poniedziałek, 14 września 2009
The main road from Vlore to the south to Sarande and further to Greece, goes through the Llogara pass at an altitude of 1,010 m above sea level. If we don’t have own car we can cover it by van or bus. The second option is definitely better. Vans travel fast, which can be advantageous, but not for those, who want to admire the beautiful views stretching beyond the window.
Let’s start from finding the bus. I have seen few bus stops in Vlore, but I couldn’t see any timetables there. It would be better to ask the locals and, surely, someone in the chemist’s or in a byrektore1 knows when they run. I have noticed that buses in Albania run mainly in the morning and start their runs mainly on the hour. Therefore, instead of asking anyone we can wake up early and at about nine o’clock seek our fortune in the main street, which turns to the left and further runs along the beach to the south. Now we can just look out for a bus with the right plate. Albania is not a European country organized in the German way but Balkan one - we get on buses where it suits us and it doesn’t matter to the driver that there is no bus stop.
The bus takes away from the bay and slowly starts climbing a steep but smooth road. The sea disappears from our sight and beautiful mountains come into view. Balkan ease obligates. If there are roadside stalls with vegetables and the driver wants to buy something, the bus stops for a moment! No one gets angry... everyone can buy some potatoes or stretch their legs or simply admire beautiful views on the mountains. But no one lives by views alone. If the driver decides that it is time for eating, he makes a compulsory stop by a bar! No one is surprised... It is also highly probable that the driver delivers medicines bought in Vlore to an elderly lady from Palase, letters to Dhermi, newspapers to Himare and even takes a can of milk from a village for his neighbour. Isn’t it nice?
A black asphalt road looks as if it was brand-new, many Polish roads would envy its smooth surface. It doesn’t mean that you can reach an incredible speed on it! Mountain switchbacks are not fit for it, besides surroundings are lovely and high speed would be a big loss. Unfortunately, we can notice here few illegal garbage dumps, it doesn’t look nice, but they finally disappear behind our next bent and even a mention of them cannot spoil our impression.
After next bent the Ionian Sea meets our eyes! There is beautiful sunny weather, water glistens under our feet with all shades of blue, the coastline stretches to the horizon and the Lungare Mountains seem to sink into the sea! Extraordinary view, which cannot be reflected in the photos. You must see it with your own eyes.
Behind the Llogara pass there are resorts located on the Albanian Riviera. After a short discussion we decided to stop in the last one - Himare. If we had driven by car, we would have chosen smaller and very picturesque Dhermi, but children, a pram and heavy backpacks determines our decision. Himare turns out to be a great success, on one hand it is small enough to get some rest and on the other hand it is big enough to offer a lot of restaurants, hotels and cash dispensers.
We have almost arrived at our destination and I can notice that we have covered the distance of 80 km within four hours (including one break for dinner)! Tickets cost 200L per person (almost 2€).
Byrek is very popular in Albania - it is a kind of cake, made of puff pastry, filled with (depending on the order) meat, spinach, cheese, tomatoes, apples or what is within reach. If we are hungry and want to eat something quickly, it is a good idea to look for a stall with the plate byrektore on it.
Na tematy związane z artykułem można porozmawiać na forum w wątku Albania.