Sunday, July 19, 2015

albania

Albania was a dream. It went from semi scary to really scary to being the most beautiful part of our trip.

After reading online horror stories about Albanian roads, Matt and I somehow got to the conclusion that driving through the whole country is what our little group needs to do. And I'm happy we did. From the scariest border crossing of the trip coming over from Greece and encountering a dead dog on the road right after that, it could only go uphill from there. Literally. On Albanian mountain roads. Our destination was the little city of Ksamil in the southern corner of Albania, directly across the Greek island of Corfu. Such a beautiful place with the friendliest people we ever met on our trip, even if we needed Google Translate to communicate with them. We spent the whole time there eating the cheapest sea food you can ever find and swimming in the clear water of the Mediterranian. I've never really been a laying on the beach kind of tourist, but damn that was nice. And probably the only reason why the guys were still sane after all these rollercoaster roads. At least studying for finals didn't seem nearly as stressful after that. :D

Speaking of driving, the only information we could find was from 2007 or so, which made us think that nobody had survived after that. In reality, there's actually quite a bit of improvement, that is, new wider highways. The only thing is, though, that they are not connected to each other that good, which means you still need to go through a lot of mountain roads. That also goes for big trucks and buses which makes it even more "fun". Staying in your own lane is a good idea but sadly not always enough to keep yourself from getting killed. Just plan time and nerves for the drive and try not to hit a donkey.

On our way back up, towards the end, we sort of accidentally drove into the city of Elbasan and decided to stop there for as long as we could stand the 40-degree heat. The city is full of colourful and pretty houses. It's also more on the touristy route, I think, which made it the only place where we ever saw postcards or souvenirs for sale.

So yea. First thing we see in Albania? A dead dog. The last thing we see? A puddle of blood on the road and some guys field dressing a cow. :D
But there were a lot of beautiful places and people inbetween those, even made us regret spending so much of our limited time in Greece. But that's how it's like with those places, you never know how it'll be.

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