July 2003. I’ve always been a little curious about this little European country, so I booked a long weekend in July via a tours agency. It so happens, there was no tour as such, and as I was travelling alone, I had to find my way to the hotel which the agency booked in Tirana. The airport in Rinas is situated between Tirana and Durrës, so I hired a guide (which I had to trust) to take me to the hotel and then pick me up the following day to do a little tour around Albania. Travelling alone in Albania is not for the faint-hearted, and quite frankly, felt rather relieved once I was on the plane back to London via Budapest. Having said that, the country does sport some absolutely pristine pieces of coastline and very rugged unspoiled mountainside. During Enver Hoxha’s communist reign, the country was pretty much closed to outsiders giving its occupants practically no freedom. Unfortunately, to most Albanians, the situation really hasn’t changed much with regard to their feeling of isolation. Practically no other country in the world will freely give a visa to an Albanian to enter at will. Improvements in security and a little injection in cash may make Albania a very desirable tourist destination.