Honest Guides, Flexible Itinerary
I hadn’t thought of visiting Albania until talking to your friend at Destinations. I normally think quite hard about where to go, and research which company to go with but didn’t on this occasion, having made a spontaneous decision to go with AlbanianTrip. Since returning, I have looked at one or two other tours (there aren’t many) to see how they compare – and I feel even more pleased that I went with you.
I liked the fact that the itinerary went awry at times! This is because we did extra, spontaneous, things, such as visiting the history museum in Vlora and being shown round the Socialist Realist art exhibition in Korca. I doubt that these things could happen on a tour with a larger firm where guides would have less flexibility.
I did like the fact that we dined together. Apart from enjoying the company, we were able to benefit from your knowledge of where and what to eat. The hotels were all good, though some were better than others. I hadn’t known what to expect and, to be honest, thought that they might be less good than they were. The traditional ones in Girokastra and Korca were the best.
I thought that visiting Kruja on our first full day was a good idea as it combined spectacular scenery with diverse elements of Albanian history – specifically Skanderbeg, his fight against the Ottomans and the interpretation of this story in the communist period museum. Combining it with Durres brought in ancient history too, as well as being practical as they’re both near Tirana. I only mention this because I noticed that other tours go there last, on their way back to the airport – your way round is better. I very much enjoyed visiting the cobbler’s, baker’s and blacksmith’s shops and meeting the old man in Permet and even the sozzled general in the bar in Korca. People were very friendly and, clearly, tourists are still a novelty. I also enjoyed the tour of the National Art Gallery in Tirana with the local artist, as you wouldn’t normally meet such a person.
Finally, thank you for leading the tour so well. You have great knowledge about your own country as well as an obvious interest in the wider world and in other people. And a great sense of humor so we had a lot of fun. I particularly appreciated the fact that you were prepared to discuss some of the more negative things about Albania, such as corruption in the judiciary and petrol adulteration. I’m not sure that many tour guides would be as open as this. I felt I got an honest and well rounded view of the country, which might not have been the case with another leader. Absolutely finally, your friend at Destinations captured my attention by describing the countryside and the historical sites but I didn’t realize how good the hotels and food would be, or how friendly the people. Albania is also kind to the pocket as food and drinks are cheap compared with Britain and your single supplement was surprisingly low (good news for solo travelers who resent high supplements.)