Zürich Gumbies in Albania

During September 2016 I had once again the opportunity to visit Albania on motorcycle with a group of friends. And once again I experienced this country as one of the most underestimated travel destinations. Many regions are completely wild, in the best case with some gravel roads. But it can happen at any time that these roads become tracks and in the worst case just disappear due to flash floods. Most of the countless rivers are still flowing in their natural riverbeds.

The scenery in these backcountry regions is simply mind-blowing. And so are the residents. Living in small villages in the middle of nowhere they are very open minded toward visitors and offered us help whenever we needed some. This was crucial for us especially when one of our bikes broke down during that trip. With the help of the people in a small village called Lozhan we managed to find someone with a pick-up that brought our broken bike to Tirana, the capital of Albania.

And Tirana turned out to be a surprise as well. Sometimes I had the feeling to be somewhere in Paris, walking through nice boulevards with trees and old villas. The people here do have a very metropolitan look, as you would find it in any other capital in Europe. Also the nightlife can hold up to western standards. We spent one night in the Tirana Hemingway Bar which is a “must visit”. Prices are very moderate, around 2.50€ for one Mojito (with Havana Club!), headache included 😉

But even more astounding are the little acts of friendship that can happen at any moment. When drinking a coffee in a little bar an old women who was harvesting walnuts in her garden nearby offered us a bag full of these nuts. As well educated Europeans we offered some pay for the tasty nuts which she denied resolutely.

These are just two examples of the Albanian hospitality and we experienced this every day. We will definitely come back!


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