Gjirokastra to Tirana – via North Korea

After our day playing at Gjirokastra Castle, it was time to drive back to Tirana. I was assigned to be in the shit car, but it didn’t bother me, as it was also the car you could smoke in. Definitely #winning.

Alas rather quickly into our drive it was deceived that the brakes were fucked and if I wanted to get back quickly I would have to take the bitch seat between two burly men, or I could take the slow drive, and the chance of death with the car with no brakes. But with work finished for the day.

It turned out that my buddy had the same idea, and as we set off (slowly) to Tirana we had a crack team of 4, one American, one British and two Albanians. Our mission was to ideally fix the car, and if not arrive to Tirana alive.

We started to drive, slowly, very slowly, and saw a river in the distance. What do you do when you see a river? You obviously decide that it is the perfect moment to swim.

We decided that pre-swim we would actually try to get the car fixed at Spiro’s car fixer place. Spiro was not there, so someone went to wake him up, at 4 pm on a Friday, like for real.

We thus had time to kill, and saw next door the one bar in the one horse town. We went into the said bar, and apparently despite the bar being about 70 years old, and the owners about the same age we were the first foreigners they’d ever had in there. This was truly off the beaten track Albanian countryside!

The owners ended up being really friendly, and we had a few raki’s (a whole blog to itself), and did a few selfies. I’ll namedrop their bar, and as I’m sure no one else has blogged about it! Café-Bar Gazimi! If you end up here, the raki and the service are great, you heard it here first kids.

So why there’s via North Korea part of the title? The buildings here, all built during the Soviet era of Albania were extremely similar to those we have seen in North Korea. In many respects, they could even double up as a set if one were so inclined!

And then the whole reason for going we drove to the rover got down to our underpants and got in the freezing cold water with a dangerous current. Not my worst day at the office.

And then two hours back to Tirana, via one more raki stop, of course.

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