There were two entries on my Albania Bucket List: take the made-in-Austria (my peeps!!!) cable car up Mount Dajti and taste wine at Nurellari Winery Cellar in Berat.
We took the Dajti Ekspres Cable Car on Saturday, June 25.
The comfortable ride over the ridge, up and up and up was lovely. Tirana stretched out before us with a sprawl fueled by a building boom. (There seems to be a problem with finishing many of these projects, including the uniquely shaped concrete high rise in the middle of town.)
At the top, we took in the view, then headed behind the gondola and hotel facility.
"Want to shoot?" A man, one of many with guns, called us to his a table. For a price, my husband, friend, his son and I gave it a try. Aiming has never been one of my talents. Even with repeated instructions from the nice man—who has been to Boston—I didn't hit any of the targets.
We wandered up a path and watched some thirsty-looking horses take tourists on short rides. Also for rent were a fleet of sketchy-looking all-terrain vehicles.
The path led to what must have once been a grand building. From the relief sculptures of a boy on one side and a girl on the other, we theorized this may have been a camp for the children of communist big-wigs.
We took a closer look and realized there were people living here. Squatters? A child appeared on a balcony, so I waved and we turned tail.
The next attraction was a super-fun playground, with swings and a couple spin-spin-spin devices. The boy, his father and I tried one out and all pulled at the wheel in the middle. With a little inertia, the world became a blur. It took a few minutes before I regained my equilibrium enough to navigate the balance beam.
Although breakfast at the Cocoon Hotel made me question whether I'd need to eat again, at 12:01 PM, the beer o'clock alarm went off, so we headed to the Ballkoni i Dajtit (Balcony of Dajti).
My "I'll just have soup" idea was soon drowned out by piles of food.
Olives that we surmised were local, given the groves we saw from the cable-car, salads, cheeses, lamb, chicken, potatoes. Let's just say, thanks to this feeding frenzy, we forgot to have dinner.
Before heading back down to the city, we stopped for beverages in the somewhat strange rotating cafe at the top of the Dajti Tower Belvedere Hotel.
A bonus? Up in the mountain, we escaped the 99°F heat of the city.
Check out my reviews on Trip Advisor.