Psst. Albania?



I want to tell you about our plan for a great vacation. It might be interesting to tell it in advance and then talk again, after the fact, to see how it really goes. Also, I might fall win love with Albania and never return to Rockledge, Florida to tell the story. LOL. So I’ll tell you now.

Our 40th wedding anniversary is almost upon us and we are giving each other the gift of a vacation to Europe. We are booked for the Royal Caribbean Company’s ship Oasis of the Seas. Twelve nights to Barcelona with a stop in Malaga, Spain. This will be our 8th transatlantic crossing by ship since we retired. On our last adventure we spent a week in Malaga and liked it very much.

Barcelona is another story. We have been there many times since 1992. In ’92 we were there for a week in the spring, just before the summer Olympic games. We were taught to love the city by a dear Catalan/American friend who happened to be there with her family at the same time. We’ll arrive in Barcelona on the 12th of September to spend 4 nights at the Hotel Auto Hogar. Then we’ll take a 158 Euro flight to the lovely island of Corfu, Greece. Hotel Ariti on the shores of the Ionian Sea. We’ll leave our cruise suitcase at the Barcelona hotel for storage and carry only two backpacks. (Thank goodness for digital books.) Ah. Beautiful islands. Warm water. No pesky summer vacationers. Old ruins and sights to see. And that’s it… Oh wait a minute there!

I forgot about Albania.

While I was studying the map of Corfu in our Lonely Planet guide I noticed that The Island was closer to Albania than Greece. I learned that one can get to Sarandë, Albania by ferry for less than 20 Euros. It is just a few miles away. Many vacationers go there for a day trip to see the sights and get their passports stamped.

Albania is relatively inexpensive and Daisy and I have time to tarry. So we will sojourn for 3 nights there and return to Corfu for a couple of nights before returning to our luggage at our Barcelona jump-off point.

The plans become a little uncertain at this point because we haven’t set it in concrete by making return reservations and such. We might love Albania and just hang out there for a while. The main reservations not yet made are for return to the U.S. If we hang out until the 15th of October, an unlikely event, we can return on the same ship from South Hampton, England.

Or maybe we can get a space-available flight with the USAF Air Mobility Command from Rota, Spain. I’m still researching that. Most likely we will fly commercially from Barcelona.

Albania, you might say -Bill. Who in heck goes to Albania for a vacation and, by the way, where the heck is this Albania place anyway?

Saranda or Sarandë is one of the most important tourist attractions of the Albanian Riviera. A honeymoon destination. It has a population of about 30,000. Near Sarandë are the remains of the ancient city of Butrint, a UNESCO World Heritage site with ancient Greek and Roman ruins. Old castles. There are numerous and inexpensive places to eat lovely seafood, souvlakis and crepes. We might even go to the Blue Eye which is a clear deep spring from which the River Bistrice emanates. We’ll find sculpture, churches, old neighborhoods and maybe learn a few words of Albanian or Greek.


Hello = C’kemi [tskemi] Goodbye = Pacim [patsim] / Mirupafshim Bathroom = Banje Taxi = taksi


Geia sou is hello, geia sas is plural (YA soo, and YA sahs) Goodbye = yassas or antio sas or maybe ya, antio means’ “See you later.”

If you are friendly a kiss on each cheek may be in order.

Ya, antio – kiss kiss.s


Click here if you want to find out what REALLY happened.

Click here if you want to read about another plan that led us from rural Spain to Tangiers in Morocco.

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