We were up before 6am to make a quick escape from the farm! Our departure was overseen by both the farmer and his wife. They half heartedly asked if we wanted coffee, but the coffee Pat had been given yesterday was awful so we simply left with a smile and thanks. We are truly disappointed by our one opportunity to spent a night with an Albanian family. The atmosphere and situation was uncomfortable and frankly unwelcoming.
We walked a kilometre to a small cafe where we acquired water, coffee and biscuits. Fortified, we walked onward into a heavy rain. The mud here is very sticky when wet. It gathers onto boots creating heavy pontoons beneath our feet. Very slippery and difficult to walk with boots so encumbered. Besides heavily rainimg, it is also very windy so our ponchos whip around us, billowing and flapping like unruly sails. It’s hard to see where our muddy boots are stepping. The path is frequently indistinct and getting Gypsy (GPS) out from under the dripping wet flapping billowing sail of a poncho is epic… Yet I need both poles to keep my footing in the slippery mud so I can’t walk holding Gypsy in my hand. We make steady wet progress and when the rain lets up, we enjoy glorious views into valleys on both side of a high ridge we have climbed and are walking along.
We make great time and by 9:30 are at our planned lunch stop! We find a tiny shop and buy a loaf of delicious fresh bread, two tomatoes and cheese. The owner clears a small table and finds chairs and sets us up in a dry spot to eat our meal. He then produces two glasses, water, more tomatoes, two apples, and a knife – this is the Albanian Hospitality we have come to appreciate! We enjoy our late breakfast and when we try to pay for the extra supplies we are waved away with a smile.
We arrived at very odd Hotel Odessa during a brief moment of sunshine so quickly washed clothes and hung them on our rather grand balcony above the front door. Rain returned before things dried so our room looks like a Chinese laundry. (I’ve never seen a Chinese laundry) We’ve had beer on our balcony, now wine and a very nice dinner. It’s time to turn in on this our last night in Albania.
The above picture is a section of the “original” Via Egnatia.