Welcome to Durres, Albania

Too often travel, instead of broadening the mind, merely lengthens the conversation.” – Elizabeth Drew (Courtesy HAL “Pillow Gifts”)

“Durres is the second largest city of Albania and is located on the central Albanian coast, about 25 miles west of the capital Tirana. It is one of the most ancient and economically important cities of Albania.  Founded in the 7th century BC by Greek colonists under the name Epidamnos, it has been continuously inhabited for 27 centuries.

It has a population of about 270,000. Durres is in important link to Western Europe due to its port and proximity to the Italian port cities, notably Bari, to which daily ferries run.  As well as the dockyard, it also possesses am important shipyard and manufacturing industries, notably producing leather, plastic and tobacco products.  The port has experienced mayor upgrades in recent years.  In 2012, The Globe And Mail ranked Durres at Number 1 among 8 exciting new cruise ports to explore.” Courtesy HAL)

The same weather front that drenched Argostoli yesterday is still hanging around as the skies when we docked around 8 AM were not very promising. We had not booked any tours for this “new-to-us” city as we just wanted to stroll the streets and look around. The weather forecast for this Sunday indicated a chance of rain and 63 degrees.    Well, we did have an umbrella, so as we exited the port security gate, we pulled our jackets up and headed out.

Directly across the street was an beautifully ornate Orthodox church. Passing by two homeless men lying on the cement just inside the gate, we quietly entered the Chapel.  As we stood  quietly we observed worshipers entering , crossing themselves and, touching and kissing an icon that was fixed to a mini-podium near the entrance. A chanting service was being conducted at the alter.  IT was a very moving moment for both of us.

Leaving the courtyard, we ambled toward the heart of the city and the old walled section.  As we sat near an opening to the old wall, chewing on some local flat bread Barbara had purchased at a local market, we were taken back by this beautiful Albanian bride and groom passing by.  We were in the midst of their photo session! We tried to discreetly snap a few photos, but soon a  number of our shipmates crowded in to get their candid shots – sort of ruined the moment.

As the morning progressed, brilliant sunshine dressed the main thoroughfare, though a cold wind continued.  IT was apparent that this street had received a major upgrade and was an obvious source of pride for the local population, especially the shopkeepers.  Barbara struck gold here….

My stomach soon started complaining, so we decided to find a place for a snack and a drink, however, every place that looked promising evidently was for “smoking men” only.  Wow,  an hour spent in one of those establishments would set your lungs on fire, so we decided to head on back to the loveliest lady in port and catch some lunch in the main dining room.

I’ll let the attached pictures tell the rest of the story, enjoy…

Next: Another drenching in Korcula, Croatia

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One thought on “Welcome to Durres, Albania

  1. What an interesting port—loved the old city walls/amphitheatre. So much history in the ports you’ve visited. The phone wiring was funny as it made me think that’s what it looks like in India where my “computer help” calls always go!!! Looking forward to the next segment!!! Connie

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