Yesterday I left Tirana and my friends to head out on my own again. If felt very strange since I had gotten used to having Julius and Millou by my side. But I was also inspired to continue on and wanted to see what more Albania had to offer.
The ride out of Tirana center was as it was getting in, a bit crazy. But I got out without a scratch and it was a nice feeling to be out on smaller roads cycling through villages. The road was decent, but at times it got really bad with holes in the asphalt. But I have gotten used to the roads here in Albania and as long as I pay attention and keep an eye in my rearview mirror I’m fine. After reaching the cost I continued on south. I had the wind in my back the whole way which hasn’t happened in a long time and stuck to a bigger road. It started to get a little late so took a look at the mat for some a suitable village to stop in. I turn off the main road only to be stopped by a man who told me not to go that way and after listening to some Albanian, Italian and sigh language I got the message that the road was really bad or it wasn’t possible to continue on that one to where I was going. So I continue on and set my sight on a little village a bit longer down the road. I was on the big road a bit too long since the sun was going down and I didn’t feel safe on that road. But finally I turned off towards Bubullime. Before Millou was the one who took initiative and talked to the locals for a place to set up our tents. But now it was only me and I had never asked people to camp in their gardens before. I had learned just enough Albanese to get my message through. The first place I got a no, but then I talked to some men by the side of the road. After a little while they got what I wanted and suggested I would go to the village center and maybe set up my tent next to the school. Another man came by on bicycle and the others flagged him down and told him to show me the way. He showed me to the center and showed me a place behind a kiosk. I was dark and It was good enough even if it was a little too central for my taste.
When I was setting up my tent more and more people came to watch and I think there were maybe eight men watching me pitch the tent. But I didn’t finish it until Mehmeti(the man who showed me the way) came back and told me to pack up the tent. He took me to his house and after his daughter translated I got that he wanted me to sleep at his place. It was a very small place with two rooms a tiny kitchen without running water and a toilet with stone floor and a hole in it. We were able to speak a little with our translator. At dinner I was served a plate with a massive portion of rise, meat and cheese. And too drink I got a glass of water, a glass of cola and a glass of warm milk. Only I and Mehmeti ate in the living room while the rest of the family was in the kitchen. It was a great meal and I slept very well in one of the couches that they folded out to a bed in the living room.
Today I have cycled to Vlore and will be continuing for a little while longer. But no longer than Orikum because after there it will be a climb over the mountains and I need some more time and energy for that.