Posts Tagged ‘byrektore’

Here are a few photos from my every day life in Tirana. My stay was brief, but I did develop some habits and a routine. Other things I found out too late, like when I discovered a different way to walk to my office that didn’t take me through the outdoor produce market during my last week in town. Of course, I can hardly be found at fault for this, since Tirana’s streets–and lack of street signs–are notoriously confusing. This first photo is a byrektore in the neighborhood, one of the many where I could stop on my way in to work. For the uninitiated, byrek are savory pastries that make really convenient street food. They differ at each place, but the general idea is that it is some kind of flaky or puff pastry with a stuffing, usually in a triangle or square single-serving size. My favorite stuffing was the cheese (think something like a feta), but the tomato ones are also really good.

My favorite Albanian breakfast

An observant person will notice some Italian-era villas in between many of the drab apartment buildings.

This one is just down the street from my office.

And this one is on the secret route to my apartment that I found right before I came home.

The strange, hurried, and haphazard development of the capital city is exemplified by the state of the electrical wires. All you have to do is look up and you can see it all around in many areas.

Tirana is known for its colorfully-painted apartment buildings. A former mayor was also a painter, and he brightened up the post-Communist city by applying paint in interesting patterns to many of the formerly grey buildings.

A colorful building near the river

On my daily walk past the outdoor market, I always passed this guy sitting on this corner. He usually had a crate with just a few very large, very overgrown-looking squashes, and he would start his sales pitch as you walked by. It always ended in a mutter, and I’m pretty sure that even if I understood Albanian his speech would have been a little unintelligible. You can see examples of the squash right above (behind in the 3-D world) the seat of the motorbike in the photo.

Unfortunately, he decided to hold an umbrella for some shade on the day I brought my camera!

One word that aptly describes Tirana is “construction.” This is a city that is constantly updating itself. The main square of the city, surrounded by stately Italian-style buildings, is lovely but a bit unsightly from all the construction–overturned earth and temporary chain link fences invade any view. Still, once you get used to it, it almost seems normal this way. I gave up trying to take a “pretty” photo and just took a photo of what I saw. It was home, after all!

The statue in the square is Skanderbeg--if you ever see him, you can recognize him by his long beard and helmet with a goat's head on top!

This area where the square is located is known as the “Center,” or Qender in Albanian. The Q is pronounced with a “ch” sound, like in “choice.”

The mosque and clock tower in the center are some of the few older structures that remain in Tirana.

See you later, Tirana! My brief time “living” here was definitely a once in a lifetime experience!

Bicycles are a popular form of transportation in Tirana (seen here in the outdoor market).


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