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26 JUL

TIRANA

After a sweaty and feverish sleep I woke up late feeling very average. Chilled out until 9:30 in my room. Eventually went for brekky in the Hotel Iliria café. I journaled, caught up on phone calls and listened to music until Rohan finally came down.

After brekky we walked to the Big Park of Tirana. Locals were strolling around enjoying cooler lakeside air. The artificial lake was rough around the edges. We ventured into a dilapidated amphitheater. Then passed by statues commemorating the Frasheri brothers (SamiNaim and Abdyl) and their role in the Albanian National Awakening. We ended up resting by the lake to absorb the cool relaxed atmosphere.

After sometime we walked to The Block to have lunch in the rather funky little Nga Nena venue.

We passed by Enver Hoxha’s (ex) inner city private houseThen headed for Skenderbeg Rruga (Square) to catch the sights and buildings. The colors looked so lively in the daylight. We passed by the National Art Gallery and took a walk to its rear to find a bunch of statues all covered up for some reason?

We made it to the Enver Hoxha Museum (Pyramid of Tirana) and took many photos. An amazing futuristic buildingWe remained there for sometime, checked it out inside and out. We were approached by staff working on a up and coming exhibit – we took a note from Bashkim’s book and walked around like we owned the place, no-one stopped us.

Rohan went back to the hotel as he wasn’t feeling the greatest. I stuck around, met a young Architecture student named Mita who was drawing the Enver building. She’d asked me for my opinion about perspective lines. We chatted for a couple hours, eventually met her friend who came by after a while.

I then headed to the University of Tirana situated at a massive roundabout and took few shots of the graffiti before the Pope arrives (in a couple weeks) and its all painted over. I also passed by a bunker that was built to protect Albania from Soviet and NATO invasion. The Albania Architecture from the communist period is certainly amazing!

Finally caught a taxi home to shower and rest before heading out to dinner in The Block. We ate Spanish food – it was very average food!

We then headed for the Vogue Bar and the Nga Nena bar for a quick drink. Then we were knocked back at Peppercorn, so we checked out the Skybar, where a cute blond latched onto Rohan very quickly. She suggested we headed for the Lollipop club a mile or so out of town.

The Lollipop venue was massive. You could hear the bass thump a mile away. The club was set in a semi-industrial area with lots of vacant land around it. It looked like a palace complete with a large outdoor pool (party) area. Our Aussie’ness got us in without girlfriends on our arms – apparently you had to have a girl with you to get in. We hung out for a couple hours, drank and danced a little. The music was so loud that it really was unbearable and probably EPA illegal by Aussie standards.

There was a large VIP area that was littered with bombshell babes hovering around tables covered with what looked like expensive champagne and some kinda gangster looking dude at the center. It was an unusual site, opulence was obviously admired.

We left about 3am, on the way out we bumped into the blond girl (who was just arriving) from the Skybar. She started hugging Rohan like she was ready to put out right then and there.

We went home (alone) and packed our bags ready to leave the hotel the next morning.