Today we made our way to the top of the mountain to check out Vlore’s castle. This was the worst-kept castle we had come across yet; you could tell it was being left to rot. It was sad to see all this heritage and history slowly crumble away and sink into the ground, and it wasn’t the first historic site I had been to where this was apparent. There was a ton of animal shit everywhere, which appeared to belong to goats, well that’s what it tasted like. This shit attracted flies, lots of them. I was wearing a green top which was a rubbish choice because it meant I looked like grass. I also hadn’t washed, so probably smelt like the shit on the floor, so was a beacon for flies. I can only imagine the disaster in store for any unsuspecting picnickers. Carnage.

On our way back down the mountain Ednora found a kid and picked it up (a baby goat, not a random child). It then proceeded to follow us into the hotel where we had a coffee (that’s right another coffee for breakfast) seeming to think Ednora’s teat was there for suckling. How wrong this kid had got it.

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Back down into Vlore we visited a museum which was a house where the country’s declaration of independence was signed. The little Albanian lady (again) gave us a guided tour of each room and gave us information from the pics and letters and maps on the wall. She was pretty excited there was an English person there. A few interesting things came out of the experience, which we paid around 80p for:

  • The borders of Albania were more or less decided by the UK Prime Minister at the time putting his gun on a map and drawing around it.

  • The Albanian flag was designed by a woman

  • The first flag of independence was raised in Vlore

  • She made sure to tell us how much of a bastard Serbia is. Due to their strained relations, I could imagine that at exactly the same time, somewhere significant in Serbia, there was a tall, sunburned skinny English guy in a little museum being told, in Serbian, how much of a bastard Albania is.

Then to the beach! We further depleted my skin’s defence mechanism from the sun, and then Ednora and I ate gnocchi and vegetable soup. Above us were those fans which also spray water into the air. The last time (and only time, I think) I saw those was back in London Zoo, in the tropical zone. That is all.

Later that night we found a restaurant with incredible views of the sunset. It was a traditional Greek/Albanian restaurant which sat at the bottom of a mountain. It seemed quite new, much like a lot of the hotels and other restaurants in Albania – a sign that it was developing at a rapid pace. We had BBQ feta, mixed salad to share, free range chicken on a bed of rice, and lamb and potatoes which was all too much for us to finish. And after polishing off a couple of bottles of wine we paid £8 each for the privilege.

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