Kosovo, why not drive past lake Ohrid on Albanian side, we thought - to add one more country to our roadtrip experience.
First thing we noticed when passing the Albanian border - was a man with a donkey on a walk... This was surely going to be a night to remember.
On Macedonian side, the roadside sellers have a spread of fruits out: Grapes, watermelons, peppers. On the Albanian side - there is onions and potatoes. And aquariums with fish... When looking at the landscape, we can see why. The Macedonian hills are covered with beautiful trees, flora and fauna. The Albanian side is much more rough. There is even a man walking by the roadside waving his catch of the day in his hand. I keep on wondering how fast can he sell it before it going off in the beating hot sun.
We spend the night in a roadside ”Kompleksi” which includes Hotel, restaurant and a swimming pool. The Hotel has seen its better days: the bedside tables have only two legs - we keep on wondering what happened to the other ones..? Is there a clan of Albanian tourists stealing bedside table legs..?
The swimming pool’s water does not tempt us to swim. The reception is completely abandoned and the Hotel manager is a large Albanian man sitting in the restaurant with a bowl of keys. He draws over my name in his list, which he has copied from Booking.com where I booked it two hours earlier.
The restaurant is surprisingly full of Albanians and we have to move indoors to get an overworked harrypotter look-a-like waiter to come and talk with us. His English is modest but he gets his message through:
”Let me explain to you some things:
You want meat or fish?
You want fries or salad?
You want half a littre or one littre of wine?”
We fast learn that the Albanians are straightforward and mind their own business. They pay very little attention the the tourists around. And they bring their kids to the restaurant at dinner time at 9pm-11pm just like everywhere in Southern Europe. Finnish kids going to bed at 1900-2000 would be a considered strange. I pay my bill half in Euros and half in Macedonian dinars, that’s all I have and there is no point in taking out LEKs - only 12hours in Albania and we are back off to North Macedonia and Greece.
To be fair, I would need to spend more time in Albania to be able to say anything, but still - it was a cultural experience.
/ Ajelulla Balkanilla päädyimme yöpymään Albanian puolella. Alun perin suunnitelmissa oli ajaa Durresiin, Adrian meren rannalle ja ajella sieltä sitten rantaa pitkin alas. Suunnitelma on huono jos sitä ei voi muuttaa on tämänkin retken motto. Siispä visiittimme Albaniaan jäi lyhykäiseksi. Yövyimme Ohrid-järven länsirannalla hotelliravintolakompleksissa, jossa meininki oli vähintäänkin mielenkiintoinen. Yöpöydistä oli kadonnut puolet jaloista, respa oli mies ravintolassa kulhollisen avaimia kanssa ja dinnerillä vaihtoehdot olivat suoraviivaisen yksinkertaiset:
- Haluatteko lihaa vai kalaa?
- Ranskalaisia vai salaattia?
- Litra vai puoli litraa viiniä?
Tienpientareella myytiin sipuleita, perunaa ja kalaa (akvaarioissa tai siimassa).