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Berat


Posted by | Evil Kristos | June 19, 2011 | No Comments

The way from Tirana is not particularly long but it takes time. The roads for most of the time were a disgrace. At least I was sitting reasonably comfortable for a change. I took the proper bus rather than a van. Again it struck me, how different the landscape is from what I expected. Most of the time we drove through a large plain. And even the hilly parts were not much more than that: hills; green and mellow. What happened to the impenetrable Balkan, the harsh mountains, the black and hostile rocks?

The closer we got to Berat the more hills dominated the landscape. In the distance I saw a mighty mountain. The settings was something else. And Berat itself turned out to be quite a beauty.

It is divided into three quarters; well at least the part you’d care about. Each individual one was beautiful but nothing could beat the Ottoman quarter nestled on to the hill side with the castle siting on top of it. What a looker!

Across a footbridge is the other stunning part of Berat. Narrow cobblestone roads lead up the hill, among the beautiful houses is the local hostel. Backpackers or Hotel Scotti how the locals call it. It certainly is one of the better hostels. They even managed to convince me to take part in a tour. That’s saying something.

What is there to say about Berat? The location is certainly stunning. The old town is built between two steep hills, the valley is divided by a river. It may well be one of the major tourist destination in Albania but honestly, you couldn’t tell. I hardly met any foreigners except for the hostel and when they charge you 100 Lek (around 60 cent) for a beer in a cafe bar you really can’t argue.

The big thing in Berat is the evening walk in town. from the pedestrian bridge to the town center is a small promenade. In the evening everyone starts walking up ad down this little boulevard. It’s quite a sight. Most of the times you would only see the men hanging around, on this occasion the whole town seems to be out.

From what I can tell there is little else to do in town. It shuts down early anyways. After ten the lights go out in most places. The hostel is a good alternative for hanging out though. They even do a decent dinner there. On my last two attempts the local cuisine didn’t agree with me at all so I was quite happy to get something else for a change. I even managed to warm up to vegetarian chilly. Not my first choice normally but it was quite nice.

Getting ready for the tour then.

Berat - Ottoman quarter

Berat - view from the castle

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