Curious what backpackers do in Albania? Discover travel destinations all over the world of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.
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Travelers in Albania

  • j.k.adventures
    A Tough One 6d
    Traveled in 7 countries
  • Jemi y Flo
    Tirana, Albanien 4w
    Traveled in 7 countries
  • Lena M.
    Grenze AL/MK 5w
    Traveled in 15 countries
  • Travel AW
    Gjirokastra 5w
    Traveled in 22 countries

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  • German Version:

    First of all: Albania was a tough one.

    A few kilometers behind the border between Montenegro and Albania lies the city of Shokdra. Already on the way there I felt like in another world. On the street, horses gallop and there are tons of garbage in the streets where street dogs looking for food. To my delight, however, I was no longer the only cyclist. In Albania the bicycle is a much used means of transport and transportation.

    As a first stop I had a campsite in Shokdra.
    I am often approached by other campers where the trip goes and get invited for a coffee or lunch. Also at this campsite, where I was invited by a German couple. I am very happy about the interest and the company.

    Already in the days before I felt not fit at all. That's why I took a two-day break to get me out and plan my next route.

    When I started my trip, I thought I just start without major route planning. But now, route planning has become an important component for me. Especially when the weather is bad or the legs do not have the power, the stage destination is often my last motivation to continue riding. In addition, I feel most comfortable in the mountains, which requires more planning regarding food storage and weather.

    After two days of recovery I felt much better and started again. My route led to the village of Koman, which is surrounded by mountains at a lake, from where I took a ferry the next morning. On the way to Koman, a cyclist from England overtook me. Peter was on the road with a 16-person cycling group, which also had the ferry as their destination. We talked and rode the last piece together to Koman. For his middle 60 he was in a very good shape and hung me up in the climbs every time. To my defense, I must say the travel group was supported by a luggage transport :).
    With a few beers we let the evening end and I was glad about the good company.

    The next day we went early to the ferry, because this only leaves once a day. After a three-hour drive through a sensational landscape, our paths separated and I took the road to Kukes, the next major city in the east of Albania.

    When I was on my own again, my mood was Not good at all. It just makes more fun to ride together. A short time later, I was also hunted by two shepherd dogs. From then on, the pepperspray was always handy on the handlebars, only for safety. Throughout Albania, several more "dog attacks" followed. They never bite after me, but always came dangerously close to me. It seemed to me that the four-legged animals had been looking for people on two wheels.

    From Kukes I took a gravel road up a mountain to the Kosovan border. I had problems with navigation because there were ways that were not on the map. So I needed longer than expected and arrived at the border in the late afternoon. Then the shock followed. The border officer could not let me pass because he does not have a stamp for the passport and the border crossing is only for border residents. The frontier officer was really nice and called his manager. But nothing could be done, I had to turn back. It was already late and started to rain, so I pitched the tent a short time later.

    The next morning it was raining heavily and it lasted for the next two days. I cycled to the south of Albania and thence to Ohrid Lake in Macedonia, with the hope of better weather. The rain and the cold were exhausting, but I was lucky and the sun was shining in Macedonia for two days. I really needed that.

    In retrospect, I must say: Even if Albania was a hard one, the hardships were definitely worth it. Albania has a breathtaking landscape and people are extremely helpful and open minded.

    Your Janosch

    Ps. The boy on the last picture I met in a small mountain village. The air must have been out of his tires for a long time. We pumped it up and he followed me a few meters. Unfortunately, the air was soon out again. He's probably driving better on rims than on pumped tires :).
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  • After we found the right bus (no easy feat), we made our way to Tirana. The hostel was easy to find from the bus stop and we enjoyed our private room instead of the usual dorm.
    The owner of the hostel is awesome and we organized a trek to one of the local caves with him (and his awesome dog).
    We also went to the weird abandoned pyramid building which was amazing.

  • Almost as soon as we crossed the border into Albania, every second car was a Mercedes of some variety... Apparently, many Italians moved to Albania over the last 60 years and a Mercedes was a way to show others your status. There are also a huge number that are stolen and find a second home in Albania (they definitely wouldn't stand out from the crowd).

    The other thing you notice is that everyone and their dog start up car washes on the side of the road; regardless of whether you're in a city, town, or along the highway. They spray water into the air to entice drivers to stop at their establishment.

    We stayed in the capital city of Tirana at a hotel.. Our last hotel night of the trip! This was definitely the best of the hotels we stayed in (it helped that I got a room to myself and didn't have any roommates): queen-sized bed, huge shower with rain feature, spacious, pool views, and great AC! The only downside was the wedding celebration going on in the pool patio area until the wee hours.

    We got into town in the early afternoon and spent some time exploring the city before heading to the hotel.
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  • A must see as a part of a trip, especially if you are religious. I'm not, but I enjoyed it a lot. We took a walk around the place and even found a couple of minutes to jump in the lake, even though it was not as hot as we hoped. The water was amazing.