Hello from Tirana, Albania!
So, I just went from a small town near the Adriatic Sea up to Tirana, the capital city of the country. What a change! I'm fully embracing it and really enjoying it.
I'm staying in a wonderful neighborhood called Blloku. The Blloku neighborhood is a vibrant area that has undergone significant transformation in recent years. Originally a restricted zone during the communist era, reserved for government officials and party elites, Blloku has evolved into a bustling hub of trendy cafes, restaurants, shops, and nightlife. Its streets are lined with colorful buildings, and fun street art, creating a lively and cosmopolitan atmosphere. Blloku is now a symbol of Tirana's modernization and a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. The best part is that it's within walking distance to my favorite coffeeshops, my gym, and all the monuments you need to see!
Pyramid of Tirana
My gym membership has paid off and I hiked up to the top of The Pyramid of Tirana, originally known as the "Enver Hoxha Museum" for an amazing view of the city. It's an iconic yet controversial architectural structure in Albania's capital city. Designed by a group of architects, led by the daughter of the former dictator Enver Hoxha, it was constructed as a monument dedicated to his legacy.
The building's unique pyramid shape and smooth exterior has undergone various transformations over the years, serving as a venue for cultural events, a nightclub, and even facing demolition discussions. It even served as a base for Nato during the 1998-99 war in neighbouring Kosovo. Eventually, the municipality decided to make it into an IT centre (called Tuto) for the young, and create a "nurturing environment for young Albanians."
The Pyramid's history reflects the country's political shifts and societal changes, making it both a striking architectural symbol and a contested piece of Albania's past.
One place you can't miss here is Skanderbeg Square - in the heart of Tirana. It's a vibrant and bustling public space, named after Albania's national hero, Gjergj Kastrioti Skënderbeu, widely known as Skanderbeg. The square serves as a focal point for the city, surrounded by important government buildings, historic landmarks, and lively cafes. Dominated by the monumental Skanderbeg statue, the square underwent extensive renovations in recent years, transforming into a pedestrian-friendly area with fountains, green spaces, and public art installations. The Square is home to The National Theatre of Opera and Ballet of Albania, and the Natural History Museum.
Grand Park of Tirana
The Grand Park in Tirana is a sprawling urban oasis, offering respite and recreational opportunities in the bustling capital of Albania. Spanning over 230 hectares, this expansive park is a haven for nature enthusiasts, joggers, families, and anyone seeking tranquility amidst the city's vibrancy. It features lush greenery, serene pathways, artificial and natural lakes, and recreational facilities such as playgrounds, sports fields, and picnic areas. The park also houses the Botanical Garden, home to diverse plant species, and an artificial lake where visitors can rent boats and enjoy the serene surroundings. With its peaceful ambiance and a variety of activities, the Grand Park stands as a cherished retreat and a crucial part of Tirana's urban landscape.
Bob Tapper: Life Abroad, a documentary travel podcast
For a more indepth look into my life abroad, you can always listen to my most recent podcasts - and don't forget to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts!
Well, it's goodbye to Albania and hello to Portugal - a return to one of the most favorite places I've lived during my travels. It will be a Christmas away from family and friends, but I'm looking forward to some new holiday experiences and festive moments with prior acquaintences and new friends.
For the past couple of months, I've been embracing my inner tourist, but I'm itching to reunite with my filmmaking crew and dive back into our creative projects come the new year.
I really appreciate those who have been reading this blog. Thanks for following along!
ACTOR // FILMMAKER // TRAVEL BLOGGER
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