We didn’t realize taking the minivan would involve the driver making multiple deliveries along the way. Nor did we think about getting stopped just ten minutes from Saranda by ‘traffic police’ who questioned the driver for a good piece because he apparently wasn’t authorized to transport passengers. What an eventful last 'bus' ride in Albania this one turned out to be! Just another adventure to tell about.
After checking in at the Hotel Aulona, we couldn't believe our good fortune with the size of the room, that we had our own large balcony and, to top it all off, a kettle and free breakfast included, all for the extremely reasonable sum of just $28 bucks a night.
Could it get any prettier than this, we wondered, as we descended the steps to the waterfront ? Saranda’s name comes from an early monastery dedicated to 40 saints, Ayii Saranda. The town was called Porto Edda for a period in the 1940s after the daughter of the Italian leader, Benito Mussolini.
It was so much fun just strolling along the waterfront. Once again, we saw many women selling crocheted items galore. Perhaps I should have said trying to sell as it was as if we had Saranda to ourselves because there were so few people milling about.
Along the one kilometer-long esplanade was a mini souvenir bazaar for lack of a better word with canopied awnings to protect the vendors from the city's searing summertime heat and other elements. On the other side of the esplanade, lay bars, restaurants and many souvenir shops.
We walked along the waterfront a short distance to the port to pick up the ferry tickets we had ordered online for our journey, two days hence, over to nearby Corfu in Greece.
Saranda is a very popular destination as a day trip for the cruise ships that anchor offshore and increasingly for Albanians wanting a vacation on its many nearby beaches. There is also an important UNESCO archeological site nearby which draws huge numbers of tourists.
Posted on October 14th, 2016.