Friday 2016/05/06

From Voskopoja via Durrës to Shkodra


The breakfast in Voskopoja is great. Since the sun is already warming, I can have breakfast in the garden and get richly served by the hosts. Delicious!

But I'm getting up soon, because today I still have miles to go. After settling the bill, I mention that I am still in contact with one of the daughter of the house, who is currently in Germany for an internship. I invited her to visit us in Hamburg. Her father then gives me a small plastic bottle, water, as I suppose. Very nice, because it will be a warm day.

I decide to rice into Korça first, as I've read about the city that it has to be pretty nice. It also leads a long wide avenue through the entire city. Very nice, but somehow no café, where I want to have a break, catches my eye. Therefore I ride on to Pogradec after a small city tour.

There I am looking for a cafe on the lake promenade. I definitely need some caffeine, as there was only tea for breakfast. In 2013 we just rode through here and spent the night on the Macedonian side of Lake Ohrid in Ohrid.

From the café I watch an excited bunch of old men in a small park in front of the beach, where they sit and stand and play chess, dominoes and whatsoever. It is strange that one finds this kind of gatherings in parks of many countries. In Germany, on the other hand, you will never see this.

After having a coffee, I ride on along the west shore of Lake Ohrid, until the highway eventually leads away to the west. There are still some beautiful views here, but seeing the sunset over Lake Ohrid from Ohrid as we did in 2013 will probably be the more memorable experience.

My lunch break is in Elbasan. I really liked Elbasan on our first visit. In a bakery I buy some cookies and then sit down at one of the many cafes on the main street and enjoy the sun.

In a roundabout shortly after Elbasan I see 3 motorcyclists from Germany, in the direction in which I ride spontaneously. My navigation system has indicated a different direction, but the road signs to Tirana showed this way. I catch up with the others quickly and take over. I would like to take a coffe with them, if there is a café somewhere, but suddenly it rings in my helmet. Markus is calling. We agreed that he would just ring once and then I would call back what I do now - while riding. He has made it to the ferry and a reunion in the evening in Shkodra is possible. As soon as we have finished our call, the other motorcyclists turn off to the south, whereas I am on the way to Durres.

The decision to take this route rather than the Elbasan route straight north towards Tirana turns out to be the right one, because it rains heavily in the mountains east of me. In addition, I do not need to pass through Tirana on this route, but ride around it.

It also rains heavily over Kruja, which I pass in the plain from distance. Fortunately, I only get a few drops. Since I arrive pretty early in the vicinity of Shkodra, I turn off towards Koman to ride towards Markus. Shortly before Koman Lake, I meet Markus. The team is reunited.

We head to Shkodra, where we stay this time at the hotel The Red Bricks, as the Kaduku is fully booked. The rooms at The Red Bricks are very good, but no breakfast is included, just a few things in the fridge that you can eat for breakfast.

For dinner we are back in the Vila Bekteshi, almost something like our regular restaurant. Of course we have to tell each other about our days spent alone. Of course, the Markus can contribute more stories, from the trip with 3 young Albanians to a doctor who has worked in Switzerland before and who treats him for free, the waiting and treatment rooms, the syringe he's gettig, and of course the friendliness of the people of the hotel, who took care of him.

Markus' back has already improved a lot, but still far from being really good. Nevertheless, we decide to take the offroad track to Theth the next day.