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Albanie-Gjirokastra

ALBANIA

"To run after time is to flutter to grasp the unspeakable."

Kheira Chakgold

Due to the validity of some documents related to Lucky, we have to cross Albania in just 1 week. However, this did not prevent us from noticing the kindness of the Albanians. To our great regret, we were not able to discover the mountainous and wilder part of the country which, it seems, is magnificent. 

 

Traveling around the country, we are surprised by the lack of reflection in terms of Urbanism. Towns or villages never seem to end and it is not easy to know where they begin. It is also surprising to see how much wealth rubs shoulders with poverty. It is not uncommon to see “luxury” hotels built directly next to slums. We see very quickly that this country is not yet developed for tourism.

Vanlife voyage

The Happy Westys

One day, in Himarë, we are parked in a small car park by the sea while a torrential rain is falling. Next to us, a small, easily recognizable mustard yellow VW T2 is parked. As the rain subsides, we decide to get out of the van to enjoy an incredible view of a full double rainbow. That's when we came face to face with the Happy Westys, Guillaume and Laura, who greeted us with big waves of the hand as if we had known each other forever. As a good Swiss, this surprises us somewhat, but their good humor and jovial character immediately make us want to know them.

 

We exchange two words and we are not long in inviting them to drink tea with us, because the cold is felt. The current passes very quickly and the tea turns into supper. The next morning, we are sad to see them leave so quickly.

 

They are doing pretty much the same route as us. Chance will therefore make us meet again in Greece and then in Bulgaria and will allow us to spend more time together.

There are clearly some favorite encounters while traveling and the one with the Happy Westys is very clearly one of them.

Stop for a moment

The weather in Albania isn't great, but in the end it's not that bad. We take this opportunity to land and breathe. It is also an opportunity to appreciate the framework in which we are.  Between two showers, we will walk in particular in the region of Vlora and enjoy the view of the sea and discover some of the many bunkers built along the coast.

Albanie
Albania.girokaster.009.jpg

Gjirokaster

Gjirokastër is in the Drin Valley. This city has a beautiful historic center and a magnificent fortified citadel overlooking it. 

 

The citadel, fortified in the 5th century, then reinforced by the Ottomans in the 12th century, is truly superb and offers a magnificent view of the city, the valley and the surrounding mountains.

 

The historic center is a fine example of Ottoman vernacular constructions from the 17th century. There are beautiful two-storey buildings with, on the ground floor, shops with their beautiful wooden windows and, upstairs, homes. The set is really well preserved, a little too well perhaps, which gives it a very artificial side. It is a real pleasure to stroll there even if you quickly realize that the life of the city does not take place between these walls, but in the more contemporary and less well maintained districts which are lower down.

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