Two days it not enough to learn everything about a country. We were in the capital city, called Tirana, so my impressions might not be correct for the whole country. We did take a bus to get there and to the next destination so we saw at least a little of the countryside. Albania looks like it is quite run down. There are lots of buildings that are abandoned but it looks like they’re starting to do major repairs.
When we talked to people about how they like Albania, two of them said they wanted to move to Canada and the U.S. because they want a better life. I don’t think that’s very grateful, a few years ago they were the poorest country in Europe. To help them out of their financial hole, the EU gave them a grant – which they’ve been giving to a lot of poor countries right now. It was all thrust upon them so fast, they aren’t appreciating it and want more.
Albania is not part of the EU but it is in NATO. The 10th anniversary celebration happened when we were there. There was a ceremony in Mother Teresa’s Square, with helicopters, a whole military display, and state representatives. When we were on the bus to go to Kotor we saw an official police precession for the president of Albania.
At some major intersections when it was a red light, people went around cleaning windshields for money. I saw it a couple times and was amazed at how fast they did it.
The scaffolding in Albania is definitely the best looking I’ve ever seen. The walkways were made out of metal instead of wood, and over that there was a covering. On one of the buildings, the covering matched the building behind it, when it was night the real windows lit up and perfectly matched the covering.
From the bus we saw many gas stations. They were quite frequent, even if it was in the middle of nowhere.
Right now, Albania is cheap so the Croatians and Macedonians go there for holidays. Now the government will want to build more to accommodate the tourism. Right now Albania is not so built up, but in the future I think it will drastically change.