lake ohrid and berat albania
lake ohrid and berat albania
Albania might not get on top of your respective list at this time but push it up there… The nation remains a virgin inside the detect that humans Haven‘t interfered in nature much. And it isn‘t as popular to tourists as its neigbours Greece and Montenegro. Individuals are still genuinely curious to speak with you and just know why you chose their country and therefore are happy to answer all of your questions. They don’t wish to sell you anything, not yet…And you aren‘t checked out like a walking dollar. Reminded me of what Bulgaria was when I‘d been we were young – no resorts or shiny hotels, many wild beaches and camp sites, in fact, really bad roads and poor infrastructure but people were much nicer to one another. The poorer, the nicer. A smaller amount to lose, a lot more to provide. So please, hurry up to discover perhaps one of the few unique places in Europe left…I provides it maximum 2 many all that could change. The large corporations would bring their cranes and excavators to “develop” the nation and thus people would realise that they might actually make money rather than being so nice.
I need to the north of Albania first, hitching a ride in Kosovo just until the border. As always I knew near nothing about the nation I‘d been getting to. Country #6 inside the Balkans, I didn´t do any research and hence had no expectations. Everyone who Isn‘t a traveller was telling me ”Be careful” or just “Don´t go ! ”. I believe movies like “Taken” could possibly be blamed to the bad fame Albania has. The reality at least my truth was quite the other. The foremost genuine and generous people I‘ve met givenfor my 3 months travels all around the Balkans (along side the Bosniaks ). The foremost incredible beaches and mountain rising up right next for them, huddling together just to provide you with more privacy. Albania took me by surprise big time ! I remember when my couchsurfing host in Uzice, Serbia told me her favourite country inside the Balkans was Albania, I said OOoook but type of smiling inside and doubting that that might be mine too.
Valbona was my first stop in Albania, directly in the heart from the ” Albanian Alps “. The region bordering Kosovo towards the northeast, and Montenegro towards the northwest, in combination using the adjacent district towards the west, is really a wild, high, mountainous area inhabited by strong and fiercely independent people, so it was eventually never really conquered or subdued by the different waves of invaders during the final 2, 000 many years of Balkan history. The village itself Isn‘t a legitimate village since it doesn‘t have any shop or any public institution and also the guesthouses are a number of km far from one another. But there‘s little question in regards to the beauty and just how isolated everything is from the remainder of the world.
Most travellers come here to carry out the well-known Thethi – Valbona hike, and that is 8h hike one way in one valley to a different. You always carry all of your belongings along with you which helps make the hike pretty difficult because the elevation is very big. But when you be able to arrive at Valbona you are able to relax and stay at villag house. What the majority of folks do, including myself is to bring a ferry ride on Komani lake.
It‘s a two-hour drive towards the ferry’s Fierzë terminus. When I state ferry I don’t really mean ferry though it‘s known by everyone this manner.. It’s more as a big boat however we did take a couple of big motorbikes on board. The boat tour costs only 5 from Koman to Fierze and 10 euros from Fierze to Koman. It‘s longer and much more scenic the way in which back simply since they go within the canyon and stop with a secluded beach where one can jump and swim. Elsewhere in Western World, this two-hour trip could be hopping with tourists, but Albania Isn‘t an enormous draw – in the meantime.
The ride is simply beautiful. I had no idea… The surface from the lake is perfectly still. The steep hills on each side and also the mountains beyond are empty of human life. There aren‘t any visible roads, no telephone wires to link this spot to the surface world. It is not difficult, to imagine you are drifting via a landscape which has lain undisturbed for centuries. After an hour or so straight into the ferry journey, the tree-lined hills give method to sheer limestone cliffs which gradually close in until it‘s like you‘ve got expired of lake. Just while you conclude you are heading straight straight into the side of the mountain, water opens up again and you also turn into your narrow passageway between two vertical walls of rock.
We arrived at 7pm in Koman. A lot of the passengers went directly to Shkoder inside a van organised from their hotels but I stayed in Koman. There‘s a cute campsite, called Natyre, right from the river that had very simple cabins for 5 euros. The owner from the ferry – Mario also stays inside the summer and nice to let me use his wifi. There have been many Campervans and Polish, French and Belgian families travelling all around the Balkans.
Next day the mission was to obtain to Pogradec, at lake Ohrid, at another side from the country. Since I‘d been going from a little village to a different small village, it made no sense to even enquire about buses. So hitch hiking It‘s ! It went all smooth and fast. I got rides from nice people, nobody spoke English however we still manged to obtain basic conversations (Italian helps quite plenty in Albania ). I caused it to be to Pogradec in 6 hours having a stop in Tirana.
I got dropped of right in front of my hostel in Pogradec. I‘d been prepared this point and experienced a flyer that picked inside my hostel in Prizren, Kosovo and also the driver insisted to bring me towards the hostel. Recently my hitch hiking experience has reached another level – it really works almost as a taxi, almost from door to door, no waiting in the least. One exception – It‘s free and also the drivers are often very nice : ). In case you ask me now how and why I picked Pogradec like a place to prevent in Albania, I would not have the ability to answer. But i‘m glad I made it happen. It‘s right at Lake Ohrid and it also may not be as beautiful as its Macedonian rival – Ohrid, which lays on another side from the lake, the town has something. I stayed in Lake Ohrid hostel, which designed to be owned by 3 expats that have a couple of hostels over Albania but now it was eventually given to the owners from the property. And that they were really nice and friendly. It‘s the only place in town which has a swimming pool.
It was eventually finished of Ramadan and givenfor my second day in the hostel I‘d been invited to possess lunch along side the entire family. It was eventually the standard lamb they always have after Ramadan, albeit they weren’t religious in the least. It was eventually very tasty and really nice of them to be able to invite me.
I took a bike coming from the hostel and visited Sveti Naum Monastery just over the border in Macedonia (very first-time crossing a border on the bike ).
I‘d been surprised just how many wedding parties I encounter just in Pogradec, It was eventually Sunday but nonetheless… I saw a minimum of five. Either upon the beach or inside the park, they had been all posing for their photo sessions. I never run into wedding parties in your own home so when I travel it happens so often. Sometimes I even get invited for them so I always carry an OK black dress that I could use on any occasion. After my short visit to Macedonia I realised I can´t just go without seeing a little more from the country (I´ve been there years back ). So next day I left Pogradec to visit Ohrid in Macedonia for each day or two (but in fact I stayed longer ).
BERAT – Town of the Thousand Windows
After my short visit in Macedonia, I came to Albania. I met some cool people in Ohrid, Macedonia so I extended my stay there. A few of them were heading the identical direction as me – Berat, Albania. But rather than travelling together we designed a bet who´s visiting get there first. Me hitch hiking or them (4 Slovenian guys and also a Kiwi guy ) by using the very ” efficient ” Albanian bus sytem. The end result : I won by 5 minutes.
Actually I ought to have won the race by hours but I made a decision to rest till 11 once the guys left at 8am. So all showered and fed, I‘d been already 3 hours behind when finally I hit an open road at 12h. I‘d been quite lucky using the rides (all together 9 ) inside the detect that never waited longer than 5 min but nobody took me for longer than 40km. As well as on surface of that, my last ride to Berta, was using the milkman. he stopped at each single shop in town to provide the milk. At this stage I already thought I had no chance and was about to reach buy beers for everybody (section of the prize the winning gets ) but surprise, surprise, nobody was there when I need to the hostel. All of them came 5 minutes later.
Berat´s most striking feature is that the collection of white Ottoman houses climbing in the hill to its castle, earning it it of ‘town of one thousand windows’. It‘s on possibilities of Unesco World Heritage sites.
We stayed in Berat Backpackers hostel that was filled with backpackers and had an excellent location inside the Old Quarter. I believe it is the only real hostel in town and that they accept volunteers – That They‘d a Kiwi guy volunteering at that time. Inside the late afternoon an enormous group of people headed to Kalaja, 14th century Christian citadel of ruins. The neighbourhood within the castle’s walls still lives and breathes and it is perched on the highest from the steep hill. Once we were approaching the highest from the hill, we began to comprehend the town’s nickname. It’s a twenty walk up a steep cobbled street though it‘s a high-light and well worth the sweat !
Next day me and my number of guys had another race : Saranda, the southernmost beach town in Albania. Again, they wanted to bring the bus and me and Glen (who turned out to become smarter compared to the others and decided to hitch me ) went by thumb. The beginning wasn´t very successful because we lost an hour or so upon the town bus visiting the incorrect end of town after which had to reach back and arrive at the other end. Who said that guys are better with directions?
Anyway, we got picked up by 9 different cars, by all ages and genders but one part of common – all nice and friendly. We even mad a beer stop inside a nice beach cafe in Vlore. Glen loved it so we caused it to be towards the hostel before another group. after that everybody was convinced that that´s the method to travel in Albania. And not just… Two from the Slovenia guys went hitch hiking all of the method to Istanbul. I´m so glad that I converted them : ) )
Aside from its obvious but still unspoiled beauty, Albania is among the few places in Europe that tourism remains undeveloped and other people just wanna speak with you and assist you in whichever they could with no ulterior thoughts. And hitchhiking is the simplest way to travel (I´ve converted so some people already ), unless you‘ve Albanian friends (having a car ) who know about the roads well. And I haven´t even mentioned the beaches yet…