One Can But Enjoy Albania
WHEN YOU WAKE up and your legs are just as frozen as the water in the bottles, there’s only one thing that can save the day: warm milk delivered to your tent door.
ALBANIA / DAY 16: FUSHË-KRUJË – ÇERMË-PROSHK, 19/02/15
My night was terrible. And so was Luca’s, just one tent away.
I did take precautions to avoid cooling down after cycling: had a warm meal, snuggled up in my sleeping bag, drank beer (OK the latter served another purpose). Yet my legs would not warm up properly. Even through two sleeping bags and a dry bag (that I stuffed my legs in—this is what being a mermaid must feel like), the cold snook into my bones. Naturally, my insulation mat fails me: 3 millimeters of foam just don’t do the job when the ground is slightly freezing.
Luca and I could not be in a worse morning mood when little Ernik (the farmer’s boy) shows up with a pot of warm milk and two glasses! „Latte“, he says passionately in his best Italian, not knowing he just saved two lives—or at least our day. Stirring instant coffee into the milk and sipping comfortably, this day is off to a good start.
Before we tear down our camp, I quickly boil the four eggs we were given yesterday by the very same farmers, and off we go.
After a hundred meters, we already take our first break—fast in this case. Fresh hard eggs, yoghurt, bread, meat, cheese, peanut butter. Living like the kings man!
Since we are still insecure about cycling highways, we avoid them until Durrës. Along the small roads, people say hello and ask where we are going. All the time. Everybody seems really willing to help. You never know whether they only want to help though.
I take my first dip in the sea on Feb 19 in Durrës. It’s a sand beach and the water does not get deeper than knee-level even after dozens of meters. The “Baywatch“ photos look authentic anyway.
Beer Is A Problem-Solver
Until Kavajë, the riding goes really smooth on little roads along the highway. Luca’s idea to stop at a bar and have a beer before we look for a place for the night turns out to save us a lot of trouble:
First we simply order a beer.
Then we realize there’s free wifi (deprived of the internet, we sincerely appreciate this virtual good).
Hence we ask whether we can pitch our tents in the restaurant’s garden, which we are permitted.
Afterwards, the restaurant boss who in personal union is also the village policeman, tells us we can sleep in his house.
Alas we order a feast—fresh fish, salad, bread, beer, lemonade.
And for all of this we pay 2300 lek, which is 8,50€ per person.
One can but enjoy Albania!
Spending The Night With A Puppy
Our enthusiasm is slightly damped by the host’s remote relative who is apparently the only english speaker present. We have the pleasure of sitting with him the whole evening listening to his mostly ignorant and partly antisemitic conspiracy theories.
What really rewards us for our patience though is the little puppy who awaits us in our dormitory: Loopy is a playful companion and an incredibly cute one. He ends up spending the night inside Luca’s sleeping bag.