Monday, April 27, 2009

Charles weilding a sword at the Skenderbeg memorial in Lezhne

Today we shifted out of the safety of Tirana and took a rental car into the countryside, supposedly on our way to Shkodra in the north although teh nice young lady at the hotel suggested we might want to go to Kruja and then east towards the border with Macedonia. Having decided on this route, we left the main road up north and immeditely got blocked for about twenty minutes in the nearest town. Leaving the town there were no signposts just major potholes in the road. We were learning very soon that getting around outside of the capital was not so easy. We eventually found the main road and decided to go back to our original plan for Shkodra.

First stop, a so-called pleasant fishing village, which turned out to be the saddest most lifeless fishing vilage I have ever seen. Big new apartment blocks on the grey sandy beach and a few boats behind a security fence.

Second stop, Lezhne, the birthplace of the national hero Skenderbeg, who beat the Ottomans in about 17 battles in the early 15th century. A charming small town, where we had a delicious fish lunch and walked around in the hot sunshine as well as visiting his monument, which was earlier a church and then a mosque and is now a museum.

Later on the clouds would come over, but not before the roads cleared up and the countryside became a lot prettier (but not really THAT pretty) and we ended up in Shkodra where we are spending the night. Lots of old buildings here, what Tirana might have looked like had it not become the capital and attracted fascist and communist architects in turn.

Tomorrow we will try to reach Thethi in the mountains and we will see how far we get. Still enjoying Albania although we had our doubts earlier on today. A nice place for us to visit, but not necessarily a place to recommend to too many people... Nice people though, always nice people...

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