Sarandë to Butrint, Albania

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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About the Author

Rebecca Ingram


A research associate with the Institute of Nautical Archaeology (INA), Rebecca Ingram has studied ancient Mediterranean seafaring and trade since 2000. She earned her M.A. (2005) and Ph.D. (2013) through the Nautical Archaeology Program at Texas A&M University.

About the Photographer

José Calvo

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Nicknamed “Indio” (Indian) because of his powers of observation and quiet nature, José has almost two decades of experience working as a naturalist and photography guide; as well as being recognized as an expert birder and nature photographer in Costa Rica. Costa Rica is rich in biodiversity — over 893 bird species have been recorded in the country. Since very young José spent all of his free time in the outdoors in the forest, where he soon fell in love with the birds. He particularly enjoys listening to their calls, and watching their behavior. Oddly enough, another one of Jose’s passions is science and technology, and because of this, he was among the first in Costa Rica to experiment with digital photography. As the technology quickly improved so did his love for it.  He truly believes that nature photography is the perfect combination of both of his passions.

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