Kruje, Berat and Dinner in Albania
Berat was an amazing place to overnight in Albania, particularly in nice walking-around weather. After hiking up to and around Berat Castle I wandered the streets looking for a grocery store- a more difficult feat than it seems. I was only moderately successful but was able to see more of the beautiful town.
Later that night in Berat, we met at a traditional Albanian restaurant and had quite the amazing yet simple meal. Albanian wine to start- it was okay.
Salad with local sheep’s’ milk cheese:
fried cheese (yum!):
A cornmeal spanakopita of sorts:
And all the grilled meat!
For all this we paid about $7 a head- that included the wine. And we had leftover spanakopita and leftover wine for a little happy hour the next day as well.
Bright and early we woke up to head to Kruje, and their fortress/castle on the hill. The fortress had been turned into an National Albanian history museum named George Castroti Skanderbeg, after the Albanian hero Skanderbeg. The accompanying homestead was preserved and provided interesting insight into the lives of Albanians in the 19th century.
Since Albania was never part of Yugoslavia and resisted the Ottomans for a time, Albanian history is more separate from other Balkan countries. Skanderbeg is definitely one of the most prized Albanian historical figures.
Albania is pretty mountainous so walking around can be challenging but the vistas are amazing!
Selfie attempt without a selfie stick- I forgot to bring mine this trip.
Of course I found the Albanian version of burek for my lunch (cost 25 cents). This one wasn’t quite as good as the Macedonian ones I had elsewhere but still tasty nonetheless. Also it had been mushed up in my backpack for a few hours before I got around to eating it
Since Kruje is super-touristy for Albania (which hardly has any crowds at all), there was a market. I purchased a go-to souvenir, a refrigerator magnet, with the Albanian flag on it. My tour group is having a lot of fun finding fun fridge magnets for me in every country. Inevitably, I always wander back to the group with a newly purchased magnet.
My favorite stop in Kruje is when we stopped for some coffee and restrooms at the aptly-named and fancy Hotel Panorama. It overlooks the fortress and makes for a gorgeous lunch/coffee spot.
Kruje is a good daytrip within Albania and an excellent way to learn more about Albanian history.
We are off to Tirana, the Albanian capital next!