Sunday 2016/05/01

From Peshkopia to Kukës


In the morning we decide to cancel the planned tour from south to north through the Parku Kombëtar Lurë to Fushë Lurë. We ride on a minor road directly to the north which turns into off-road route, on which I dare the first time a intended small drift on the motorcycle. All the super pros out there will be laughing at such a beginner! I do not care!

The first intended drift of my life on the motorcycle.

Since we have already done 2/3 of the distance to Kukës around noon and so far the announced rain hasn't started yet, we decide to ride a off-road trail, listed in Markus' motorcycle guidebook. I do enter the route with Basecamp on my MacBook on the motorcycle seat. This is how route planning looks today.

The track is not easy. I'm going to sweat again. It's a pretty stony and rocky path up the mountain. Soon it gets chilly and we're approaching snow. 

The trip to the mountains ends in the snow.

Up here it is very lonely again. We see snow and suddenly in a shady bend on a steep slope, the snow is over the entire path. We might be able to support each other through this snowfield, but we do not know if we have to expect more from it. In addition, the weather is increasingly deteriorating. Lots of clouds. We decide to turn around because we do not necessarily have to go this way.

So we ride back and it starts to rain a few drops. It is not very far to Kukës and we head to the Amerika Hotel, that we had sorted out before. A good choice. Since it is still early and the weather is not bad, we decide to leave our panniers in the garage of the hotel and head to the other side of the trail, which we could not ride and had to break because of the snow field. Let's see how far we can go from the other side.

The route into the valley to Shishtavec is well paved. The road stops there. We are just considering what we should do in the main square and when we were addressed by some locals. A slightly older man invites us to a cafe. A younger man translates the invitation into English. Spontaneously, we decide to accept the invitation. The weather is getting worse and we already had our daily off-road track, so we do not necessarily have to go further.

It is depressing to see that the young people here don't have a perspective for their life.

Unfortunately, we can not communicate directly with the older gentleman, but luckily our "interpreter" came to the café with his friend and we all were invited by our host to the table. We get a café and water and talk as well as we can with our new friends. They are all very friendly. This is how we experience the people in Albania all over. Our interpreter says that the son of the elderly gentleman works in Hamburg. Our interpreter himself was also on asylum in Germany, with the entire family, as he tells us, and has recently returned. His family has not bought any new animals yet, but there is nothing to do up here except farming. It is depressing to see how the young people here don't have any perspective for their life. They often speak good English and seem to be well educated. They know quite a lot about the world through their mobile phones and smartphones. Abroad, they have no legal perspective, it is not a political asylum they seek there, it is "just" an economic motive that makes them try to go abroad at all. Who can blame them? What kind of perspective is offered to them here in their own country?

What kind of perspective is offered to young people here in their own country?

We say goodbye to our new friends with a photo of all of us and I make friend with our interpreter and his friend on Fadebook, and promise to send them the photos later. This will give me as many likes for the post of the photo on Facebook, as I've got for no other contribution. Most of my friends' friends sit around the whole day, in front of cafes, or they take care of their animals and do not have much else to do than to exchange messages on their mobile phones. Well, these too are side effects of globalization with its trend towards networking anywhere, anytime.

On the way back we get into heavy rain. Well, we know that it is not that far to Kukes and to the hotel and that the road is in very good condition. So we can take a warm shower soon and enjoy the delicious food in the restaurant of Hotel America. The service is very attentive and persuades us to eat so much that we almost burst and after the obligatory raki we have a digestive walk in the village. Not too much to see here, but we are merely concerned about some exercise, otherwise we probably can't not sleep with our filled up stomachs. But it starts to rain again and so we flee to our room.