Monday, April 27, 2009

The Secret Is Out

As we creep closer to summer, I get the sense that things are changing here. I hear more non-Albanian voices everywhere. In the restaurants, at the beach, sitting at the "Balcony of Dajti" watching the endless parade of ski-lift gondolas shuttle up from Tirana and back down again I hear German, French, ... and English. Lots of English. More people are getting clued in to the hidden tourist potential of the country and I'm glad to see it.

To confirm my impressions, The Guardian newspaper has published its #1 backpacker destination for 2009 and the winner is ... (may I have the envelope, please?) ... Albania! The article is well written and gives some hint of the increased level of interest in holidays here due to the combination of daily flights from London and the financial crisis making travellers look closer to home for exotic holiday destinations. I only have a few quibbles with the author.

First, he refers to the beach at Dhermi as "Drymades" which is the Greek name for the village. This could make it tough for a traveller to find the place as all the maps and road signs list it by the Albanian name, naturally. Second, he raves about buying a mojito for "only" 3 pounds Sterling. For that you could get 2 liters of fantastic red wine or more raki than you can possibly drink. You want cheap mojitos? Go to Cuba.

Now that the secret is out, I expect it will be harder to find a deserted stretch of beach this year. Oh well, I'll just have to look a little harder. I can hardly wait!


MS said...

Well written posts throughout. Quoting Ted Geisel is always good form.

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