Albania was actually one of the few countries I couldn’t get a grip of at all. People were really friendly and the food was absolutely outstanding. I can’t really put a finger on it at all but I guess it just means I’ll need to spend another few weeks there again sometime. Here are a few things I found funny while travelling to Albania.
Shaking your head means yes
I guess many people have heard that in Greece shaking your head means yes and nodding means no. I couldn’t see that practice in Greece, neither did I see it in the rest of the Balkans but in Albania I finally encountered it. I ordered some grilled corn from a street vendor (a must try) and got confused while he was shaking his head.
I tried again and got the same response. I was baffled and about to leave when I saw that
he still started to prepare the corn for me. A few minutes of waiting and I got to sink my teeth in that freshly barbecued piece of corn.
Going to the cinema
Although this is one that I missed but heard repeated several times during my stay
in Tirana. Going to the cinema is not as much about the movie as it is to hang out
with friends, smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol. Rumours has it that no one is
quiet and people end up fairly merry after their 2 hours in the hall. Sign me up
Although totally common everywhere only a few years ago, the anti-smoking mafia has still not gotten its foothold in Albania (read: illegal but no one gives a shit). Care to have a smoke while shopping at the mall? Well go ahead, the food court is totally okay too.
In the evenings you can see a lot of people walking the streets. Up and down, up and down the same strip. It starts in the evening and goes on until nightfall, it´s called the Xhiro. It was told to me that this was something that has stuck since the day of Enver Hoxha. During his socialist leadership, this was one of the most important ways to be able to talk politics without having to fear for getting caught by the Sigurimi (Albania’s secret police).
Last we have the amazing Albania Fried Chicken (picture below). Pretty amazing as the logo is almost a complete rip-off of the world famous KFC and the menu is strikingly similar. Albania gives a welcomed middle finger to many global brands. Go Albania!
P.S: If someone could explain to me the subtle traffic rules of Albania I´d be a very happy man.