Day two in the Balkans

Starting at 9 am, the second day of our holiday was different from the first. To start with, we had all had a full night’s sleep. Then, except for a brief look at the Kosovan town of Gjakova, we spent the day over in Albania.

Immediately the terrain changed as we drove on rough roads on tightly-winding routes overlooking picturesque gorges featuring tumbling rivers in  turn overlooked by “the accursed mountains” (the title of a book by Robert Carver). At various points, we slowed down for wandering cows or sheep or goats to clear the way. 

The highlight of the day was a ferry ride along most of the artificial Lake Koman in northern Albania.  Although the location is called a lake, it is actually a reservoir based on the River Drin which was constructed between 1979 and 1988. The Lake Koman ferry operates daily on the lake from Fierza to Koman in a fabulous journey that takes about two and a half hours.

The weather was ideal: warm and sunny with a light breeze. The turquoise water and the vertical canyons of craggy rock presented endless breathtaking views that just cried out to be photographed. 

It was late afternoon when, back on dry land, we stopped for some refreshment in the town of Shkoder. Interestingly, I visited this town in 2019 on a day trip from Montenegro which is a short distance to the north. 

We then headed south for the Albanian capital Tirana and, after some challenges, finally rolled up to our accommodation, Hotel Austria, at 8.10 pm, over 11 hours since we left our previous hotel.

The pace did not slacken. In no time at all, the group walked round to the Oda restaurant for another set-course dinner. This time it was pashaqofte soup, fresh salad, fried cheese and peppers, lima beans, dolima, casserole kosi, and two syrup-based deserts.  


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