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Albania and its indestructible bunkers

One of the first topics we will read or hear about Albania is usually the bunkers. Of course there is so much more to this fascinating country than the concrete mushrooms that litter the landscape and I felt it right to write about some of these highlights first. At the same time however a description […]

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In search of Albanian fortresses

The first thing that most visitors to Albania will notice is that little has been done to make the place look nice. While further up the Adriatic coast the Ottoman treasures in former Yugoslavia have been carefully and expensively restored, this has not happened in Albania. Apart from the dramatic rainbow coloured transformation of some […]

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Behind the crowds: people watching in the Balkans

One of the greatest pleasures of travelling through the western Balkan region was the fact that as tourists we were always given our own space to observe, experience and interact if and when we were happy to do so. I mean this as a contrast to those many places where as a visitor from western […]

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Tirana: sightseeing in a place with no sights

London, Paris, Rome, Prague: mention these European capitals to most people and they will instantly conjure up an image of a famous building or scene from a favourite movie. Mention Tirana however and you’re likely to be met with a blank stare. And it’s hardly surprising; as the capital of one of Europe’s least developed […]

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A few reflections from a trip in the Balkans

After a little over two weeks away it’s nice to get back to posting on 501 Places again. Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Hercegovina and Croatia provided much for me to ponder and share in the next dozen or so posts; beauty, sadness, the kindness of strangers and the scars of a bitter war are […]

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