Before we head on to Lake Ohrid, we stay in Albania for the night at a place called Tirana. Tirana really was just a stopover and not a place where we did a lot of sight seeing. We arrived late and then we were up early to travel on. We all went for a short self guided walking tour, and decided that Tirana really didn’t have a lot to offer tourists, apart from a place to lay our heads.
And then it was back on the bus and time to move on to Macedonia. We went through a tunnel that saved us 45 minutes of driving via Elbasan. Its infrastructure was constructed by Chinese.
We also stopped to look at some of the bunkers that had been built along the roadside. I can’t imagine how they would keep people safe and how long people were expected to stay in them?
During the nearly forty-year leadership of Communist ruler Enver Hoxha of the People’s Socialist Republic of Albania, over 700,000 bunkers were built in the country – one for every four inhabitants. The bunkers are still a ubiquitous sight in Albania, with an average of 24 bunkers for every square kilometre of the country.
Hoxha’s programme of “bunkerisation” resulted in the construction of bunkers in every corner of Albania, from mountain passes to city streets. They had little military value and were never used for their intended purpose during the years of Communist rule (1945–1990). The cost of constructing them was a drain on Albania’s resources, diverting them away from more pressing needs, such as dealing with the country’s housing shortage and poor roads.
The bunkers were abandoned following the collapse of communism in 1990. Most are now derelict, though some have been reused for a variety of purposes including residential accommodation, cafés, storehouses and shelters for animals or the homeless. A few briefly saw use in the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s.
Another ridiculous decision and a total waste of money!
Our nights stay was at Ohrid at one of our not so flash hotels, but it was still a very pleasant place to stay.
After a walking tour with a local guide, we found our own way back to the Hotel and it was a lovely walk along the lakeside. Unfortunately we didn’t take any photos of the lake??? I really don’t know how that happened. It was quite lovely! Oh… I found one! Don’t laugh!
And another three. I told you it was quite nice… and I remembered why we didn’t take too many photos as when we arrived it was raining!
That evening we had a special tea with drink provided to thank those people among our tour that have travelled with ‘Insight Vacations’ many times. It was a pleasant evening with lots of laughter and shared stories. We were starting to get to know each other much better and were getting more relaxed. It was nice 🙂