I’ve been to Albania 4 times. I’ve biked it, rented a car and via public transportation. I followed an environmental group on Facebook who are from Shkoder. They clean up areas of garbage, that is found everywhere. They posted photos showcasing the amazing natural areas: waterfalls, trails, mountains and rivers. I tagged the areas they visited. I made an attempt to visit when I had the car. The gravel road was so unbearable, I turned around. They finally finished a paved road all the way to Theth in the past year. Time for a bike tour.
When I first arrived in Colera 2 years ago, I thought I was just staying for one night, France was only 8km away. I paid camping for one night, then I rode my bike into town. Looking around, I knew right away I would be here longer. I stayed 2 weeks and did something different almost everyday: hiking, biking, kayaking, snorkeling, beach combing, hitchhiking, ride the train to the Dali Museum, The town has 800 year round residents, the rich of Barcelona have homes and apartments here too.
From Tavira we took the bus to Seville and flew to Barcelona the next day. We got the train through Colera, the problem is that this train didn’t stop in Colera So we stopped in FIGUERES , home of the Dali Museum where there were 150 people in line. It’s the second time I’ve been to the Dali Museum and I still haven’t been inside.
DALI MUSEUM, FIGUERES . SPAIN
I’m pretty excited to get on our way to Colera. Were staying at CAMPING SANT MIGUEL. I highly recommend it for camping or renting a small cabin. It’s only a 5 minute walk to downtown Colera.
CAMPGROUND WITH COLERA IN THE BACKGROUND
THE CAMPGROUND WAS CROWED ON THE WEEKEND BUT BY MONDAY WE HAD THE WHOLE TOWN TO OURSELVES, IT WAS ALMOST A GHOST TOWN.
There’s some great hikes in the area, one is to the abandoned village of Molina. I was here last in mid. June and I don’t remember seeing so much wild lavender, rosemary and thyme (maybe that’s because of Morocco?).
THE START OF THE HIKE
HILLSIDES OF WILD LAVENDER
This trail is also suppose to be one of the best mountain bike trails in Spain. Last time here I met some locals who were going to rebuild a house. When I met them there was only 6 left of the 12 that started together.
MOLINAS ABANDONED HOMES
Once we left Molina the real climbing started
THE VIEWS FROM THE TOP WERE SPECTACULAR AND THAT’S MOLINA IN THE EDGE OF THE SHADOW
It’s a long 14.5 km (9 miles) hike up & around the mountains I was beat when I got back to the campground. There was an event in town, crafts, salamis, cheeses and 3 people baking bread.
THEY WERE BAKING OLIVE, SUN DRIED TOMATO, SPELT, SEEDED AND CHOCOLATE BREAD RIGHT ON THE STREET. THE GUY PLAYING THE BREAD BOARD KNEW JUST ONE ENGLISH LINE & EVERY TIME WE SAW HIM “HOW ARE YOU?” WE GOT THE SPELT, OLIVE & HOT CHOCOLATE BREAD.
I wrote about the artist Nuria Surribas after my first visit here. I bought one of her signature ants last time. We finally went over to meet her and she had an art project for us.
NATASA GLAZING HER CERAMIC FISH
NURI FIRING THE CERAMIC FISH
CERAMIC FISH IN OUR GARDEN BOX
Nuri has art around town and at the campground too! She’s the true artist. When I was here, 2 years ago, I suggest she get a sign on her “business”, she promised.
NO SIGN BUT STILL THE MOST BEAUTIFUL HOUSE IN DOWNTOWN COLERA
SHE’S A TRUE ARTIST. ANYWAY I NOTICED HER WINDOW’S NEEDED CLEANING. SO I BROUGHT OVER MY WINDOW WASHING KIT I GOT IN ROYAN, FRANCE. SHE WAS HAPPY.
HERE’S A SAMPLE OF SOME OF NURI’S ART:
THANKS NURI FOR MAKING IT SUCH A MEMORABLE TRIP, AGAIN!
LOOKING BACK TO COLERA HIKING TO PORTBOU
The next day we hiked to Portbou, which is only 2 km from France and plan to take the train back.
BEACH AND BAY IN PORTBOU
THIS WAS IN THE TOURIST OFFICE WIDOW IN PORTBOU
(update) My friend Jill translated the dog sign. “If yours doesn’t know how, you do it! There are people and children at the park and in the streets. For everyone’s good, pick up your dog’s poop. Be a civic-minded person. We all come out winning.”
THE TRAIN LEAVES YOU AT THE CERAMIC TILED “ART” PARK OVERLOOKING COLERA
It took an hour and 40 minutes to hike over and 4 minutes for the train back (tunnels help). We got back quick, so we rented a couple bikes from the campground and rode through the “exclusive” neighborhood.
THIS HOUSE HAS THE ULTIMATE GREEN ROOF, SEE THE GARAGE DOOR ON THE LOWER LEFT AND THE HOUSE IS ON THE RIGHT
Today were walking along the beach to LLanca about 12 km.
I like giving back to places I visit and last time here I picked up garbage on my beach walk. I asked Natasa, if she would, she agreed.
FIRST LOADS PUT INTO EMPTY DUMPSTER
I WANTED TO DUMP INTO ONTO THE SIDEWALK, BUT NATASA SAID NO, I REALLY WANTED TO SHOW ALL THE PLASTKIC WE FOUND ALONG A “SMALL” STRETCH OF SEVERAL BEACHES. THOSE ARE LARGE PLASTIC BAGS.
We waited to come Llanca until after the holidays. Nearly everything was closed? We did have some goat cheese salads that I’ve made at home twice now.
We take the train back to Colera
Sant Miguel Campground has added a Tiki bar/coffee shop. There are lots of new cabins and grassy tent sites. This fish pond (with fish) is brand new, this place is super nice.
Natasa wanted to pick a little lavender and rosemary, on the hikes it was everywhere, but not close to town. She brought home a little lavender. Colera is my favorite place, I don’t need to go to Barcelona to know that. If you want a super active vacation, Colera is the place.
We catch the train which will follow right along the beach to Barcelona. We board the train and Natasa looks around and announces “we hiked every mountain”, I’m thinking no shirt, I’m so sore I’m happy to be riding the train and saying goodbye to Colera (that I love).
There’s no train ticket office in Colera, your suppose to buy on board. No one ever came by? But when we got off in Barcelona we couldn’t get past the turnstiles without a ticket. They gave us a super deal, it was great ( I guess?).
Thanks for reading & commenting
Jeff and Natasa NEXT? Barcelona and Gaudi I ride my first tourist bus-ever