Tirana cafe life

The Scottish Archipelago of St. Kilda, Peranakan heritage in Singapore, Bali without tourists, and riding a Citi Bike across the USA.

TIRANA - I’m now in Albania, which is the third country I’ve been to this month (and second new country). There are many countries crammed into this corner of Europe, but I will save the rest for another visit.

I arrived in Tirana having done no research about the city. I wanted to arrive without any expectations, and so far I am happy with my decision to spend the rest of the month here. I can now catch up on blog posts of my travels through the Balkans. I even bought a jacket, so I am ready for outdoor cafe life in Tirana.

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COVID-19 and travel

My inter-Balkan travels have been straightforward with a vaccination certificate. It helps that I have been using small land borders without any queues. I’m now looking at travel options to Southeast Asia or Australia for the end of the year, which will require pre-flight testing and possible quarantine time. Thailand is looking at a November 1 reopening for some countries without quarantine, so that could be an option.

S'pore to allow quarantine-free travel to 9 more countries, including US, UK

International travel after COVID-19: The future of airlines, airports and travel overseas

Assorted travel reads

Agony and Ecstasy on the Scottish Archipelago of St. Kilda

“The 85-mile boat ride through rough seas left some of us huddling in discomfort. But the scenery on the remote and windswept islands was otherworldly.”

I used to live in St. Kilda in Melbourne, so I’ve always said that I would travel to the original St. Kilda one day.

In Asia, a gilded history lies hidden in plain sight

“Singapore holds vibrant signs of Peranakan heritage for those curious enough to look.”

Citi Bike: Far from home

“An interview with Jeffrey Tanenhaus, who in 2015 rented a Citi Bike in NYC and rode it across the US in search of adventure and a new start.”

Bali without tourists: once-bustling hotspots now eerie and overgrown – a photo essay

Historic Komodo, images of a conservation struggle

“Archive photos of a 1956 excursion to Komodo island tell a story of man’s changing relationship to the famed dragons of Indonesia, whose millions of years on Earth could be brought to an end by climate change and human encroachment.”

Wes Anderson shapes classic carriage for cinematic journeys

“Filmmaker Wes Anderson has helped redesign a 1950s British Pullman train carriage for luxury travel company Belmond.”

There is an Instagram account called @accidentallywesanderson, which features photos of places that could have been in a Wes Anderson film. This train though is forrealwesanderson.

Berlin could create the biggest car-free urban area in the world

How France turned the humble roundabout into a showcase for art

I went to the outback to find disappearing Chinese-Australian stories

Two Singapore Airlines A380s towed along public road to be scrapped at Changi Exhibition Centre

The ‘Orient Express’ is a real train — and taking a ride is not cheap

This, and more Europe rail news and stories can be found on my Europe Rail Newsletter. Subscribe here.

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The Nomadic Notes Travel Newsletter is a weekly newsletter of the best travel reads and interesting travel news from around the web, and random ramblings by the editor.

- James Clark