Albania scaled

5 Fun Facts about Albania

March 16, 2020
Fun Facts

Albania‘s most important characteristics are the language and Skanderbeg, well and the Mercedes Benz and probably the Raki as well. So, the following 5 facts explain a bit more about that and give a few impressions of the country and its people, which can make visitors and guests wonder.

What is it about the Mercedes Benz?

While visiting Albania, you will notice a lot of Mercedes. Someone once said there are more Mercedes than in Berlin Charlottenburg.
Mercedes Benz – a flagship of Albania?!

When the borders opened after the isolation period of Albania, the locals tried different types of cars and discovered for themselves, that Mercedes is apparently the most appropriate car for the given road conditions and lasted quite long since broken parts could easily be replaced by parts from other Mercedes. After all the Albanians like to show off now and then, so owning a Mercedes is quite a symbol of their pride.

Mercedes Benz in Albania scaled

A German, an Italian and an Albanian are in heaven after they died. They ask each other how they died.
The German replies: I had an accident with my Porsche.
The Italian answers: I crushed against a wall with my Maserati.
The Albanian says: Because I bought a Mercedes I couldn’t afford food anymore.

Raki – the national drink

As throughout the whole Balkan, Raki is a common drink. Wherever you go for a traditional and authentic Albanian kitchen a self-made Raki comes along. But there is quite a difference between the Raki you get in a bar in the city or the one offered at someone’s house because that one often is twice as strong.

Raki is often served out of various plastic bottles such as water, Sprite or sometimes also glass bottles from other alcoholic drinks. So be careful when you get home after a party night and you think you found cold water in the fridge, could end up with a big sip of a strong Raki.

Yes or no…nodding or shaking the head

It probably needs a bit of practice and concentration to adapt to the way of saying yes or no, especially when showing reaction by nodding or shaking the head. So when you get asked if you want another Raki and you keep shaking your head all night long, you might end up drinking one after another and a hangover the next day.

So it might be a bit confusing since yes in Albanian is “Po” while they say for no “Jo”. But the actual difficulty is rather controlling the motions of your head since it is the other way around than what most of us are used to. If you want to say no you nod, shaking your head means yes.
Good luck my friends.

Coffee for hours

Strolling through the streets you can see cafés at every corner. The first time during the day, I thought why the hell are there so many cafés? They are no guest, that doesn’t make any sense.

After a while, I knew better: either you sit in a café and drink your coffee for hours or during work you just have at least 5 times a coffee. And coffee doesn’t mean the usual cup of coffee, it is generally an espresso always served with a glass of water. All-day they drink coffee, sometimes even instead of a beer they rather order a coffee.

You start in the early years since it a symbol of being an adult. Therefore, people start drinking coffee around the age of 14, not because of the taste but for the coolness factor.

Turkish Coffee and Raki scaled
Watch out for the small obstacles

Somehow everything seems to work in Albania, even if there are few things improvised so at least it works. Nevertheless, walking through the streets can be quite like an obstacle run. So, whenever you feel like taking a walk through the streets, watch out for dipping water from above. Taking a look at the floor once in a while doesn’t only help to notice the puddles, but also to see the holes in the ground to avoid falling or tripping. Besides that, a walk never gets boring.

Written by: Pia Opitz intern at Elite Travel Group

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