This morning the sun was shining so we started our day with breakfast at Troy. Today we are just staying around Durrës, Albania as we have a few errands such as replacing the rear tyre and getting a new cord for the laptop so we are not travelling too far away. After breakfast we rode in to the centre of Durrës, Albania and found a park near the beach.
Bronze statues of Mick Jagger, Tina Turner, Bob Dylan and John Lennon surround a small square lined with cafe’s. Around the city centre area a few buildings reflect Durrës Albania’s boom years of the twenties when it was the capital. These days it’s almost a satellite city of nearby Tirana and during the summer its beaches are filled with Italian tourists soaking up the sun. Around the city are the remains of the old city walls which reflect the Venetian architecture.
We walked around Durrës in search of the Roman Amphitheatre but missed it on a our first pass. After consulting google maps we retraced our steps and soon found it. The Durrës Albania amphitheater is surrounded by buildings so it is a little hidden. It was built in the second century AD during Emperor Tragans rule and was only used until the earthquake around 346 AD. After that it was abandoned and a Christian chapel was built on the site in the fourth century and another in the thirteenth. During occupation by the Ottomans, the amphitheatre was robbed of some of its stone to repair the city wall and the site was covered over.
The area also had a street that had a beautiful selection of street art.
We took a walk along the beach front Shëtitorja Park towards Pista e Re, a modern domed styled wharf complex with cafe’s, restaurants and shops. A western style “Yee Haa” bar caught our eye. It was decorated like a Wild West saloon with bat wing doors, booths set up like the old covered wagons, and lots of Wild West paraphernalia. As we haven’t had nachos for so long we just had to have some and surprisingly it wasn’t too bad.
After lunch we headed back to Troy Bar, where we caught up with Klodi who told us that the tyre had arrived. Leaving Michele drinking coffee in the sun I followed him to a bike mechanic in the back streets. Unlike England where the bike is put up on a jack, it was a bit like Morocco with the wheel being removed in front of the shop.
Whilst I was waiting for the tyre, I got chatting to a few young blokes at the shop. It was interesting hearing about their lives and their plans. I was impressed how thorough the mechanic was. After replacing the rear brake pads, and rear tyre, he checked the front tyre pressure before checking all the fluids. He also pointed out that I needed a little more oil, which I topped up later on. If we were staying in Durrës longer I would’ve organised him to do a service because he seemed really thorough and judging by a few of the bikes at his shop knew his way around bike engines.
Riding back through the backstreets towards Troy Bar it was interesting seeing the different grades of housing. Close to the beachfront taller multi storey apartment blocks but the further away from the beach more bungalows with vege gardens.
When I arrived back we headed to the beach which was straight across the road from the bar. It seems in all the bigger places in Albania that the locals love to get out and walk. Many of the towns and city’s have walking paths especially built for it, but in Durrës the beach is the place where everyone goes. They don’t all just sloth around in track dacks either. Promenading is also high fashion, whether that be in a designer track suit or in your best dress, it’s all about the look. We just had to find a cafe to watch the parade.
Later during the night there was news about the laptop. The power pack had arrived but after Klodi went out in the rain to a local computer place to fetch it, unfortunately it was the wrong one. Taking our laptop and power pack he headed back to the computer shop so hopefully they’ll be able to sort it out.
Meanwhile we enjoyed a lovely night out at Troy Bar (once again) and I was able to get stuck into a steak.
Tomorrow after the computer powerpack arrives we’re heading for Berat to couchsurf. We’ve been assured it will arrive before 1pm so hopefully it won’t be delayed.