Sep 19, 2018 - Sea Cloud
We arrived this morning in the port of Sarandë on our first of two days in the fascinating land of Albania. Passing modern towns, peaceful countryside, and a roadside view of the mussel farms of Lake Butrint, we made our way to the archaeological site of Butrint. The site was particularly pleasant in the mild September sun, as we strolled through a lush forest interspersed with ruins dating primarily from the Hellenistic through Byzantine eras. Most of the site’s famous mosaics are covered with a protective layer of sand, but we were able to view mosaics of the Roman baths and the Byzantine basilica. The walls of the site are particularly intriguing and reflect the various cultures represented at this site, from the ashlar masonry of the Hellenistic era to the concrete and brick walls of Roman Butrint.
After departing, we made a stop at Lëkurësi Castle, built by the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent in the 16th century. This reconstructed castle, which incorporates part of a Byzantine church, offers a spectacular view of the port town of Sarandë below. We then hastened back to the ship so that we could sail to our evening destination, Porto Palermo Castle, built by Ali Pasha of Tepelena in the early 1800s. This fascinating tyrant built castles and fortresses throughout his holdings in what is now Albania and northwestern Greece. At Porto Palermo, wine and hors d’oeuvres accompanied by traditional Albanian music created the perfect setting for a stunning Albanian sunset, with Sea Cloud anchored in the bay below.
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