cyclist from Korea and another guest called Richard from Holland. We sat together with the host for a light meal and chatted for awhile.  Richard works in the Army in Holland and is on a driving holiday in the Balkans. Incredibly he arrived in Tirana with just 2 days of driving from Amsterdam.

Anyway as we sat and talk another cycle tourist checked in. He identified himself as Fumi from Japan. He looked really beaten up and tired and we wondered why. So we went to check out his bike and then we knew. We were so shocked to see the bike condition and the set up. Single speed and rusted with a customer made back rack. Later he told us he bought this bike from Singapore for 10 Singapore Dollars ! He told us he is on the road with this bike for more than a year and has ridden over 14,000 KM on it. We asked how he manage the hill climbs with the bike and he answered ” with a lot of pushing “.

So Fumi is proof that you can tour without an expensive bike and equipment. But definitely not a comfortable way to do it.

After awhile we all went separate ways for dinner, Fumi went out to buy rice to cook dinner, the Korean cyclist needed to do some planning for his journey and Richard and me went out for a quick dinner.

We had a few rounds of beer before turning in for the night. Tomorrow I will try to go to Bunkart again before heading out to Shkoder. It will be a challenging day tomorrow as I will have a late ride start because of the visit to the museum. Shkoder is around 93KM away.

Lions Project : Same as Day 35

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Good Morning Tirana

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Touring Bike of Korean cyclist Rico

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Zig Zag Hostel garden

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Yummy pastery all over town.

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Tirana bus still have conductors selling tickets

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Only 40Leks

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That’s all I can see of the bunker today.

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The beautify mosaic of the National Musuem.

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For the first time I was allow to photograph inside the Orthodox Church.
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You don’t need an expensive bike to tour. This costed 10 SGD and travelled already 14,000KM.

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The custom rack.

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Respect.

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Fumi the Japanese hardcore tourer.

Author: krankster

I am an avid cyclist that loves mountain biking, bike commuting and most of all bicycle touring. I am a freelance leadership coach and hope to inspire others through my cycling adventures.

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