Last night after dinner I went to a bar in Saranda with a couple of the guys from the tour. I ordered a medium beer and was given what I know to be a large glass (in every other restaurant or bar in Albania). Pat asked for large and ended up with an absolute beast of a beer which I found amusing.
It was in this bar that we got to experience more of the Albanian hospitality we’ve come to know and love. We asked the bar guys if we could take a photo of them, and instantly it was all smiles, then they brought out the shot glasses and poured us shots saying “gratis, gratis!” while knocking shots back themselves. The bar owner invited us over to the best seats in the house and pretty much forced us to have some of his food, a traditional potato eggy type thing like a Spanish omelette I suppose. He was offering round pizzas and getting drinks for us. It was fantastic! I danced for a bit with Lee to the Euro-house they were playing but we were literally the only ones dancing so looking back we probaby looked like absolute idiots. The rum and cokes we moved onto were eye-wateringly strong, I reckon about 95% rum v 5% coke.
Today was a pretty leisurely free day so me and a few of the girls went for a walk down the promenade in the morning, sat for a cold drink and chatted for an extraordinarily long time, then meandered back to the hotel for a bit. I had a swim in the pool (the first pool of the trip and a welcome sight!) and sunbathed a bit, which left me with an unfortunate red stripe down the side of my left arm.
On a practical note, Saranda is the first place on this trip where we haven’t been able to drink the tap water. Here if they’re low on water they pump sea water into the system so the tap water here is often salty. Being able to drink the tap water everywhere else has been marvellous though. Onto Corfu tomorrow, just a short boat ride away.