src="http://www.gadling.com/media/2006/04/More-Albania.jpg" width="200" align="right" vspace="4" border="1" />As
summer approaches and I start preparing for my possible trip to Albania, you can expect to see a few more posts about
this oddball country as I start the process of learning more about it myself.
Fortunately, with the addition of a direct British Airways flight from London to Tirana, the British press is
starting to cover Albania as a legitimate tourist destination. href="http://travel.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,27329-2133401,00.html">The most recent article, by Will Hide
(great name for a travel writer, by the way) reveals a country that has plenty to offer and few tourists to enjoy
it. Hide goes so far as to claim that the country actually rivals the newest hotspot in Europe, Croatia.
I’m a little surprised by this comparison but will reserve judgment until later.
Part of what contributes to Hide’s enthusiasm is an up-and-coming café scene located in the
Bllok—a section of Tirana once reserved solely for the communist elite but now a bustling area of restaurants,
bars, and cafes. Hide reports that the food found here is a mixture of “Italian meets Turkish,” which
sounds okay, I suppose.
Hide’s journey outside of Tirana revealed numerous ancient Roman ruins and a beautiful sea coast which is
unfortunately spoiled by polluted water and, apparently, some type of skin rash found on local swimmers.
Okay, I’m sold on Albania’s terra firma, but plan to stay well clear of the water.