Monday 21 September 2015

Gjirokastra 21/9/15


 Sunday 21st September travel to Gjirokastra

Catch bus, furgon from Permet to Gjirokastra in the morning.

Caught the 7 am bus from Permet to Gjirokaster, 300 leke each
The bus stops in the new town of Gjirokaster, we caught a taxi from the new town on the flats, up,the steep old cobble streets to hotel Gjirokaster, 400 leke for taxi. And arrived at hotel Gjirokaster 8:40 am. Had some delicious breakfast on the terrace, eggs, bread, little donuts, honey, jams, mountain tea, biscuits... 
View from hotel Gjirokaster terrace 

What an amazing coincidence! We meet up with a couple from Belgium again for the third time! "Nico" Henri - Nicolas Buscher and Annemie they've hired a car now and are driving and exploring.
We met Nico and Annamie in Theth, Hotel Tradita, and now in Gjirokaster! 
Off to explore Gjirokaster.

We walk up to the castle, it's not far from our Hotel,  hotel Gjirokaster is in a fabulous location!
200 leke each entrance fee. There is an armaments museum section.
This is an American plane, the propaganda put out by the communists was that it was an American spy plane that they captured. This is what all the schoolchildren were told when the plane was first put on display.
The real story I think is that the pilot had to do an emergency landing in Albania.
The Castle has built and added on to many times over the centuries. Castle Clock tower build by the Pasha.

View from the Castle , over the old stone roof tops towards the river and fertile flood plains.
A section of the castle was converted to a prison for political prisoners, very grim.
Section of the castle remodelled during the Pasha's time.

We walked around the steep streets of the old town and went into Skenduli house. An old Old Ottoman house and for 200 leke each had a tour, fascinating.

amazing architecture, and very Muslimin the design, 
They had an ingenious internal water storage cistern that stored the rainwater collected from the roof.
The kitchen has a stone floor, with a cooking fire.
Kitchen, giant pantry and storage!
Up to 30 people from the extended family lived in this house. So many different rooms!
There are huge cupboards in each room, as the family slept on sleeping mats that were packed up each morning and stored away, then each room was converted to a sitting room during the day. 

with designated women's areas, and even screened viewing areas for the women to observe the men.

Decorated fireplace in the best reception room. This is also the room where weddings and celebrations were held.
Beautifully carved and decorated ceiling.
The top floor of the house is the 'summer' section. Capturing the breezes.

We had lunch 1 pm at restaurant Kurveleshi along the Bazaar area, very good, simple, fresh local food.
Mixed salad - 200 leke
Yoghurt with garlic, oil and cucumber 150 leke
Fried rice balls - Qifqi 200 leke 
Kaon beer - 150 leke (Patrick said its better than Korca beer)
Mineral water uje with gas 50 leke
Lemon soda 100 leke

Looks like another storm building up
Met Nico and Annamie back at hotel Gjirokaster late in the afternoon, they've invited us to travel with them and their nephew  tomorrow to the site of Butrint , then they can drop us off at Sarande in the afternoon. They're basing themselves in Gjirokaster for 4 days.

Decided to have dinner at our hotel Gjirokaster, the food looks lovely, there's no menu, the mother cooks what's fresh and in season, we had a feast! Everything was super fresh and beautifully flavoured with herbs. The dishes kept coming out - Local specialty of Rice balls, followed by byreck, mixed salad, the best lamb Qofte I've ever had, hand made potato chips, beer, wine, fruit all for just 1600 leke! Patrick wrote a rave review on trip advisor. I forgot to take a foodie photo... Just enjoying being in the moment and savouring the food.

There's many things to do and see around Gjirokaster, would be worth staying longer to explore if we had more time.
Going into our lovely room in the hotel, nice, quiet and private. With our own little courtyard to sit and relax.

Sunset over the mountains, end of a lovely day in Gjirokaster.

Gjirokastra hotel 4900 leke per night b&b
 Lagjia Partizani, Rruga Shezai Como, 6001 Gjirokas Gjirokaster

Hotel Gjirokastra 21st September

AddressLagjia Partizani, Rruga Shezai Como
6001 Gjirokastër

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