My experience living in Shkoder, Albania

I relocated to Shkoder, Albania Nov. 22 2012, I have been here 6 months. Everything said on this blog so far has been correct. Driving is interesting, but if you are a good driver from any other country you will do fine here. Pay Attention.
  Medical - very lacking, yet the Pharmacists and Doctors are very helpful in obtaining routine medicines and even extra tests needed. Much of the treatment you receive does rely on who you know.
  Corruption. Yes there is what appears to be a corruption problem in all areas. Medical, Police, Municipality offices, etc. I think you need to take a look at where they have been and understand that all countries go through this. The have only been free of the communist regime for 23 years and had a major set back in 1997 with the ponzi schemes. Sooo. It is here and it is getting better, so the locals tell me.
   Despair - yes, many here feel that there is nothing they can do to make it better. Of course, my American mind set does not accept that. Unfortunately or Fortunately - I do feel there is always a solution, finding the means and people to make it happen may take some time.
   Albanians in general are the friendliest and most helpful I have ever encountered in all of my travels and I have been all over the world, except for South America. The temperature is moderate although somewhat wet in the winter and I am told that this year's spring has been on the wet side. Albanian, Shiptar is not an easy language for me to master. I use my dictionary daily and am making slow progress. The locals are all to ready to help me out.
   There are restaurants everywhere, one better than the last. I have not had a bad meal since I have been here in one. The cusine is a mix of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean. The local wine goes from bad to very good. I have only tried about 6 of the local labels at this time. I have had some locally made wines that, you will not find them in the stores, are not to my liking, it doesn't meant that you will not like them, many others do.
   Poverty and the Economy - I don't know where you may be coming from, but I obviously didn't come with the intention of becoming a millionaire. I could have stayed in the US and persued that. The life style is slower and enjoying a coffee and a chat for 2 hours un-harrassed to leave the Cafe's table is it's own reward. Some believe that the Albanians are rude, I think you just don't understand the customs.
   If you come to Albania come with an open mind and the ability to laugh at yourself. It can be a great experience. There is much to see and do. Of course there is more to do in Tirana, the capitol. What does that mean to you. There are architecturally interesting buildings, both known and unknown history abounds, there are people to meet and you can easily visit Tirana, Montenegro, Sovenia, Greece and Italy to name a few that are within reach easily. Let us not forget to mention the terrific Albanian sites, the mountains, sea coast and cities.
    Come to Albania. Yes be up on your Medical and be sure you can get whatever medicine(s) you need here. Don't let a few negative remarks, isolated by themselves keep you from "Discovering Albania" a true Gem in the Rough, getting smoother all the time. Come to Albania for all I mentioned. Have a wonderful experience. Isn't that what you were really looking for. If it was the same as being home what would be the point of coming. Have a Raki or two, it might grow on you. Try everything offered, even if it does come from a goats stomach. Someone before you has do so and enjoyed it, if not - Very Good, No thank you, enough in my broken Albanian "Shume Mire, Jo Falemnderit - Mjaft. You have made the effort to speak the language and to take part of one of the many unique Albanian cultural experiences. You will not be disappointed, and you will always have a great story to tell later on.
   I did say come with an open mind - So Enjoy your adventure - You can always go somewhere else or return home or maybe make  Albania the new home you were looking for. Safe Travels! Goodbye! Mirupafshim!

Hello Restoreman.

Welcome to Expat.com! :)

A new thread has been created from your message on the Albania forum as the other one was dated 2011.

Thank you for sharing your experience with us.

Aurélie

Tirana is the capital of albania
Tirana has been the capital of Albania since 1920. It is relatively new city established in 1614 from Sulejman Bargjini, feudal of the area at the time. The city began to grow at the beginning of the 18th century. “Tirana “, it is thought that comes from the word “ Theranda”, mentioned in the ancient Greek and Latin sources, that aborigines called Te Ranat, because the field was formed as a result of stiff materials that the waters from the surrounding mountains brought.

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