Bright, beachy Sarandë; an odd paradox of a place. Unexpectedly developed and modern, yet unexpectedly empty. While drinking wine on the balcony one night, we thought, if it does take off in several years and become a mainstream destination, how strange and wonderful it will be knowing that we were here alone just before it really came to be.
From my notes:
The drive to coastal Sarandë from mountainous Gjirokastër, like all driving segments of this trip, was beautiful. We arrived in the early afternoon and immediately went to our Airbnb to get our lives together, running and napping. Eventually, we set out to find food – but everything was empty. It was like a ghost town, but instead of abandoned buildings, full of modern buildings that had never been filled. So much was brand new, well designed, and … just empty. No staff, no furniture, etc. My understanding is that this was because we were here in late May, and in Albania, where tourism is still a developing industry, the off-season IS off. We finally did find a cute place with little huts on the water to have some drinks, and then a small restaurant on the main street that we had passed earlier in the day, which ended up being excellent. The owner was Macedonian, and we had everything he recommended – house white wine, local fish, and Macedonian casserole, served with sauces, veggies, and bread. And *finally,* we tried some dessert. After that, it was back home to sit on our balcony with some local wine and enjoy the sunset, followed by the slow lighting up of the island of Corfu, just visible across the Adriatic Sea. Even at our “resort” hotel, we were the only guests; a quick glance across the building revealed closed-down pools and only boarded and locked windows, ours the only one with curtains blowing in the wind. We have the entire place to ourselves.
Posts from this trip: