One many seen each day.
Albania 2018. Day 5
Korçë to a hut somewhere in the desert the south of Erseke. 70km. 1200 ascent.
Last nights meal was very good and followed a similar pattern to previous nights. Did I mention the cheese in previous blogs. No? Well there was lots of it. And do you know what I am intolerant too? Yes, you have guessed it - CHEESE. However, the red wine was good
and I am looking forward to my feather pillow.
Breakfast was a good mixture of eggs, sausage, cold meats and loads of cakes, which put Michael into extacy. The first few kilometres out of town was a gentle climb on a dirt road under upgrade. There were the usual sights of donkeys grazing at the roadside complete with their heavy wooden saddled, which they never seem to take off - poor beasts. It never ceases to amaze me that I see groups of men doing a big lot of nothing in the daytime, often outside a bar. No work to do? At lunchtime we saw a group of tourists who have been at every hotel that we have all week. We are being STALKED. I must confront this girl who
is most prominent in the group and she can get her a place in this blog. The group she is with were speaking English so I suspect that some are perhaps German. The coffee break was at a nice Swiss type chalet after some vicious climbing and descending on some rough roads, which tested my legs somewhat. I am just glad I have plenty of gears.
Lunch was had in Erseke and guess what, no cheese, that is odd you ignore the dip we had with the bread. The chicken soup was good and the plate of mixed food, rice beans, roast veg and meatballs. The roads were of mixed quality after this and part of the road had disappeared on one hair pin descent due to flooding. I had to zip up my top on the descents, not because of temperature drop but to save my chest from being pebble dashed with House Martin food. There were two steepish climbs, one of which was near the finish and went zigzagging up into the forest for kilometre after kilometre. During the day we heard the Cuckoo for the third day running and encountered many House Martins zooming around us. At
the hotel in Pogradec we had house martins nesting on our balcony and they were flying in and out with food for chicks, almost too fast to photograph.
After arriving at our Farma Sotira cabin destination we were sat having a drink and the youthful Albanian Minister for Tourism and the Environment came to speak to us. He asked how we liked Albania and our thoughts on the accommodation we had been to and took a genuine interest in our group. One of his men then took a photo of all out group with him. The sun was still out so the laundry was hung on the fence by the meadow in a very tranquil setting before dinner and darkness falls. Whilst this drying was going on I spent some time reading the very humorous book by Thomas Stevens ’ Around the World on a Pennyfarthing’, which he undertook in 1885 - brave man. He didn’t travel through Albania but traversed a little north of us in Bulgaria with very amusing accounts of the people he met along the way. However, I left it in the table outside and although it didn’t rain the dew was rather heavy and by
morning it had grown considerably in thickness. I suppose it will give me more to read on future days. The evening meal was good again finishing with chips and a lovely trout on lettuce from their own ponds I presume, which are teaming with fish. Flushed down with locally produced red wine, of course. Did we say the red wine was good? The minister of Tourism thought so too.
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