Albania

We met another cyclist in Tirana who said entering Albania into Shkodra from Montenegro was a shock. We came from the other side of the country and by the time we got to Shkodra it was entirely blissful. Albania is probably the poorest country we’ve visited on this trip and we entered into Korce, its poorest city. Korce also makes the best beer in Albania, I wonder if this is a coincidence.

The Albanian countryside is beautiful and you’d better enjoy it because many of the roads are so small it takes forever to get anywhere. It’s not anyone’s fault the roads are bad, a lot of the country is almost impassable and building a fast road between Korce and Sarande would be a major challenge even for Switzerland. When you’re cycling this is all a bonus. The cars can’t go fast and lorries are seldom.

When we got off the bus in shkodre we realised that we had left my green jacket and kathi’s towel on te bus and durin our pursuit of said bus, Kathi suddenly felt ill, dizzy and nauseated. She said the pain was in her lower stomach and getting worse so we went to visit the shkodra hospital. The hospital was extremely poor (no wonder, they didn’t ven charge us when we left!) with odd means of drawing blood and the tiniest glass vile Kathi had ever been given for a urine sample. Safe to say she was scared of having to undergo an operation and said that if that was the case, we would have to go back to vienna instead.

She was only diagnosed with a UTI and given some medication, and we spent the night in a hostel called “florian’s guest house”.

We loved Shkodra in the north, the castle takes your breath away and the hostel where you stay in the countryside with an Albanian family and the food and wine made from things grown in the garden is simply amazing. Tirana was a great place to relax from for a couple of days.

Kathi and I never felt threatened, scared or intimidated and we can’t wait to go back. The countryside is really special and there are some great things to do we didn’t know about before.

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A guy on a bike.

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Kathi’s favourite modelling pose.

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They love their flags.

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Told you!

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People hard at work in Tirana.

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The presidents house. He has three legs.

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Our favourite hostel in Albania.

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A chicken riding a chicken.

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East Albania. Can you spot Kathi?

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North Albania.

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South Albania.

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East Albania.

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Shkodra castle.

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Skopje to Sarande

This was probably the nicest part of the journey so far. There was hardly any traffic, plenty of lakes to swim in and we found the best wild camping spots so far. A few times we camped right at the edge of the lake and due to the 800m altitude no mosquitos!

The second night we were just about to go to sleep and two playful stray dogs came bounding up, they stayed outside the tent all night and the next day one of them followed us for 40km into Struga. The dog easily managed 14kph but struggled if we went faster so the journey took a while. On the way we found three more tiny stray puppies at a bus stop. It’s a shame you can’t help them all.

Ohrid town was really nice and well worth a visit if you go to Macedonia.

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Flooded church in Mavrovo lake.

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National park Mavrovo

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Kits

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Debar lake

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Camping by the lake

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Our dogs

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our dogs accompanying us to struga

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The centre of Ohrid

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Ohrid town

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Trying some tricks with the trailer.

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Our best camping spot so far.

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Morning swim in the lake.

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Monastery and springs at the south of lake Ohrid.

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Albanian transportation

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Bikes on the bus

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Albanian countryside.