It’s very hot out there (having missed my window of opportunity to get up and go early this morning) and my laundry dried out almost as soon as the sun got up. I have decided not to move until gone 2pm when there might be some patches of shade. I have about 5 miles of ‘up’ to look forward to, but then down, down in remote Albania.
By about 2.30-3pmish, it’s actually quite cool with stormy clouds on the horizon so I start the long push. I stopped feeling sick fairly quickly after breakfast. The 5 miles takes AGES and just as the view starts getting really spectacular – Mount Korab is the highest peak in Albania and is in this mountain range – it starts getting dark so I can’t see it well. (Good sunset though).
Despite this being a predominantly Muslim country, music is still enjoyed (thankfully) and all afternoon I have heard someone’s party sounds echoing up the valley – traditional music which is really rather fine.
In a café, I talk to another ‘local’ expat – living in England since he was 14yrs old, having moved there with his parents. He comes here every year for 3 weeks - but says he doesn’t really know that many people. He has his own business back in Blighty – in the Construction Industry – and says he works really hard. He had had an English girlfriend but now has a wife from around here. Another FB friend made!
A cycle tourist zooms in and pays respect to my laden bicycle- his set up being much lighter. He is on holiday from his native Poland and touring around the Balkans and off to Macedonia next. He made cycling up the hill (that I’d been walking up, pushing Rowenna) look relatively effort free, damn him and his youth and energy!
It’s almost totally dark by the time I get to a small village called Vleshe, and I’ve not had much luck finding anywhere to camp so far. I spot several blokes having a beer in a café so I ask them if they know of anywhere. They invite me for a beer, ask the usual questions and tell me I can camp in the grounds of the empty house next door – where the gate can be shut to keep the dogs out, they say. I’ve not had any problems with dogs so far, though I hear them barking often – but I take their word for it. I am tucked up in my tent by 10pm, which is fabulous.