Albania May 2018

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Europe » Albania
May 18th 2018
Published: May 19th 2018
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Albania. May 2018 Intro.

A pity we have to fly everywhere to speed up the start of worldwide cycling holidays. Apart from the carbon footprint I am leaving They start with a long journey to the airport, going through security, being searched and stroked with a sensitive wand for drugs, standing in front of a robot with feet apart, more waiting, more flying, airport transfers, more security more flying, more robots and eventually getting to the first accommodation maybe a day later. Hurray, there at last. Unpack the bike and rebuild it from the 100 pieces, that it was broken down into to get it in the box, and we are now ready for another great experience to see another world, which is often an eye opener and a culture shock.
Time to meet the rest of the group and an brief induction. Usually there are familiar faces along with some new ones, some on their first tour, which is usually the first of many once they find the joy of cycling with new friends in a strange land.
This trip was no exception with big delays getting to T1 at Manchester due to infrastructure changes which are dragging in and causing severe delays for traffic. Why can’t they work shifts and get on with it? Perhaps it is Carillion doing the work? 1 man working and 5 watching.
After long delays in security at Manchester, Tirana was reached on time to be collected by our Albanian guide for the 45 minute transfer to the hotel. It started to rain as we approached Tirana and was quite humid but we went down to the underground garage and rebuilt our bikes before a clean up and rest before beer and eating time. I must say that as a normally non beer drinker the Corca beer is very good, but also was the red wine at dinner. Sounds like an alcoholic in the making doesn’t it? The meal overall was quite good tonight, did I forget to mention that the red wine was good? We had one small plate and knife and fork with an array of large dishes with food arriving in the centre of the table. The faggots were very good with salad and the necessary olives, of course. Unfortunately for me, being lactose intolerant, there was a preponderance of cheese products and a dish which was the consistency and

Hotel Austria
look of Polycell wallpaper paste. After everyone mentioned that it may be an Albanian delicacy but it tasted insipid and strange, our guide said that it was made from bread and milk etc allowed to ferment over winter. Enough said. The finale was something like teething rusks with a cheesy paste and strawberries on top - quite nice. Did I mention the red wine was getting better by the glass?
Early to bed at 9.30 to catch up on the early start this morning. Nice room and good bed and pillow. Heaven.

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