Published: October 27th 2008October 26th 2008
SCULPTURE ON TOP OF CASTLE WITH ALBANIAN FLAG
At dinner last night I was told by the waiter that i have to move back my watch tonight before going to bed, daylight sdavings time occurs on last weekend of october. So i have extra hour of sleep.
Woke up had my quick breakfast and said my goodbyes to Cathy and Keith and off i went to the bus station. Found the bus for Saranda quite easily, the driver simply asked me Saranda? and I said yeah he took my backpack and put it under the carriage. Half an hour later we left. It stops every so often to towns even on the road to pick passengers up or unload them. It took us almost 6 1/2 hours to get to Saranda, fell asleep and when i woke up I saw this beautiful scenery of mountains and colorful foliage of the trees below it along the river banks, very pretty. Then it started to go up in the mountains, hair pin turns, quite scary at times and dizzying, no wonder the co driver was handing plastic bags to the passengers, vomit bags they are! Reminds me of Laos... I was quite nauseous myself We stopped briefly at Gjirokaster then
3RD CENTURY BC THEATRE
moved on again on same type of roads.
Arriving in Saranda at the bus station, Andrei a kind gentleman who happens to be an English teacher owns a hotel called "Gjika" he convinced me to stay in his place, cable TV, a/c, hot water etc. for 15 Euros a night so I took it, but his hotelis up the hill I was thinking more of next to the waterfront but i felt bad so i went with him anyway he showed me my room it has a balcony and terrific view of the sea, Corfu right in front of me as I step outside the balcony, I paid him in Euros and he was going to ge my lunch ready, fried fish and things he said. Gave him 100 Euros and after I showered there was a knock on the door, his wife and daughter brought lunch over and it looks delicious, but the problem was they gave me only 55 Euros back, i thought some misunderstanding here they may be charging me 3 nights or 30 Euros for 2 nights and 15 euros for lunch which is quite expensive, the lady does not speak good English and so
GREAT BASILICA 6TH CENTURY AD, MOSAIC HIDDEN BENEATH THE SANDS
was the daghter they took the change back and promised Anrei will talk to me and clear things later. Had my lunch chilled out and decided to go for a walk, cant find Andrei, wife said he is out probably trying to entice backpackers coming from Tirane at the bus station..
Nothing really much here in this town, looks deserted, hardly anybody but the locals and all concrete buildings, net to the waterfront. Cathy was right, hardly any vegetation apart from a few trees, the waterfront is nice but nothing special.Came back at the hotel with Andrei announcing he had 2 other travelers in the hotel and that they will join me to Butrint the next day, i discussed with him the bill but is going nowhere so i gave up and let him have 15 Euros from for lunch, quite hefty but will never have him cook again for me, he was a nice guy in the beginning now quite annoying, he keeps calling me Mister, Mister... I have a name...and keeps tapping on my chest i dont know why.
Yhe next morning got up early, started to trickle a bit hopefully wont be a steady rain,
GREAT BASILICA 6TH CENTURY AD
had breakfast of sausages and eggs, not bad.. No sign of the other travellers but I left after breakfast not waiting around ang went down to the info booth but no bus, this is 8AM, i went to a travel agent above the internet cafe, and so happens the lady bus conductor was also waiting for her bus, she motioned that I follow her, true enough in seconds the bus appears, and off we go, 100 dibdobs one way,24 kms to the ruins it says on the sign we past. The driver keeps honking his horns,quite annoying, i can understand it since the road is windy and narrow and bends every quite often, so that the incoming vehicle knows he is coming, but even to his friends down the street, he does it, stop! And the lady conductor is nosiy herself at the top of her voice she converses with the local passengers, this time of the morning I am cranky! A little peace and quiet would be nice.
Last stop is the ruins, Bought my 700dibdobs ticket and slowly made my way through a trail I was the only one there yay! I have the ruins to myself!
MOSAIC BURIED UNDER THE SANDS IN THE 6TH CENTURY BAPTISTERY
Started cloudy and by the time i get to the theatre the sun was peeking already, had a blast taking loads of photos, no people to be in the way, quite impressive these ruins, how old they are? ranges from 3rd century BC to 19th century AD, like the brochure says it is a microcosm of Mediterranean history representing in all its phases of development the rise and fall of the great empires that dominated the region, What we see today is an amalgam of monuments representing a span of over 2,000 years from Hellenistic temple buildings to the Ottoman defences. What is impressive to me are the Theatre, the Basilica, the Baptistery that has some gorgeous mosaics which according to the museum proprietor when i asked, the mosaics are buried under at least 3 feet of sand to protect from the elements, just saw the photos in the museum, and the ancient walls ,the huge carved stones resembling those of the Incas in Bolivia and Peru. 2 hours later i am through and took the 11am bus to Saranda this time taking only half an hour, getting here took 1 hour!
Walked around town, had a fabulous lunch
3RD CENTURY BC THEATRE
of fish at a local restaurant and then tried to get to the museum of Archaeology but is closed until 3pm so will have to wait, nothing much to see in town, checked the bus sched for Gjirokaster and I will leave first thing tomorrow.
There are more photos below