Monday 2016/05/02

From Kukes to Bajram Curr


At breakfast we decide to continue today to Bajram Curr, whereby we do not take a route further north - which probably is off-road for the most part - because of the weather forecasts - actually rain is predicted.

The route that we ride is reported in the motorbike tour guide of Markus as very nice as we ourselves can confirm. In many curves we ride along south of the Fierza reservoir.

Markus rides ahead and at one point proposes a "short cut" that will give us some offroad track today. How can he know that his choice is one of the mudiest routes here? With his bike, he gets along pretty well with it, but with my GS I'm not feeling comfortable and drop it once. Except for a loosened mirror, nothing happened and I am very proud that I already got up the bike again when Markus returns to help. Of course I'm a bit stupid when getting up the bike. I dropped down to the right side and forget - before setting up - to unfold the kickstand on the left side. Weill, the more proud I can be. I sit up on the bike from the right side, just holding it with my right hand - and I did this with the topcase on the bike! Try to sit up on your bike this way even if it's not slippery!

For the first time one of us is lying in the dirt.

Back on asphalt, I tell Markus to ride ahead and that we meet in Fierze. I'm much slower on this curvy road and in the rain as Markus. Also I have to fix the mirror on my bike first. The rest of the ride to Fierze is partly in heavy rain.

In Fierze I spot Markus' bike in front of a café, but I decide to refuel first, because I probably have not enough gas for the ride to the Valbona Valley, which we have planned today. But the gas station has only diesel, no gas. Hmmmh. I already know that from Morocco. Not the best memory!

So let's have a coffee and ride to the ferry dock to see when and how the ferries are running at the moment. From a young Italian/Belgian couple we talked to at the restaurant the night before, we learned that the ferries should run regularly, but of course we need to know the schedule for the next day. We want to take a ferry across the Koman Lake.

There are plenty of ferries at the ferry landing. 3 ferries in total, 2 smaller ones and a pretty big one. Somewhere I read that the ferry service was only resumed in 2015, but I do not believe it, with this rush of ferries here. The ferries, however, usually start from the beginning of May.

Of course, we find a ticket salesman at the ferry landing site. We ask if and when the ferry leaves tomorrow. He pretends that the ferry does not run every day, but then sells us a ticket for the next day for 25 euros per person and motorcycle. We pay in Lek, he wants 6000 Lek from us. Seems a pretty good rate, which I can verify later when entering the amount into our bookkeeping. I only paid about 43 Euros.

Knowing that we will be able to catch the ferry at 1pm the next day, we now want to head to the Valbona Valley to find accommodation for the night. On the way, there are some petrol stations, but these too only offer diesel Fortunately, we finally find gas station in Baijram Curr that also have gas on stock. Here are again petrol stations in the usual density for Albania - means every few hundred meters.

Unfortunately it starts to rain again on the ride up the valley. We do not really get much to see from Valbona Valley. We find a guest house run by a family. The son of the family welcomes us with pretty good English. In the best room, probably the only heated room, the TV is running and there is an elderly woman visiting. Our hosts apologize for their goat smell of the woman after she has left. Honestly, this is our least problem, we do not smell so well in our clothes. And some smell does not really harm.

Unfortunately, I have not asked, if there is a Wifi. Unfortunately, Wifi does not work (probably never), and also my SIM card for Albania has no reception here, and our host's mobile phone does not want to connect to the internet either.

That's bad, because I have news on my mobile phone about some short-term work necessary and I can't do that without Wifi. Crap! So I have to ride back out the valley, there might be a hostel, which has a better Wifi. With our host I clarify that it is ok for him, if we move to a place with Wifi. OK. So we put on all the stuff again and ride back the valley to ask at the hostel for Wifi. The receptionist in the hostel does not seem very bright and it turns out slowly that they probably do not have wifi too. Well, then we have to go back to Baijram Curr, where there are hotels that hopefully offer Wifi.

We ride back to Baijram Curr In the rain. Somehow my satnav is confused and we therefore don't find the desired hotel. Finally we find a hotel, although not the desired. It is quite simple and costs 10 Euros per night and person breakfast included.

In the hotel room, the wifi does not work very well, but in the restaurant/café, which is a large hall - probably used for the celebration of weddings - it is fine and so I can finally care about my work. For dinner we get delicious prepared local trout. Again, a totally delicious meal prepared by a chain smoking chef, who is just sitting at a table in the restaurant the whole time. If you imagine a guy with a chef's hat and a white apron, you are completely wrong!