FINALLY “THE ALBANIAN STORY” (I´m dying to tell it)

20131012-200929.jpgI 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:

20131014-102215.jpg LISTENING TO AMERICA COMPLAIN ABOUT PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION? TRY RIDING THIS TO WORK.
ALBANIA is a country in transition. This photo really helps show that.

20131014-102639.jpgTALKING 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.

20131014-104526.jpg
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.

20131014-105923.jpgI GOT THIS PHOTO ON MY FIRST NIGHT OUT.
The Italian Hostel guest wanted to cook dinner for everyone, we let him!

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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.

20131014-110830.jpgTHEY 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).

20131014-120444.jpgI 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.

20131014-120843.jpgMISSION 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.

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THIS IS PART OF THE ROAD TO THE MES BRIDGE, I RODE THE SIDEWALK, (watch out!).

20131014-121938.jpgTHE 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.

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THEY HAD WIFI AND I CALLED A FEW PEOPLE, HEY LOOK!
I got numerous photos so I had to pick?

20131014-122635.jpgWOULD 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.

20131014-123430.jpgTHIS 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.

20131014-123859.jpgTHE 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:

20131014-124347.jpgTEA IS THE COMPANY NAME AND SHITE MEANS “SALE”, “sale & buy Insurance” but TEA SHIT works.

20131014-124618.jpgRIDING IN THE RAIN

20131014-124710.jpgI´M HAVING THIS PHOTO PAINTED BY A LOCAL ARTIST.

20131014-124938.jpgI LOVE THIS IMAGE.

20131014-125132.jpgTHIS 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.

20131014-125700.jpgTHERE 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!

20131014-130126.jpgI´M HAVING SO MUCH FUN HERE, I DON´T WANT TO LEAVE! (I did all the dishes, they liked that)

20131014-130552.jpgTHIS BIKE ART SCULPTURE WAS ON A MAJOR ROUND-ABOUT IN TOWN
I love the bicycle vibe here in Skhoder.

20131014-130842.jpgI 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.

20131014-133007.jpgNOTICE 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.

20131014-134249.jpgNENSI 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.

20131014-141121.jpgTHE 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.

20131014-200950.jpgI 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
Jeff
ALBANIAN PHOTOS CAN BE SEEN HERE
NEXT? TIRANA: WHAT HAPPENED TO STALIN AND LENIN?

One thought on “FINALLY “THE ALBANIAN STORY” (I´m dying to tell it)

  1. lusikag

    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.

    Reply

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