Our first two days in Skopje were fantastic. Excellent food, good bars and cafes to work. We even got to know Ardita, a private investigator lady who was the sister of the girl sitting next to us on the bus.

However, any plan to enjoy the country and the city halted when we realized Martin had lost his Canadian Passport.

This is what we did:

First, we contacted the General Consulate of Canada in Skopje. We reach this number 389 (2) 3225-630.

However, they work from 9:00 to 15:00 from Monday to Friday. If they don’t pick the phone up, you can collect call to Canada +1 613 996 8885.

After that, they will give you the option of an Emergency Passport or a traditional one. The difference is that Emergency passports reach faster but have to be used to travel back to Canada. We requested the traditional one.

You need to fill out a form available on the Government website. Some of the required information includes data of your former passport, a certification of Canadian Citizenship and a Canadian ID.

Martin showed a soft copy of his Canadian birth certificate for the Canadian Citizenship document proof. However, Canadian born abroad citizens can provide one of the following documents:

  • Certificate of registration of birth abroad
  • Certificate of naturalization
  • Certificate of retention of Canadian citizenship
  • Certificate of Canadian citizenship

Martin showed his valid driving license by Quebec for the document that supports identity. However, you can also present any Canadian Federal or Provincial ID or local ID from abroad that includes the following: Name, date of birth, photo and signature. 

Canadian authorities may enquire you about how you lost your document. My recommendation is to go with the local police officer first. Since we did this, we saved time in the explanation because the North Macedonian Police gave us a lost passport report. Canada takes the identification of its citizens seriously; furthermore, any reported lost passport will become invalid after being informed to the authorities.

The consulate informed us that it could take 20 business days to replace the document; however, Martin’s passport arrived earlier. I believe we were lucky. I had a few more calls with James Punjabi during that time and we even met Toma. I’ll share the whole story with you in the next few days.

As you know, I am a graphic designer that lives online/offline life as a digital nomad. So I don’t earn millions and I travel on a budget to travel more. Being in Albania for a week with Ida, we visited many good places that didn’t cost us zillions of leks.

 

Here are our favourites:

Restaurant Gjakova

Located in Blloku, Tirana, this restaurant is dedicated to meat-lovers (even though you can find many vegetarian options). Prices are so cheap that you can spend CAD 20 and eat, have dessert, drink and repeat. 

My recommendation is the lamb (the best of Albania) and the Cesar salad! Best Cesar I have eaten in years. Check their Facebook Page here.

Tymi 

Tymi is a local family-oriented restaurant that evades a relaxed atmosphere with a friendly staff. Its focus is on Albanian cuisine as well as meat. However, it is vegan and gluten-free friendly.

My recommendations here are the fried Kakavall cheese, the Spinach salad and the kofta. The place is located in the 21 Dhjetori neighbourhood in Tirana. Check their full menu here.

Bar Restaurant Bio

This Restobar has the healthiest food in Albania and incredible drinks to have a nice dinner. To be honest, we came here three times. One for drinking only and two more for eating only since for Ida didn’t make any sense to have a healthy salad with an Albanian beer on the other hand. A place for balance. You won’t believe the prices of this place. You can have a perfect time with only CAD 15.

Momento

We arrived at this Southern Italian Café by accident and we decided to give it a chance. The people of the Italian peninsula and Albania had a lot of history (Roman Empire, Venetian Republic, Regno d’Italia) and thus there is a lot of Italian influence. Many people speak and understand Italian here; I could say that they are more fluent in Italian than English. 

Momento comprises quality Southern Italian dishes, but what I liked the most was the coffee. Momento’s espresso transported me to my days in Rome.

Zgara Supreme 2

This place combines Greek and Albanian cuisine. It is the cheapest restaurant I visited in Tirana. You should check it out if you like big portions for fair prices. If you are vegan or even vegetarian, there are a few options for you here. The quality of the food is good. My favourite dish was the grilled lamb (you have to eat lamb all over Albania, it is their specialty).

Check their Facebook page here.

Bar hopping is one of my favourite activities when I travel. But as I am getting older, I cannot do it every time. In my first years travelling, I was able to drink three or four days a week, but now I am drinking almost once a month, so I have to choose wisely the special occasion.

Read about the bars’ culture before joining in an adventure

For example, I did bar hopping on a Wednesday night and was ok. Just a few people trying to get drunk. But if I had to do this on the weekend, the result would have been different. I probably had to call to book a table or space in the bar in advance (probably not in Rome, because everyone fits in small spaces even with the pandemic).

Make sure no one is driving

It sounds ridiculous, but my friend Jessica wanted to do bar-hopping with a bike. Another friend tried to take us to a different neighbourhood in his car. When people are drinking, they tend to lose common sense.

Drink water

Every time you jump to a new place, ask for a cup of water (and drink it!). Tap water is complimentary in Rome and in most places. Doing this won’t get you tipsy, but you will take care of your neurons and liver.

Stay in a place if you like it

Sometimes bar-hopping is done in such a rush that we don’t remember to enjoy being present. If there is something that you fancy, ask your friends to stay for another round. This could be a song, a live performance, a person you met, or a drink you want to try. There is no fun being in a hurry.

Keep your important documents at home

Most bars accept driver licenses or local IDs to check your legal drinking age (though they seldom check), which is 18. Don’t take your passport to a bar-hopping, NEVER! If you lose it, it would be challenging to find it back, just keep with you a photocopy or a high quality photo on your mobile.

Be mindful about the money

My problem is that when I drink, I lose all inhibitions, including how to use my savings or credit card. I discovered that paying with cash is not that bad. This allows you to extract your budget in advance and restrain yourself when the money has come to a limit. If you don’t like this strategy, you can transfer some money to a current account you don’t use frequently and bring its debit card to the party. Avoid carrying your credit card to bar-hopping with friends. It will save you from paying interest for a long time.