After staying at our Warmshowers host in Montenegro, it was time for us to continue to our next country: Albania. We were very curious about this country since we heard very little about it. All we can say is that we were positively surprised, the people were very friendly, the food was very cheap and you could charge your E-bike literally everywhere! Many people smiled, waved, honk and support you while passing by, it was a very different experience after the road-rage we saw in Croatia. The locals we met, were also good with the stray dogs and give them food. Also Huub & Liska had some luck, many times when we ate at some local restaurant, they got some left-over food from the kitchen.
The first two days in Albania, we stayed at the Green Garden Hostel in Skhodr, which provided free camping for cyclists. Here we met some Dutch & German Cyclists, had a meal together and went to an open-mic night. Also, the dogs had a good time with their new friend Tia, the hostel dog. We stayed a little longer because of Gijs's 25th Birthday and we spoke to our family (which had been a while ago) on Skype. Although the connection was a little bit slow, it was very nice to talk with them again!
After our stay at the Hostel, we continued to the Capital of Albania, Tirana. Our plan was to do a Paragliding Course in Albania and we wanted to arrange accommodation for this in Tirana. Unfortunately, we couldn't arrange any proper accommodation, so after being long in doubt, we decided to hit the road again.
The next day, our plan was to cycle to the Lake of Ohrid and take a short-cut through a tunnel. After cycling into the tunnel, suddenly a car drove behind us and ordered us to stop. It was the Highway Police, they said it was too dangerous to cycle further into the tunnel and that it was not allowed. Luckily, they were very friendly, we put the bikes in the back of the truck and they drove us to the end of the tunnel. After some firm handshakes and of course a photograph it was time to continue our journey.
After about 60 kilometers, we had to stop due to heavy rainfall. We found shelter in a nearby restaurant, drank an espresso and waited for the rain to stop which it, unfortunately, didn't. Luckily, Albanians are very hospitable. The son's owner invited us to camp on top of the restaurant, showed us around town and we had some coffee & cake. The next day after a firm handshake, some photos and of course a shot of Rakia, it was time to hit the road again.
The nature in Albania is really stunning and rougher than in the countries we've been before. The mountains around you feel mighty and there is enough wildlife to spot. Many locals are willing to help and we felt very welcome in this beautiful country. Albania, thank you for the great time!