I HAD NO IDEA HOW WELCOMING IT WAS GOING TO BE.
I rode from Ulcij, Montenegro to SHKODRA ALBANIA. It was a beautiful day. I´ve said before, you cross the border , you enter another world (country). Albania was more different than anything I´ve seen on this trip. While riding the the road kids would cross the street to “high five” me.
The photo images were many:
LISTENING TO AMERICA COMPLAIN ABOUT PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION? TRY RIDING THIS TO WORK.
ALBANIA is a country in transition. This photo really helps show that.
TALKING AND DRIVING? IS THIS SAFE?
Recycling seemed non existent here. Then I pass a father/son recycling team. They were picking up plastic along the road.
I PAID THEM A LITTLE MONEY FOR THIS PHOTO.
I meet the Spanish cyclists, again, at the bridge to Shkoder. We agree to find a hostel room to share. We bike into town and a French couple joins us looking for a room too. Now I´m “leading” in the search. A car pulls over and offers us a room. Thank you for saving me. We follow him through town, but I make a wrong turn and it takes half an hour to regroup. The Hostel is awesome, a brand new place called the UNIT HOSTEL. I take a walk downtown and take this special photo.
I GOT THIS PHOTO ON MY FIRST NIGHT OUT.
The Italian Hostel guest wanted to cook dinner for everyone, we let him!
NO ENGLISH BUT A LOT OF LAUGHING, WITH A LITTLE SPANISH THROWN IN.
The other cyclist all left in the morning. Not me, this is a great place, I start noticing all the cyclist riding around town.
THEY ALL BIKED TO THE HOSTEL, NEVER LEFT, RODE OUT IN THE MORNING.
I´m so done with constantly moving, Shkoder is a town worth visiting for awhile. The large amount of Cyclist has caught my attention. I learn that Shkoder is the BICYCLE CITY of Albania. The first bicycle in Shkoder was brought by a Swedish diplomat, first called the “devil´s cart”, then widley accepted. (read the link).
I READ THEY HAVE A 25-29% BIKE USAGE AND WITHOUT ANY BIKE INFRASTRUCTURE TO SPEAK OF.
The first order of the day is to get a SIM card for my phone.
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED AND WITH STYLE!
There are basically two must see attractions here the MES BRIDGE and the ROZAFA CASTLE. I choose to ride to the bridge first, since it´s suppose to rain tomorrow.
THIS IS PART OF THE ROAD TO THE MES BRIDGE, I RODE THE SIDEWALK, (watch out!).
THE BRIDGE WAS BUILT IN 1780.
I decide to keep riding further from town and find this restaurant, in the middle of nowhere, over looking the river.
THEY HAD WIFI AND I CALLED A FEW PEOPLE, HEY LOOK!
I got numerous photos so I had to pick?
WOULD YOU PARK YOUR CAR HERE? (me? NO!)
There are many “unfinished” houses, the owners are sometimes overseas working and return with more money to finish.
THIS IS JUST ONE OF THE HUNDREDS I´VE SEEN.
I ride back to town and visit the old bridge and fishing spot. They were pulling up BIG Carp.
THE GYPSIES/ROMA live “on the other side of the river from town” at the end of the bridge.
I like taking sign photos and bicycle images:
TEA IS THE COMPANY NAME AND SHITE MEANS “SALE”, “sale & buy Insurance” but TEA SHIT works.
I´M HAVING THIS PHOTO PAINTED BY A LOCAL ARTIST.
THIS IS THE ALLEY I WALK TO MY HOSTEL, WELL LITE!
Attention Portland beer consumers, this is an interesting way to have “cold” beer at your table.
THERE IS AN ICE FILLED TUBE THAT RUNS DOWN THE MIDDLE TO KEEP THE BEER COLD. 100 LEKE = $1.
I buy a chicken for dinner, when I get home, the Italians are cooking again! I de-bone the chicken and put it on the cutting board and pasta with cheese!
I´M HAVING SO MUCH FUN HERE, I DON´T WANT TO LEAVE! (I did all the dishes, they liked that)
THIS BIKE ART SCULPTURE WAS ON A MAJOR ROUND-ABOUT IN TOWN
I love the bicycle vibe here in Skhoder.
I DIDN´T HAVE THE COURAGE TO ASK FOR A FRONT SHOT.
They LOVE America here, when I tell them I´m from the USA, they always say “America #1”. W. Bush visited here in 2007, they named a street after him and had a STATUE made too. I heard there was a museum where they had stuff like the chair he sat in. OK? They love America here as you can see.
NOTICE THE RED, WHITE AND BLUE COLOR SCHEME “ALL AMERICAN”
The Unit Hostel is a huge project, there was always something going on. I spent my last night working on the Blog. The lights were flickering on and off, so we chased down some candles.
NENSI AND LLVA CAME BY SEVERAL TIMES TO APPLY MULTIPLE COATS OF PAINT ON THE RECEPTION DESK.
I´ve done most of what this town has to offer, ordered a painting, it´s time to get down the road. I don´t want to leave it feels like home and Shkoder is a charming place.
THE GIRLS STOP BY TO CHECK THEIR DRY PAINTING PROJECT AND TAKE THIS GOOD-BYE PHOTO.
I pack my bags, load the bike and ride to catch the bus to Tirana. The “bus stop” is a spot along the street, no official bus station.
I LOVE THE MANY BICYCLE IMAGES IN SHKODER, I´LL MISS THIS PLACE.
TO THE PEOPLE WHO WRITE EMAILS TO ME “THANK YOU.” I am so busy traveling and writing this blog I rarely have time to respond, I hope you understand and aren´t discouraged from writing me again. I spent 9 hours writing this blog post.
They ride their bike here without any bike infrastructure, so can you (get a mirror).
So Ride Your Bike
ALBANIAN PHOTOS CAN BE SEEN HERE
NEXT? TIRANA: WHAT HAPPENED TO STALIN AND LENIN?
2 thoughts on “FINALLY “THE ALBANIAN STORY” (I´m dying to tell it)”
Hello, i really enjoyed reading your post and looking through the pictures of Shkodra. It brings such warm feelings for me. seeing as Albania is my home country. I hope you will always have kind words to say for this place 🙂 Thanks for the lovely post.