Albania’s capital, Tirana, has a “cable car”:https://dajtiekspres.com/, opened in 2005, which takes you up to the Dajti National Park. The Austrian-made cars (complete with obsolete ski and snowboard racks on the outside) seat 8 and, true to form, the Perspex had been scratched with graffiti. As we were early, we had a carriage for the 15-minute ride to ourselves and our driver Edmond.
The National Park has mainly mountainous terrain with the highest peak, Mcekut of St Mary at 1827m. However, we contented ourselves around what is known as Dajti Field with the large Ballkoni Dajti restaurant and a rather striking 24 room Dajti Tower Hotel. Just beneath the upper cable car station, the hotel has an unusual shape with rotating bar and viewing terrace. However, we took in the scenery from the public viewing deck, and although it was a little hazy, we tried to spot some of the key sights, like Skanderbeg Square, which we’d visited on our city tour.
Lots of activities were on offer including mini golf, a shooting range, horse riding, and a children’s adventure park. However, on a midweek day in October, it was very quiet.
There are also a number of short hiking trails and one took us past a pale-yellow derelict building. Edmond said it was a hotel from the communist era, which explained the saluting girl soldier in relief on the exterior wall. Edmond said beyond the trees was the Prime Minister’s house, set in the grounds of a military base. Perhaps we strayed too close, as we noticed one man following us and another taking our photographs. When confronted by Edmond he was told the photos were for tourism purposes. Having seen how poor the Albanians are at taking their picnic rubbish home, we thought picking up the litter might have served tourism in a more effective way.
We then took another route, through a forested area with beech, oak, cherry, and black pine trees, past another derelict communist era hotel, complete with bunkers, and the Adventure Park. We eventually hit a tarmac road which seemed to be leading us gently down, until eventually we returned a slightly different way.
Once again, on the way back down we had the car to ourselves.