Albania … hiking above Tirana on Mal Dajti

To the cable car, built by the Austrians, ten years ago

Doppelmayr from Austria has built the Dajti Express ten years ago.

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The cabins are very modern and comfy for six to eight people. I just wonder, why they need boxes for snow boards and skis… perhaps this was just the standard model?P1080754

We enter the cabin and we have a view of Tirana with more than one million inhabitants.

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Walking to the top of Dajti… romantic forest, then gorgeous view

From the top station we head to the peak of Dajti. We first come across the former hotel for super achieving workers that had deserved a rest during communist times. The house is now decaying, joining the community of skeleton houses that always seem to me to be crying. One  window without glass has curtains, in another window there is laundry drying,  a dog is barking and a sign says “private”. Someone has decided to live here.

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We walk through the forest, steeply uphill, for about half an hour, until we reach this sign.

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After another good half hour we reach the top of Dajti. We share an apple and enjoy the view of Tirana slowly being wrapped up in haze.

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The area on top has been reserved to the military… and to pine trees fighting to survive.

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Coming back down and heading for lunch

Coming back down, the bunkers catch my attention. Like mushrooms they are spotted all over in the forest. Hoxha has built 750’000 such bunkers, eager to protect Albania from invaders. Some bunkers are connected by tunnels.

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Two soldats guarding the area tell us that it is forbidden to walk here. And after a few friendly words they say good-bye to us. We continue and reach the restaurant Gurra e Perrise, a very romantic restaurant with huge fish ponds and the tables scattered around them.

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I have ordered a trout in salvia. My poor trout is being caught from the pond here…

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… and then served to me with a local red wine.

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Ben has the menu, lamb with potatoes.

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We take drinking water from the gurra, the well above the fish ponds.

On the way back, we stop in the Hotel Panorama with a wonderful panoramic view and with great hospitality. While I “powder my nose”, Ben talks with another guide helping out here today… they exchange business cards and discuss the fotos of all the political leaders that had come up here.

We ride back down to Tirana and have a rest from our walk. Later we will head for the National Museum; it is Tuesday today and the museum is scheduled to be open.

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