I am going to fill you in on some things you should know before traveling to Albania soon enough, but first I wanted to share with you the main reason why I decided to go when I did. A reason that turned out to be more than just a “good idea”, it turned out to be a once in a lifetime travel experience.
Before I even left the station in Macedonia for Albania, I knew that I was in for something special given the amount of energy permeating from the Albanians on the bus. And permeating for good reason – it was November 28th after all, Albanian Independence Day.
Driving into Tirana, I could see why my Albanian friend was adamant that visit during this time. The place was absolutely out of control and it should have been since the country was not only celebrating Independence Day, but its 100th Independence Day. The one hundred years as a nation that Albanians everywhere were commemorating for the entirety of 2012 had FINALLY arrived. And so had I.
November 28th, 2012 turned out to be a day that I will never forget. Massive festivities ended up taking place all around the country with the biggest parties of all happening in Vlorë, where Albania’s declaration of independence happened 100 years ago, and of course Tirana, the capital. It was pure madness from the moment I stepped off the bus until I finally reached my friend’s apartment where even Google was celebrating.
As tired as I was, I knew I had to get down to Skanderberg Square to see all the action that was being broadcast on her TV with my own eyes. Luckily we were right in the center so within three minutes of walking out of her building we were already involved in one of the biggest celebrations to hit Tirana within the last century.
Words can’t describe the sentiment on the streets so I’m hoping that at least these photos and videos will give you an idea. Albanians are extremely proud and patriotic people so it’s not surprising that this Independence Day turned out to be one for the record books. Talk about checking Albania off of My European To Do List in style…
This is a pretty cool video clip if you enjoy zealous political speeches and are interested in hearing about Albania and Kosovo’s plan to join the European Union in the near future.
For once in my travels I actually put myself in the right place at the right time and couldn’t have been more stoked with how it turned out. I may not have seen as much of the rest of Albania as I would have liked on my first visit, but hanging in Tirana for such an important holiday and the days that followed turned out to be pretty damn cool on its own. A travel experience that for sure can’t be duplicated…at least not for another 100 years.
ShaunFebruary 18, 2013 at 5:57 pm
What an experience! Being in another country while the whole place is celebrating. Always wondered what this would be like in another place. The only other place I’ve been is in the US for the 4th of July, but that’s it.
Albania is not on many peoples map. How much time did you get to spend there?
LarissaFebruary 18, 2013 at 7:41 pm
I was there for about a week. It was pretty interesting and I will be posting more on it soon. I haven’t celebrated 4th of July in America for years but it would be something along those lines. If you were in a super patriotic part of the country (Texas??) and it was July 4, 2076 perhaps.
CherylFebruary 18, 2013 at 10:54 pm
Your photos are fantastic and so cool that you got to have this experience! I want to go there someday too. :)
LarissaFebruary 19, 2013 at 12:54 am
Thanks, Cheryl! It was a very cool experience and can’t wait to go back. You should definitely plan a trip to Tirana one of these days – pretty cool city!
TurnerFebruary 19, 2013 at 11:51 am
Yeah. I super dig Tirana. Creeped out with G. Bush boulevard, but whateves. Anyway, I couldnt get enough of those like meat sticks served with onions and beer there. I ate it for a week straight. Smelt like a bus driver, but it was well worth it.
Also, of note. Your photos are great. I plan on stealing them and using them so people might actually like me.
Keep these Albania posts coming.
LarissaFebruary 19, 2013 at 7:19 pm
More creeped out than Bill C in Pristina? I can’t believe you were in Tirana for a week and I didn’t know this. And Pristina. And the Balkans in general. I thought you were a Greek Islands kinda pervert turned Bangkok ladyboy lover…
I got some more Albania posts coming your way but no stealing photos. Stick to stealing hearts and jobs as you are fantastic at doing both.
ScarlettFebruary 25, 2013 at 11:19 pm
Amazing photos!! xx
LarissaFebruary 26, 2013 at 9:58 am
Thank you :)
ElenaApril 17, 2013 at 10:58 am
LarissaApril 20, 2013 at 9:43 pm
CaydaSeptember 14, 2013 at 11:05 pm
Rita Ora performed that night. Did you get to see her?
LarissaSeptember 16, 2013 at 1:56 pm
Just on tv :)
KariJune 4, 2014 at 3:46 pm
These pictures are fantastic! I was wondering if you got to visit any of the beaches in Tirana or Albania in general.. My boyfriend was born in Albania and as a house warming gift I wanted to get him a picture of the pine trees standing on the beaches that he misses so much. Google isn’t doing much help with research or photos so if you have any knowledge of what these trees are called or have any photos you are willing to share, I would greatly appreciate it! Thanks so much!
LarissaJune 12, 2014 at 1:51 am
Hi Kari! Unfortunately I haven’t been to the beaches yet but we are organizing a trip there as well as to Macedonia in September. I can try to find out then but not sure if it will be too late. You might want to check out my friend Nate’s blog, he’s written a couple of really good posts about his time there – http://www.yomadic.com