Thursday, 8 November 2007

Pilgrimage from Muriljani to Guri I Zi 05/11/07

Bars in Albania are the first things to open of a day and this one was no exception. At 5:45 we were woken by the owner coming to start business…well, woken for the second time anyway, at 5am we got our first Islamic wake-up call with the wailing of the mosque :)

The walk towards Shkroda was great. Many more friendly faces, offers for lifts and of course, more bunkers.

The sight on getting to the outskirts of Shkoder was wild! Thank God we didn’t attempt this last night, even in broad daylight it was something. Poverty as seen from the window of a taxi or the safety of a hotel room is one thing. Walking through it at eye level is quite something else. And still the people were nothing but smiles…

Before we even reached the center of town a young guy by the name of Edward offered to buy us a drink. Albanians are such incredibly generous people. It is amazing!

There were signs advertising the Grand Europa Hotel the whole way here and since this would be our last meal together for a while Steph and I thought we might as well do it in style. Steph is planning on taking the bus to Tirana for a couple of days rest.

And it was great! Even here in a 5* hotel we only paid €8 for a spaghetti and a greek salad, with a complimentary Champagne and appetizer!!! I’d never seen anything like it!!!

Then after seeing Steph safely away, it was back to the road. I had a great walk around the foothills with the locals stopping to chat constantly.

The sun started to set and it wasn’t long before I received an invite to stay for the night. Kole had lived in England for six years and spoke perfect English. A really entertaining guy.

His wife and daughter cooked up a huge meal of roast pork and Kole pulled out a 1.5L bottle of his homemade wine. What a great night! By midnight we were on to our second 1.5L of wine, his son had pulled out his DJ equipment, and I’m sure much to the distress of the neighbors, started blearing out dance music through a 550W speaker. He had four of them so I suppose they should think themselves lucky he had only hooked up one ;)

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