October 21, 2022 Durres ALB

The night before we had gotten a thorough briefing on the town from Matt and Mugi the owners of the camp site on how to use the transit system and what to see in Durres. Scott and Ashley from Massachusetts volunteered a good restaurant for lunch. This place has a nice feel as all of the campers have abandoned their RV’s and instead cluster around a group of tables under an awning with Matt and Mugi presiding over the place and Mugi feeding everyone tea and snacks. Because of that everyone chats and has fun together, and we have had more interaction with our fellow campers here than at any other place we have stayed in Europe.

Sunset from our campsite Scoturk Camping.

Durres has been a port city since before the Greeks so it has a long history. At various times it has been Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman and Venetian. The ride to town was easy, when we tried to hand the driver our 80 Leak he just waved us on the bus. It turns out Albanian busses still have conductors who manually collect the fares, something we have not seen anywhere else in over 20 years.

There were a group of mostly older gentlemen holding an impromptu chess tournament in one of the parks downtown.

The downtown was bustling with people. The shops were mostly local businesses. There is very little left of the older buildings as they were mostly torn down during the communist era. There are a couple of Roman era ruins in the town. The biggest one is a 2nd century amphitheater that was uncovered in the last 60 years. It includes a church that was added when the city was converted to Christianity. There were some interesting mosaics in the church.

Byzantine era mosaics in the church at the amphitheater in Durres.

The main mosques in town are also new as the older Ottoman era mosques were torn down under the communists. While a few of the women wore head coverings the majority of the women were stylishly dressed in copies of the latest Italian fashions. The town had a very secular feel to it.

This building and pier were left over communist era buildings probably built as tourist attractions then, and definitely tourist attractions now. They bore a close resemblance to the buildings we saw in Bari.

The waterfront promenade was very nice but quiet in the shoulder season. We had lunch in an upscale restaurant where we were the only customers and after a little more walking headed back to the campground. When we arrived at the campground Matt, Mugi, Paul and Ashley were sitting around so everyone brought interesting alcohol we had all gathered on our travels and we all sat and talked until after sunset. It was a great end to a good day.

War memorial from WWII.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *