Albania. May 2018. Day2

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May 19th 2018
Published: May 19th 2018
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Albania. 2018 Day 2
71km 1000m ascent.

Good breakfast at the Hotel Austria in Tirana with bacon and egg, continental breakfast of ham ,cheese etc and croissants, cakes etc, mango juice and coffee. Everything you need for a good start. Luckily the weather was fine and little cloud and warm enough for shirt and shorts. We followed the guide’s van out of town and then followed the planned route up the mountain to our coffee stop at half way. The lunch was almost at the top, by which time the temperature was hitting the 20’s and the views on the ascent were magnificent. Lunch was salad and chips with Creme fraische (I think) and for the meat we had spit roasted goat. Quite nice, once the eyes were taken out. A little more climbing and past an old lady goat herder before a beautiful descent into Elbasan around sweeping hairpins and a large valley below with a monstrously wide river bed down the centre. Skirting Elbasan and it’s industrial heritage we followed the river upstream towards Librazhd with men fishing with rods on the fast flowing river and men making small round haystacks with pitch forks. A surprise was to see a pile of hay walking along the railway track with a man some distance behind. I thought it could have been an old lady under it but it turned out to be a donkey going quietly about its business in the afternoon heat. On the descent to the valley we saw an old man on a donkey and a much older lady behind bent double and with knarled hands through previous hard labour. The poor lass gave a hearty laugh when she saw me photograph them as they went steadily down a stony track to the side.
The Hotel Ballkan came into view by the riverside where fishermen were still at it and people drinking beer under the shade of a Bravo Tea canopy. A shower, laundry exercises, phone on charge and there we go. When is dinner? I am starving.

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