I was just in the Albanian coastal city of Durres, Albania for work.
To be fair, there’s not that much to see in this city that served briefly (from 1913 to 1920) as the Albanian capital following Albanian independence. Unfortunately, the modern city seems to have forsaken any pretense of urban planning. It’s been built, quite literally, along the beach.
If you’re in Albania, there are certainly more characteristic places to explore, and the most beautiful beaches are all located on the southern coast, along the border with Greece.
But still, if you find yourself here, the coast in Durres is a pleasant place to stroll, and even in springtime there are plenty of young people walking out along the beach, especially in the later afternoon and early evenings.
I liked watching the young boys setting up makeshift goals in the sand after school, and old men and women out chatting in groups in the early morning hours.
When the weather was nice, I enjoyed getting up early and going for an early morning jog along the beach – a great start to the work day.
The stretch of beach here is an uninterrupted ten kilometers of wide sand. Even if my jogs started before 7 am, it was still too late or the fishermen, who were already returning with their haul after a long morning’s work.
It was also the hour in which women came out to clean the beach, raking up the seaweed and garbage. On the one hand, these cleaning efforts pleased me, on the other, the little piles of washed-up garbage disturbed me – a daily reminder of how shamefully we’re polluting our seas.
Still, the early morning beach jogs never failed to put me in a good mood and ready to begin the work of the day.
Not surprisingly, this is a great place to go to eat seafood at tables out along the beach, and it’s a popular coastal get-away from the capital of Tirana. I was here in May, but I’m told during the summer months, everyone lives outside – eating, drinking, enjoying the summer sea breezes, and taking long walks along the beach late into the night.
And yes, those sunrises and sunsets were truly spectacular.
So, if you happen to find yourself in Durres, join the locals out on a beach stroll – and don’t forget to start the morning out right, with a relaxing jog along the beach, accompanied by the sound of the crashing waves. Back in my chaotic city, I truly miss that…