Monday, April 16, 2012

New edition of the Bradt Guide to Albania

Bradt Guides have published the 4th edition of their guide to Albania. Written by Gillian Gloyer (who was also the author of the previous editions), the guidebook has expanded to 272 pages.

Some of the changes compared to the previous edition reflect the rapid changes in Albania's road network. In particular the new highway to Kukës has opened up access to northeast Albania, and the chapter dealing with that part of the country has been reorganised and expanded. The author also mentions the addition of information aimed at the increasing number of visitors who arrive in their own cars or mobile homes. Another new feature is a selection of suggested itineraries for visits to Albania ranging from a few days to a month.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Albania's Lake Koman ferry

Articles about Albania in the travel pages of mainstream newspapers are rare, and articles about the country's remote northern mountains even rarer. So it's good to see a piece in today's Observer about a journey to the Valbona Valley in the Albanian Alps.

The article focuses on the scenic two-hour ferry journey on Lake Koman: "Just as you conclude you're heading straight into the side of a mountain, the water opens up again and you turn into a narrow passageway between two vertical walls of rock". The account of the practicalities of Albania travel are likely to strike a chord with many visitors to the country. Although finding solid information about the ferry trip initially proved difficult, "... eventually a taxi driver with a few words of English called a friend and arranged for us to be picked up early the next morning. This was typical of our experience. Ask someone on the street and, even if they can't help, they'll find someone whose second cousin definitely can".

At the end of the piece the Observer bravely commits itself to an actual timetable and departure point for the connecting buses that link the city of Shkodër to the ferry.