May 17, 2015

Tirana, Albania

Two miniature bottles of Albanian wine (Chardonnay and Riesling).
Two miniature bottles of Albanian wine (Chardonnay and Riesling).

Sigh. I was tired after last night’s long night. I woke up at 11:00, but did not stir from bed for about another two hours. I finally got up, had a shower, dressed, and then proceeded to relax some more. Originally my plan was to visit one or two castles today (Petrelë Castle and/or Krujë Castle), but I had woken up too late and was too exhausted to make any sort of effort after noon. So, I made today a very lazy day. I stayed at the hostel, drinking juice, and eating terrible Greek pistachios (the worst I ever had; isn’t Greece known for pistachios? WTF?), much better dark chocolate, and a bag of bruschetta pieces. I then finally decided to drink the two small bottles of Albanian wine I had bought three days ago in Berat. The first wine I had was a Chardonnay and it was quite pleasant, tasting of lemon, vanilla, pineapple, and tropical fruits. Next, I had the small bottle of Riesling, which tasted of apricots, honey, raisins, figs, leather, musk, and a lot of not very good (perhaps Albania does not present the best climate for growing Riesling? or maybe I just bought a lemon). After finishing the wine, I decided to be more sociable and thus joined the other guests in the garden (the hostel now had three “Chinese” women: one from Beijing, one from Hong Kong, and the one from Taiwan). Eventually, it came time to eat dinner (after 20:00), so I joined the Spanish man from the dorm room, the long-haired Frenchman (from the mountain trek), the Dutch man from the dorm room, the Taiwanese woman, and the Hong Kong woman. Unfortunately, they were going to the sausage restaurant I had eaten dinner at for the past two nights, but I decided I would rather have good company rather than different food. This time, I had four “meatballs” (ground beef rolled less like a ball and more like a sausage), some French fries, bread with sour cream sauce to spread on it, pickled vegetables, eine Wurst, und Bier (I’m preparing myself for Oktoberfest). After dinner, I then sought out an ATM for cash to pay the hostel with – this took a very, ridiculously long time; I walked everywhere, tried several ATMs, was denied many times, until I finally found the right one (an Austrian one). I then returned to the hostel, drank some more beer, chatted with guests, had a free (on the house) shot of homemade rakia, and paid for my stay (as well as all the beer I drank). Then, near 01:00, I went to bed and soon fell asleep with the plan being to wake up tomorrow at 07:30 to walk to the bus stop with the Spanish man and take the bus to Macedonia.

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An open journal or an exercise in narcissism.