Memaliaj and how to get to Elbasan from the south

Where is Memaliaj? Memaliaj is a small quiet town inside the Tepelene region, in south Albania. If you are hitchhiking a ride from Tepelene, it will take you 5-10 minutes to get there by car. You will find mountains and old buildings, some are occupied and some are abandoned. To get there, you need to flag a driver, furgon, or a bus, and let them know to drop you there. Memaliaj does not have a transit station so if you need to leave town, stand on the highway and flag a driver. Last time I was there, there was a bus parked on the highway that leaves at a certain time, to Tirana. From my experience, I flagged the Duress bus, going up north, but I was mainly trying to get to Elbasan, which is an hour away from Duress. It costed me 600 leke from Memaliaj.

20151025_120613 At the center of Memaliaj is the memorial for soldiers who fought in WW2.

I hitchhiked to Memaliaj when the sky was completely dark. Don’t worry, I had a guy friend with me. It took us about 15 minutes to find a ride. I had to flag a couple cars, but one was afraid of me because I was a foreigner. I told the driver, who was an elder man, that we’re going to Memaliaj. He looked frightened, so he shook his head No. However, there was a man behind me who asked the same thing to the same town, but he let that man in the car. Whatever. Luckily, a few minutes later, another car stopped for us. There were two high school boys who actually knows my friend who lives in Memaliaj and were the previous students of hers. We thanked them when they dropped us off at our friend’s house.

That night, we celebrated our friend’s birthday and I met her cute kitty without a name.

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This is the view from my friend’s balcony of her town.

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How do I get to Elbasan from Memaliaj? Take any bus that goes up north, such as Tirana, Duress, Fier (but you’ll need to make a transfer to another furgon), or Rrogozhine. Any bus that goes up north will drop you off at the spot on the highway in the outskirt of Rrogozhine (not in the center), if you want to go to Elbasan. From there, you can catch an Elbasan furgon that will take you to the center of Rrogozhine, Cerrik, Peqin, Pajove, or any town going towards Elbasan. During the day time, it doesn’t take long to catch a ride. It is frequent so you won’t have to sweat, unless it’s hot and the sun is out roasting you alive. Don’t be surprised if the bus is already full, and you might have to sit or stand on the aisle. The journey from Memaliaj to Rrogozhine took me about 3 hours. From Rrogozhine to Elbasan was about 45 mins, for 200 leke.

If the journey is more than 2 hours long, you will get the chance to take a pee break, or a lunch break. Usually the bus stops in the middle of nowhere but enjoy the view.

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Some new albanian words I learned today:

qiri – candle

panxhar – beet

i paharrueshëm – memorable

Tani Europa me cmime shumë të lira dhe eksperienca të paharrueshme!

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