Today I decided to take a walk beside the river Lana (Lanë). Actually “river” is too grand a word. It’s really nothing more than a stream. Small as it is, the Lana is the main river in Tirana. It begins up in the mountains and runs right through the centre of the city.
Sometimes it’s nice to follow rivers because you can just enjoy the walk without having to keep track of landmarks or worrying about getting lost. Sure, these days you can find your way around using a smartphone but it’s a distraction when you have to keep checking your location with Google Maps. It’s nicer to look at the view.
I headed right, followed the river for about 45 minutes, and then came back. There was no plan. I just wanted to see what I would find.
The river Lana is very unusual. It’s actually nothing more than a long concrete channel. At least that’s how it is when it passes through Tirana. Presumably, it’s more natural up in the mountains. I don’t know. I haven’t explored that far.
There are some nice trees planted beside the river. I like that, but the water always looks a little murky. When I first noticed this I was quite surprised. When I made the journey here on the bus from Saranda, I saw some incredibly clean rivers. In fact, they were the cleanest rivers I’ve ever seen in my life.
I did a little research and discovered there’s a good reason why the river Lana looks so murky. Although the waters used to be nice and clear, these days they are carrying sewage.
To be honest, I never noticed a smell, but I’ve read some Google reviews written by people complaining the water smells none too sweet.
If there has been a problem with smelly water, perhaps it’s been resolved. Or, then again, maybe the smell of sewage in the water becomes more pronounced during the summer months.
Earlier in the week, I followed the river Lana in the other direction, heading upstream, towards its source.
That was an interesting walk. After 20 minutes or so, the regular pavement disappeared and became more of a work in progress.
The city of Tirana is still expanding and I’d reached one of the newer areas where there’s still a lot of construction going on.
Walking through this newer area of the city was quite an experience. It reminded me a little of my days working as a security guard on building sites in the UK. The view in Tirana is more interesting though. I love looking at all the mountains.
One of the things I love about walking through new cities is I never know what I will find. Every walk is an adventure. It allows me to get to know more of “the city”. That’s generally more interesting than checking out the tourist attractions.
If you really want to explore a city, sometimes the best thing to do is just pick a direction and walk.
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