Albania 2018. Day 3
Last night we had a meal outside by the river, which was very pleasant. It started with a good mixed salad with pickled gherkins and ended with chicken and very nice tagliatelle pasta. Whilst the chicken was tasty I think it was a scraggy thing,or they took off the bulk of the meat befor chopping it into pieces, giving us bone with a little meat on. Very tasty all the same, regardless of the calories consumed in finding the meat. Did I say the red wine was good?
The Ballkan Hotel this morning served up a good breakfast with the usual cold meats, boiled egg, cheese, cucumber etc plus pieces of cooked batter upon which we put on sweet jams of fig, quince and cherry. A really nice change. A good start to the day.
The weather is sunny again and forecast to be 25 degrees with
thunderstorm at 1pm. Rain jackets at the ready then. We are raring to go. Before 9am we were bounding along by the River Schkumbini towards its source up in the hills. The scenery was interesting as yesterday, and we saw many small scale farmers shaking out their hay and
making small round hay stacks. We even saw some rectangular hay bales after lunch. Four ladies were also seen weeding a large cultivated field whilst the man was spraying something from a backpack. After some steady climbing we stopped for coffee and a banana. Following this we continued steadily before starting a serious climb, with a head wind, which I had to climb in a bottom gear of 26:32. I wished I had taken 2 bananas to. However, when we reached the top we were held up by the policia for well over an hour due to a cycle race coming the other way passing in very little time. We could have got down way before they came but we were powerless to move. I can only say that I was glad the thunderstorm did not materialise or we would have been drenched in little time. At the foot of the climb we went into a little village of Lin to the left of the main road. The lunch was one of the best ever, starting with salad and cheese and extras arriving every few minutes of chips and a plate full of fish giving about three small fish each
- delicious. A short walk around the ancient village sitting alongside the lake was taken afterwards in the brilliant weather. We saw about 6 sheep perched on some rocks on the steep hillside behind the houses searching for some delicacy and we were amazed how they were staying on without falling. Today we continued to see old people tending goats and riding little donkeys, or just sitting, or standing, by the roadside in their black clothing. The last leg alongside the lake to Pogradec was on a brand new road with wonderfully smooth tarmac for 15km - heaven. This must get busy during the weekdays as it has several pedestrian underpasses. This stretch also saw quite a lot of live fish sellers with the fish in tanks freshly caught and young lads holding them up to advertise them. The road was still under construction near the town and became a bit bumpy and a few pot holes, but not as frequent as those seen in Lancashire ( a third world county somewhere in northern England). After a race with a local youth alongside the lake in town, John Ashwell lead us to the Millenium Hotel by 4.15pm were we took
our room overlooking the lake. A shower, laundry duties, and my stomach thinks my throat’s been cut. Dinner anyone?
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