I lekk it here

Tirana - 26/08/2010

We wended, we wove, we did not wake. That is because we did not sleep. My informative partner gave up his seat for a man whose hand had been mangled in an industrial accident, possibly with a lathe (this is all conjecture on my part). We eventually reached the end of the line and the end of our plan at 6AM in downtown Tirana. Freddy took us in but the room would not be ready for a few hours thus the city's delights were ours for the observing. We found Skanderbeg atop his horse in the centre of what disappointingly is no longer the most chaotic roundabout in the world. Multitudinous Mercedes still hared around it but it no longer has the life threatening qualities that so recommended its witnessing. No-one could in conscience call Tirana a beautiful city (though its female populace is of the highest quality) but it has a certain earthy charm. The traffic of its river is chiefly comprised of the detritus of human living but it has a most aesthetic (if unused) lake. The mosque and clock tower also please the eye with attractively secular wallpaper (n.b. prob not wallpaper). The people, though visibly surprised at the presence of tourists, were found to be a most friendly and helpful bunch. The place is also astoundingly cheap, a beer is often less than a pound in many bars. The first evening redefined parsimony however. Happening upon a lively venue the waiter struggled to get us to understand that all drinks were free owing to the occasion of the bar's opening. Cautiously we ordered two beers. What arrived were two beers, a platter of meats and cheeses and...no bill. Some more beers and then we tried our luck with a bottle of wine, success. When two whiskeys did not arrive we decided that we'd taken full advantage and went on our way, a recommended venue if you are ever in Tirana. Buoyed by our chance discovery (and a not insignificant quantity of free booze) we celebrated by attempting an ascent of the city's pyramid (sorry Mum). In reality (and next day's reflection) we didn't get that high but felt mightily brave anyway. We secured an Albanian flag that was handily suspended from a lamppost and trotted home to Freddy.

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