An Interview with Dritan Kolgjini (guide extraordinaire)

One of the best recommendations for Dritan (or Tani, as he’s known to friends) is the fact that he didn’t even question my – totally bizarre – request to answer these questions, AND took time out from a busy working schedule to do it! I didn’t edit or influence this at ALL – so this is 100% genuine. I KNEW I liked him!

Name: Dritan KOLGJINI

Age: 29

Where from: Tirana, Albania

Where grew up: Tirana, Ankara, Istanbul, Sofia

Languages: English, Turkish, Italian, and basic French, German, Bulgarian

What’s your favorite book?
Foreign books probably David Copperfield by Charles Dickens, Chess Story by Stefan Zweig, mainly because they got me into literature and reading. Albanian books The Highland Lute by Gjergj Fishta, Live to tell by Zef Pllumi

What’s your favorite movie?
Se7en by David Finch, The Shining by Stanley Kubrick

What did you study in school?
History, mainly Albania during Ottoman and Communist eras.

If you could have any job in the future, what would it be?
I can only see myself involved with tourism, hospitality & services in Albania for the moment, otherwise I like music, so something related to that would be fit for me.

What do you enjoy showing people (as a guide)?
I like to give a clear picture of how things have reached to the current stage in the lands, also most important to me, is to teach visitor basic words for them to interact as much as possible with the local community.

What do you hope to contribute to “tourism” in Albania?
My biggest hope is that my working style is a good example to everyone that I come across with; other guides, drivers, receptionists, different suppliers, anyone really. My greatest contribution of tourism surely is and will be the support of the local community to the furthest extent!

What is one itinerary or activity that you’ve never seen anyone do, that you would like to show people?
I have some trails that I have tailored myself like The Hana Trail, Three Villages Around Jezerca, and The Tough Peaks of the Balkans. These trails usually focus in accommodation like huts, remote villages, or camping.

What is your favorite place to go?  Can you write a couple of sentences as if you were convincing someone to go there?
Probably would be Curraj I Eperm village. Just to think people have settled there since centuries and the next closest village to it is 4 hours walking distance on a mule trail. More than 250 houses of stone, which are fallen to ruins now, and no electricity. When someone goes to Curraj I Eperm, it really feels like travelling back through time, while experiencing beauty of nature, and hospitality of the people like nowhere else in Albania.

What is your favorite guesthouse?
I probably have a favorite guesthouse for each village on Peaks of the Balkans trail, but my favorite guesthouse award will have to go to Ndue Mitri’s Guesthouse in Curraj I Eperm Village. Everything about it just too beautiful, the middle-aged couple who hosts the guest, the old lady of the house who spends her time in the front yard, the food, the location, the accommodation, even the fancy looking Spitz that runs around the house all day, I just love it all.

I really like Carshia e Jupave in Gjakove, they have an interesting style of mixing between the old traditional and modern gastronomy.