I found it very hard to sleep on the ferry as my body got more or less glued onto the mattress I was sleeping on. Everytime I woke up, which was maybe once every hour, I pulled my body off the mattress making a sound like when you pull of a piece of tape from its roll. Was secretly wishing that it would be morning soon. And as time goes by suddenly my phone rang indicating that it was 05 :15 and time to get up. Tereza agreed that this was the worst sleeping night on out journey so far. Little did we know it was gonna get a lot worse.
We packed our stuff and I put out my head trough the door just to see how they were loading on three terrain motorcycles onto the small boat that we were gonna go with. Now ok, it is not really small, but there wasnt much space on the rails on each side as they also was supposed to load up the 25 bikes onto the boat. The boat itself is a bus chassis that is simply welded unto a hull and the steering wheel and the seating and everything else is from the bus.
We hauled our asses down to the cafeteria which was now a buzzing place of all the people getting ready to enter the boat by packing their stuff, their bikes, having a coffee and biscuit or two and we decided to have some biscuits for the trip as well. Now I find that one the beautiful things with travelling is that there is a lot to see in what type of goods different countries have and as it turns out, Albania don’t produce much of itself as a country but most stuff is imported from surrounding countries. This is where political correctness comes in, as I bought an orange drink from Austria, some filled croissants from Serbia and racist cookies from Greece. Now why do I call them racist cookies? Tereza decided to test them for the camera and they were quite disgusting however they did have two sides, one white and one black, both with different faces.
It was a cold morning and mist was laying all over the lake as the boat started its 2½ hours long journey over to Koman station with a few random stops here and there to pick up people who seemed to come out of nowhere as we could not see any road or houses nearby. Suddenly there was just people standing right on the mountain side waiting for the boat to pick them up. One man got of the side of the mountain and started to climb up the side, right up. It was a bit mysterious for us. [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GL8DTCWd0tw?rel=0&w=640&h=480]
The ferry cruised between the mountain side of the deep green water and there wasnt much more to do then to enjoy the scenery and watch the other people on board. Some Albanian guys were drinking the first beer of the day at 07:30 and there was an Albanian couple with a little son on not more than 2-3 years old who found it very boring to sit in the seat all the time and wanted to walk around and explore instead, as kids that age loves to do. After a while of screaming the father decided to take his hand and walk out on the deck so he could watch the water as the boat was ploughing its way through the green landscape. And when he bent over to pick up his son, that is when I saw it. I tried to take a picture to prove my statement but I couldn’t get the right timing so all you can do is to trust my word. He leaned over and the shirt glided over his back revealing a blank piece of metal stuffed down the lining of his jeans. A gun. It reminded me that we were in the northern parts of Albania where it is common to have guns, I just didn’t expect to see it here and no one around didn’t really seem to care either. Should mention that the guy also had a bad tattoo of a mermaid on his arm, probably done in prison
When we reached Koman it was already closer to 09:00 in the morning and people were waiting to board the boat to take the return trip to Fierze. We walked off with our backpacks and a man approached us asking “-Tirana?” and I shook my head. We were heading back to Shkoder to pick up our Ferrari that was parked outside the hotel the past 4 days we had been away from the city. We found our bus and jumped into it and almost 2 hours later we were back in the outskirt of the city and started to walk towards the hotel. We decided to eat an early lunch and found a place that looked somewhat ok and had a nice shade as the sun was yet again licking our skin from above. We ordered and ate and the food wasnt the best we had during this journey, quite mediocre actually. We paid and left.
We both needed to recharge stuff and I wanted an internet connection so that I could post my blog. We walked up to the car and repacked some things and walked into the hotel and the backside of the hotel bar as it was here we had used the free wifi before and we found a power socket we used. The nice toilets were here as well and Tereza went to the women’s side and cleaned herself and even managed to get some washing powder from the cleaning lady so she even washed some of her clothes in the sink just as a quick way to have some more clothes to wear as we are slowly starting to run out of clean clothes. We stayed for about 2½ hours doing our things while different hotel employees were looking at us as they passed us.
We loaded up the car and headed off towards Lezhe, the city where the national hero Skanderbeg was buried until the Ottomans dug him up and turned his bones into good luck charms and other things. Now it is just a memorial as it was also here that Skanderbeg managed to get all the heads of the different Albanian clans to unite in a common fight against the Ottoman invaders in the 15th century. Skanderbeg is today regarded as one of the persons who saved Europe from becoming Islamized by the Ottomans. We headed up to the castle and parked below it to walk the last part up to it and it was now I really felt that walking was hurting as my thighs were protesting from the previous mountain climb two days previously. It is a very big castle, or at least the ruins that are left of it and it was full of wild growing Pomegranates. From the castle we headed down to the burial monument as managed to get in as the last people at 17:00. It was a very warm day and as we got into the car and I wanted to write the postcards Tereza needed to get going because she really felt bad and we headed off towards Kruja, the birth city of Skanderbeg, as we were gonna spend the night there.
Somehow we missed the turn and found ourselves on the outskirts of Tirana. As there are basically no street signs or anything and Tereza wanted to visit an old family friend of her grandparents we headed of to find the address that we had saved on google maps before. As I mentioned before, Albanians have more or less no idea about any street names or addresses, lesser to be able to read a map, so we were driving around for 2½ hours which really pissed me off. We were driving round and round trying to find the address on a very bad map with even worse directions from people who had no clue. We finally found the street and Tereza tried to find the house. It all turned into a neighbourhood watch as entire families with their 500 kids came out to try to help Tereza, to look at the tourists and find the person she was looking for. After some 30 minutes it was discovered that the address we were looking for was in the center of Tirana which pissed me off even more and I was in a really bad mood as I just had wasted 2½ hours of my life on a wild ghost chase for an address that was even wrong.
I headed off towards Kruja not saying a word as I was really irritated. It had started to become dark so the road was now even harder to see in its bad condition with potholes here and there and the Albanians cars that were badly technical meaning that their headlights could be adjusted in any way, even to blind you on the low beam or just to drive with complete full beam on all the time stressing your eyes. After an hour and a drive up the side of the mountain we finally arrived in Kruja and we tried to find somewhere to sleep. Tereza felt bad again and we ended up in Hotel Panorama taking a room for 25 Euros including breakfast. Tereza got even worse and showed all signs of heat stroke as I hadn’t seen her drinking much during the entire day. She ended up throwing up in the bathroom and went to bed around 21:00 and in the end we figured out that she had gotten food poisoned. I was fine and ordered a pizza as I was hungry as a wolf since we hardly had eaten anything since the lunch.
At midnight I started to feel bad and went to sleep just to wake up every hour going to the toilet and at 05:30 to the sound of the rooster, I started to throw up as well. A historical bad day.