Friday, 5 December 2014

Day 155-156: Albanian kindness

 Common sight - unfinished building everywhere. 

 A random dude who took many shots of me with his phone, probably never seen cycle tourer before... then followed me till the end of the village.
Is this used to scare humans too?

 Most of the day I'm on road like these

 It was tough going through such terrain...

 hmm thinking of grabbing one for Christmas

 My home for the night before.

I was pushing my bike along the alleys of the residential area when a lady who spoke English asked if I needed help. I explained that I was looking for a place for a night and she said her brother has a place nearby and started calling him to make arrangement. His brother then came to pick me up and we walked to his place, picking his wife Lilli up from work along the way. They speak little English but Lilli is a seamstress and he is a mechanical engineer, possibly retired. They asked if I have had dinner and I shyly said no... and... ta-dah Lilli served up her homemade legume soup with salad and bread. There was power cut several times in the night so I actually had 'candle light' dinner.. very romantica! The breakfast next morning was delicious too with a spread of sausages, eggs, bread, fresh orange juices from their garden, coffee, cheese, variety of jams and I especially like their fig jam... a pity I don't have a picture. 

 Orange tree. They've got lemon, orange and mandarin trees in the garden. 

Thank you Vangjel and Lilli for treating me like a daughter. And thanks for the bag of mandarins for me to take on the road.


A UNESCO world heritage site, a town of thousand windows

 River Osum & Gorica bridge


 Probably one of the best preserved Ottoman cities in the Balkans


Coming from a construction background, I was trying hard not to judge

 Byrek... can't get enough of them

 Strong coffee culture... cafes everywhere

 I followed the aroma and drifted to this place... I watched how much the locals were paying and bought myself a bag too... it was oh so good. 

 Shoe shine service

How is it possible to make a living off this? Or did they do it to pass time?


 This wasn't my original route. But local advised me that the road I wanted to take was not good and remembering the bad road I experienced yesterday, I decided to make a big detour. Who knows it wasn't any better... especially when it started to drizzle.

 ooo wonder where / when I'll find a place to clean this off.

 It was dark when I rode into a small village and couldn't find anywhere to sleep. I carried on and realised I was riding uphill in pitch black... got chased by a dog who sounds like he was ready to chew me into pieces (I could only hear him barking close to my pedal) and was glad he got bored and backed off. I finally stopped outside a small village and a man approached me. He spoke no English so I gestured if there's anywhere to sleep... he said theres no hotels nearby and I said no no I only needed shelter and could sleep on the floor. The next I know, my bike got carried up a cafe for storage... they urged me to go in the cafe, sat me beside the fireplace (I was drenched from the rain) and offered me hot tea. I was told to wait and thought I was going to sleep where my bike was stored upstairs but got shoved into the cafe owner's car and got taken to his house in the village I passed previously where I met his family. And so the first man who approached me was the elder brother and the man who took me home was the third brother and our English translators made of many of their niece and nephews. His wife gave me clean clothes to change before I joined them for dinner and left a radiator right next to me... I only found out later that they didn't want me to sleep on the cafe floor as it was too cold. I was speechless.. I was merely a complete stranger and they took care of me like a family.

 Papa Ardian and family

 with little Eri and mummy Elmira

with lovely Sara

04 Dec 14: 72.39km [Cloudy]
05 Dec 14: 68.18km [Part Rain]

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