Day 43 – Shkoder to Tirana
I wasn’t sure if breakfast was included and Mikel never said tuck in, so I had a few nuts while everyone tucked into the breakfast prepared before I took off back into the manic city of Shkoder. Before heading out, I picked up a loaf of bread from the bakery. I cycle through the rural landscape of Albania, some parts of it were quite dilapidated, but it was an interesting contrast from other regions of the tour. I cycled till around midday when the stopped at a petrol station for a drink and some cold air. I must have fallen asleep briefly because when I woke the guys were apparently feeling very sorry for and paid for my drink! I was quite taken back but showed what amazing generosity you get from people.
I cycled on through the afternoon and again into a city, this time the city of Tirana, again completely mental. To make things worse, the road I was meant to take was closed, so had to take a diversion, only to find the diversion wasn’t shown so took about three different routes then came back on myself before getting it right. I wanted to get out of the city, and up into the hills before sunset, I did not want to be here when it got dark. When I finally got out, I cycled into the hills and onto the quiet roads. It used to be the main route to the next city before the recent motorway was built, so there were lots of hotels and cafes.
I stopped at a restaurant that looked very empty. The guy didn’t speak a word of English so communicating with him proved quite difficult however thanks to google translate I managed to ask him for a traditional Albanian meal, completely unaware of what I was going to get. I have to admit when I saw it I thought this was the moment when I thought I would probably get food poisoning!! The food looked ok, but after my episode in Kenya, I am a little wary. I ate it all and felt ok, I said goodbye and went in search of a spot to camp. Rather than carrying on down the hill, I wanted to see the sun go down, so I cycled back from where I came from a few miles, watched it go down and found camping spot nearby on top of the hill.