Okay, it’s time for another day trip!

It’s been awhile since I did one and now that I’m rocking 99.999%, it’s time to get out there and explore again.

Buses from Tirana to Durrës run every half hour so there was no set time I had to get to the bus station.

Before I caught the bus though, there was a little café near the bus stop where I wanted to continue my little gluten free adventure.

Byrek (or is it Burek?)

The café I went to is completely gluten and lactose free and has all sorts of desserts and pastries.

My eye was on the bryek they had in the fridge.

Bryek (or Burek in other Balkan countries) is a national pastry either stuffed with vegetable, cheese, or meat.

On previous trips when I went to the Balkans before I was diagnosed celiac I had tried it many times.   It’s just a great meal to start the day.

They only had spinach or cheese.   Sadly no meat.   Spinach it is.

She cut off a slice and put it in a grill press and my breakfast was ready soon after.

It was nice to finely cross bryek off the list.   It’s been everywhere the last 5 weeks and I’ve had to pass it up each time.

The bus to the bus

Yup, you read that right.

You have to catch a bus to get to the bus you take out of town.

Tirana has two bus stations – the regional station also known as the South & North station and the international station.

Both are on the outskirts of the city and not in walking distance.

The only way to get there is either by taxi for 700lek ($10) or by city bus for 40lek (60c).

I went to the main downtown bus stop where all the routes converge to wait for the bus.

The best way to describe the local bus system here is unorganized and chaotic.

You have no idea which bus goes where and on which route.

The guy at the hostel told be to take the bus that says “Camez” on the front so I just watched out for that one.

After waiting for about 10 minutes, I saw my bus coming.

Alright, I was on my way to the bus station…

Oh, it just drove on by…


I looked and it wasn’t full so I was thoroughly confused.

Well, guess I’ll wait for the next one…

Yeah, that one passed on by too.

At this point, I had been at the bus stop for a good half hour and the taxi option was looking a bit better.

I finally just approached a bus that had “Terminal” on it’s facade and asked him if he was going to the bus terminal.

He wasn’t.

But, he did point me to the bus directly in front of him.

Alright, I was finally on my bus to my other bus!

A crazy u-turn

I got to the bus yard just before noon and was one of the last ones to board the bus leaving for Durrës.

The drive to Durrës is only 30 minutes but the way the bus station is set up, the bus needed to do a long u-turn to head in the right direction.

In fact, after 20 minutes of being in slow moving traffic, we were exactly right back where we started, just on the other side of the road.

Yup, a 20 minute u-turn.


Anyway, at 1pm we arrived in Durrës.

Hello Durrës!

As we arrived in Durrës, I had this song stuck in my head.

It’s called Dancing in the Moonlight and was featured in a dance sequence between two characters in the TV series Umbrella Academy I’ve been binge watching this past week.

Literally, the entire day I was either singing or humming the tune.

Here’s a clip of the show just to get the song stuck in your head too…

Anyway, I just walked down the street towards the waterfront.

I really had no plan.

Just see the landmarks and grab some lunch then head back.

I saw an ancient Roman amphitheatre and the Durrës castle and then something even more amazing…

A little kebab shop with a picture menu board outside that had a picture of a kebab served on a plate with fries and salad.

No bread!


The gluten free adventure continues!

After lunch, I walked across the street to a park with a statue to the Unknown Soldier which led me to the waterfront.

Considering it was Saturday today, this part of the waterfront was pretty secluded.   I guess all the people were on the beach on the opposite side of the city.

It was kind of nice and peaceful just standing there just taking it all in.

Here I was.   In Albania with the sun beating down on me on the waterfront.

Humming Dancing in the Moonlight.

Life is good!

Gluten free dinner

I took a 3pm bus back to Tirana and this time it only took half an hour because there was no u-turn coming back.

By 4:00 I was back at the hostel and after chilling out for a bit, I headed back out for dinner around 6:30.

It was time to continue my gluten free adventure.

I had a burger and pasta yesterday so it only made sense that I have another completely untraditional Albanian dish tonight.

Yup, I had pizza.

At Tony’s American restaurant.

Yeah, I know, there’s a part of me dying inside too.

But, dammit, I wanted to try the pizza!

Well, I obviously angered the food Gods with all this tomfoolery because this pizza was one of the worst I’ve ever had.

I can’t completely blame it on the fact it was gluten free.   Truth is, I’ve had some really good gluten free pizza back home.

The crust they used though was bad.   It had no chew to it and it was severely undercooked.   I think they had to pull a frozen one out when the order came out and it just didn’t have enough time to defrost.

Oh well, that’s what I get for eating pizza in Tirana.

I knew I was pushing my luck with the burger and pasta yesterday.

I promise I’ll be a good boy from now on food Gods.

So, all in all, it was a good day.   I continued my gluten free adventure, did a day trip, and it really felt like I was dancing in the moonlight…

Balkan Trip 2023, Trip Journal, Durrës, Tirana, Albania
Balkans 2023
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