Albania – Day 4

We wake up to the sound of drills and I am a bit surprised with our surroundings. When we arrived at our new friend’s place it was already dark, and now with the morning light beating down on us we get a real sense of where we are.

We look over and notice the neighbor already up and working on his house, which is only the wooden frame.

“Good morning!” he greets us. I vaguely remember how he said last night that today was his birthday… and now, at 7 in the morning, he wants to start celebrating with a shot of plum alcohol.

“Oh no,” I tell Radek and Mrazik. “No way I am going to start drinking this early!” Luckily, I am a girl and I can refuse a drink. They, however can not, so they head over to say happy birthday and good bye. We start packing up and the wife of the man who invited us tells us she is making some breakfast. Great, I am already starving! By the time I finish packing breakfast is ready: eggs over easy with lots of salt, some nice fresh bread and that salty cheese we saw in the mountains! I loved it and ate it up. It did not sit so well with the boys, after their shot, so I finished theirs off too.

After we finish eating in their outside dining room, I can get a better picture of some of the animals we saw last night. This one is my favorite.

Yes, it is an eagle! It seems they were watching this pet for a friend!

We thank our unexpected hosts for the meal and hospitality and head off once more on our motorcycles. And today the plan is to make it to Albania! Finally, our goal! As we start to head for the Albanian border we pass through a National Park in Montenegro. Though it is dry season the swamps have not disappeared. Never in my life had I seen so much swamp land!

There weren’t many towns near the border of Albania, but there was no lack in scenery!

Finally, we reach the Albania border. Hurray! Now the challenge really starts as our Czech language is no longer of any use. At the border they speak English with no problem. Apparently we need to pay a motorcycle fee. Okay, no problem. We go to pay the fee. The man at the booth looks at us and says “Don’t worry about it, you can go”. Sweet. And we are off.

It seems the country side has immediately changed. We pass a very modern gas station (later we find out the last modern gas station we will see in a long time.

We take a left and decide to head up this road, not sure where it will take us. That is what the adventure is all about! All we need to know is that it will head into the mountains… and it did.

We see a small cafe, if you could call it even that, and decide to stop for a drink and figure out where we are.

The town is simply amazing. We are no longer on asphalt, and animals are just roaming around everywhere! There is a women dressed all in black (in this heat??), and I realize that I am truly in a different part of the world.

We go inside and order a cool drink. No diet cokes here! But they have some lemon soda, which I eagerly down. Mrazik’s lighter dies on him, and he is dying for a cigarette. “Do you think they have a lighter?” I told him I thought it unlikely, but he went to ask in hand gestures anyways. Turns out they had lighter that had a flash light and a clock! I bought one for myself as well. As unmodernized as this town was, they had more advanced lighters than you could find in Prague!

We pull out our map of Albania, trying to find out where we are. We ask some local people. Where are we? There was one guy who spoke some English, which was interesting. The men take a look on the map. None of them can point out where we are! Hey, no matter, we are on vacation. We thank them, and head down the dirt road. Soon we are hit by an amazing view!

We realize we can take a road down to the river bed…

But it is not where we are planning to go and we think our detour has been long enough already. So we head back…

We head deeper into Albania, passing almost no villages and every once in awhile coming to a big city. It seems there are no suburbs or villages, that most people either live in the city or out in the middle of nowhere. After 2 or 3 hours of riding we finally stop and a village where there is a coffee shop.

It is hot so we get some drinks. While we are sitting and chatting we see a pig and a piglet taking a walk to the water well. I thought it was just so cool, and the little piglet was adorable!

As we are sipping our drinks we notice a big group of about 10 hikers coming by… carrying with them a Czech flag! Turns out they are a group of Czechs planning to hike the same area we are going to cross by motorcycle. They couldn’t stop for long as they still had a long way to go. I was surprised to see a group of Czechs in Albania!

Soon we head off. The road is tough…

and there were tons of turns…

and I fell a lot! That is ok, that was the fun part. 😀 On this particular turn I ended up not making it sharp enough and jumping off a rock!

This is where I landed.

But I must say, all my scrapes and bruises were well worth it!

Especially when we made it to the top!

Now that we were at the peak we only had to make our way back down… that wouldn’t be hard, right?