I said goodbye to Ulli and Andy when we reached our destination 3 hours after we set off, and I went on to Bajram Curri and they went south – (to conserve funds – the ferry was far more expensive for the van than for my bicycle - €45 more! Which they hadn’t expected – so they needed to go find an ATM). We got on so well, so quickly – I know we’ll meet again – In fact I invited them to Devon (as they plan to drive around the South West and Wales some time next year) – or I’ll visit them in Cologne. I also chatted briefly to a couple of cycle tourists who were returning on the ferry I just arrived on – continuing North. They passed me on some Macedonian Monopoly money which was really kind of them. I’m meeting more and more cycle tourers now – which is great. Except I’m usually so tired when I do meet them, that when they ask obvious questions like “Where have you been?” my mind goes blank and I can’t remember – where HAVE I just come from? That’s a little bit scary, isn’t it? But I think it’s just a result of sensory overload. I take a step backwards and focus and, oh yes, I was in Koman this morning – by which time the cycle tourists have moved onto another topic anyway.
Everyone either returns to the ferry for the backward journey, or drives off. I am left all alone with a stray dog looking hopefully at me. I set off for Bajram Curri (pronounced Bai-ram Tsuri) on the bicycle – past the town of Fierze. I go slowly but no idea how slowly as my bicycle computer is not working. I had no idea how much I relied on this for entertainment until it died– letting me know how far I’ve come, how far I’ve got to go, how fast I’m going etc.
About two miles from destination, it starts working again – just as I’m passing a statue which has to date from communist times – a soldier looking valiant and hefting a rifle (which I don’t think is related). I have no idea why it started working again. Maybe I need to try a new battery anyway. I stop off at the first hotel I come to – no shopping around! - and pay 2,500lek for a room with no air conditioning and no insect screens. Good shower – so I wash my small amount of dirty clothing while I wash myself. Walk up into town to get some cash from the ATM there – I don’t know how safe this would feel as there are many men out and about, and hardly any women – but the presence of two policemen on the street is reassuring.