April 22, 2016: Golem

We got up around nine this morning and went down to partake of the breakfast at the Hotel Espana here in Golem, Albania outside of Durres.  We went downstairs and sat outside.  We were the only ones getting breakfast this morning.

Breakfast was just brought out for us and it was huge.  Even with an oversized table the four of us could not fit around it with all of the food.  Food just kept coming and coming.

Breakfast at the Hotel Espana

It was rather an overwhelming amount of food for just four people to eat, especially when two of those people are very petite.  We had tons and tons left over, even though all of it was really good.  We each got crepes, a tomato, cucumber, cheese, bread, French toast (egg toast), a soft boiled egg, a cake, yoghurt, two kiwi fruit, fried dough, cracker style bread, salami (which sadly we could not eat) and a fresh squeezed fruit juice!  It was a bit over the top, but very impressive.  And this is all free with our one room!  This meal alone is so impressive that it really makes staying at the hotel nearly free for us.

We decided that we like it here at the hotel and the beach is so nice that we are going to stay here for a few days.  The value of the hotel is so good that we can just spend some time and the Internet access is very good, so I am able to do things while Dominica and the girls relax.  Some sun and beach time is good for everyone.  So we extended our stay until Monday giving us the weekend here.

After breakfast the girls wanted beach time.  So we went up to the room and got them into bathing suits and got their beach toys that Dominica had purchased for them in Montenegro and they went down to the beach with Dominica.  I worked in the room for about half an hour and then took my laptop down to join them.

Dominica and I sat out on the veranda where I had decent Internet access from the hotel’s wifi and was able to work on my laptop while Dominica and I had our morning coffee with milk (a white coffee, made with espresso, of course.)  The girls played until they were tired of the beach and wanted to go back up to the room to relax.  We probably got an hour or more of beach time this morning.

We hung out in the hotel room for a lot of the middle of the day.  The girls watched videos and played video games while Dominica sat out on the balcony reading and enjoying the sea view.  I sat at the kitchen table and was able to get quite a bit done this morning.  It was a decent way to pass the day.

Dominica was determined to have a day without going anywhere so today was a stay at “home” day.  Tomorrow we plan to drive down the coast after breakfast and get a feel for the area and what it might have to offer.

This evening, around five thirty, we finally cajoled the girls into heading out for a walk down the beach to the south to find a place to go to for dinner.  Secretly Dominica and I were on the look out for a restaurant on the beach with a small playground so that the girls would have that to do while we ate.

This meant that pretty much it was Dominica and me having dinner together.  The girls were very occupied and made friends with whoever happened along so they were quite busy.

Golem Dinner
Dinner on the beach in Golem, Albania

Dinner was huge and not what we were expecting.  I ordered what Dominica thought was  a pasta dish but was actually fruit of the sea in a buttery cream sauce.  Good, but not what I had thought that I was going to get.  It was basically a soup made of just cream and butter and then loads and loads of squid, scallops and such cooked in it.  Good, but surprising.  Dominica did “angry cream” which was a spicy pepper sauce on penne pasta.  Liesl had pasta with butter, a go to favourite for the girls.  Luciana got fried cuttlefish, or that is what we ordered, but she ended up with a massive plate of mixed seafood including whole fried prawns (which none of us can really stomach the thought of, even if they taste great) and lots of mussels which are good but not something that she is going to eat.  She loved the cuttlefish, though.

We ate and then the girls went back to the playground for a bit.  We were in no hurry, it is a Friday night after all, so Dominica and I just relaxed for a bit.  There was tons of leftover food that we could not possibly eat.  We just can’t eat the serving sizes that they have here. They certainly put Texan portion control to shame here in Albania.

An orange creamsickle cat was circling us through much of dinner.  After the girls left, it sneaked up onto Luciana’s chair and nosed her plate.  We felt badly that we had not finished enough of the food, but there was just too much for us to eat, so we slyly fed that cat as much as we dared to make it look like we had eaten more.  The cat had no qualms about the whole prawns and made much more efficient meals of them than we would have.  And it ate nearly all of the remaining seafood.  So we did not feel nearly so badly about having gotten so much food.  Apparently next time we need to just order for two people and the kids can snack off of our plates.  That would be a much more appropriate amount of food.  The bill was twenty seven Euros, not bad at all.

We walked back

Durres, Albania
Lights of Durres from Golem Looking North

We walked back to the hotel.  The girls just wanted to use Dominica’s laptop to watch YouTube. Dominica put in about an hour looking up property listings for the Albanian coast to see what our options would be and to see what might make sense for us to go and look at tomorrow as far as towns and areas.  Our plan is to do breakfast and then to get right onto the road to go explore southern Albania along the coast.

I did some normal work, plus some SGL catch up tonight.  I also started working on the daunting task of getting Dominica’s iPhone 6 uploaded to Flickr and YouTube.  She has let the phone be three and a half years behind without being uploaded so the amount of work to be done is crazy now and she has not been taking pictures with her phone in a long time because the memory has been full.  So many opportunities have been lost because it has not been managed well.  The Internet here is so good that I am trying to rectify as much of that as I possibly can while the opportunity is so good.

Dominica went to bed around ten.  Luciana was asleep by ten thirty.  Liesl and I were the only ones still awake after elven.