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Balkan the wrap up and a bit of Sarandë

Posted by | Evil Kristos | August 11, 2011 | Comments Off on Balkan the wrap up and a bit of Sarandë

Ok, this really did take a while. I have a good reason of course. Sarandë was my final stop in Albania and I didn’t fancy it. Not at all actually. I arrived reasonably early in the morning and decided to have a look around. I wasn’t impressed. The town is highly developed with loads of modern buildings along a not so impressive beach. One hotel after another.

I most definitely was the wrong place. I made a quick decision. Rather than looking for the local hostel – which I was told is quite alright – I would head straight down to Greece. A bus to Athens would not leave before 7PM but I didn’t care. I’d spend the day here and then the night on the bus. Could be worse.

I walked around quite but to no avail. My already poor impression of Sarandë got even worse during the course of the day. I started to seriously dislike the place. It is a beach resort, full of modern hotels, concrete and packed with people. And they still have a lot of construction going on. If this is the future of Albanian you better hurry up. New Albania sucks badly. I have nothing more to say about this Sarandë.

The wrap up then. How did I like the trip through the Balkan?

With the exception of Croatia I liked it a lot. It was chaotic, I got lost on so many occassions that I stopped counting. But that in a way was the best part. After all I did it on purpose. There is no better way experiencing a coutry. If you are lost you soon find out how people are treating you. In my opinion it tells you a more about a country than any guide book ever could. There are some minor drawbacks when you travel like a Muppet of course. It costs more and you need balls. Some people panic when they end up in a place with no directions, language skills or a place you actually want to go. I don’t. I do admit though that it is stupid and potentially dangerous. Don’t do this at home then kids. Always consult a professional idiot like me.

What’s the verdict then?

On my five finger voting scale I give 6 fingers to Albania (with the one exception Sarandë). Albania is simply astonishing. I am mildly upset I didn’t get to see the fighter plane cemetery but that is about it. I had a fantastic time, the people are extremely friendly and approachable, it is beautiful and dirt cheap. My favourite: Berat closely followed by Tirana.

Bosnia & Herzegovina comes in second with a rock solid five fingers on the Evil Kristos finger scale. Lovely country, beautiful, friendly and affordable. I like!

I didn’t see much of Montenegro so I don’t have much of an opinion. What I did get to see I liked a lot. 3 fingers. And if it wasn’t for that stupid cruise ship in Kotor probably four fingers.

Slovenia I loved. I did like when I went there a few years ago and it hasn’t changed since. For that fact alone I’d give four fingers. Ljubljana remains one of my all time favourites. Easy to eplore, good hostels, very friendly people and good value for money.

Croatia then: It is expensive, not as nice as I expected, one gets ripped off everwhere and in parts it is some sort of Disney World for Americans. I cannot think of a single reason why anyone would like to go there. The one exception I would make is Trogir. The hostel there made all the difference. The best I can give therefore is one finger and I let you dear reader pick the one I am giving.

What else? I have to admit that not bringing a guide book was tremendously stupid. And I wasn’t very lucky with the weather. A lot of rain for the month of June. That’s tough luck though; nothing I’d complain about.

Off to Greece then, the one country in Europe that is even more screwed than Ireland. Yamas!


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