The road to Pogradec was long and winding down from the mountains towards lake Ohrid.
It was not a long drive but all the stalls along the roads selling homegrown things were distracting me.
I would like to buy a huge garlic braid and hang it in our kitchen as I thought it would bring a nice atmosphere to it and also taste better than the horrible and almost tasteless garlic from China that we buy in our food stores here in Czech Republic.
But it was hard to find such a large braid as I wanted.
Several stalls went by before I stopped in front of one where a young boy, maybe 15-16 years old, were sitting waiting for a sell. I saw the braids and walked up to have a closer look. It was big but there were some garlic missing here and there.
Asked the boy for the price and he replied 4000 leke which stunned me.
Was he trying to get more money because I was a foreigner or was this the price?
Decided not to engage further, first because of the state of the braid and second because the price was ridiculous that I felt that he tried to screw me over.
Unfortunately I did not find any more braids on the road that looked interesting.
It started to slightly rain as soon as we could see the shore of the lake.
We rolled into Podgradec and started again the hunt for the elusive cognac.
It was the same situation as before during the day, try to find a shop that sold what I wanted.
We walked up what we assumed to be the major street, which was not big but seemed to have all the traffic and in a street corner Tereza found a man selling olive oil.
Within 5 minutes a deal had been made and 600 leke changed hands at the same time as a bottle of olive oil.
I asked the man for a supermarket and he scratched his badly shaved chin and suddenly lit up as if someone had turned on the light bulb in him.
He pointed to a small store across the street.
It didn’t look promising but never judge a book by its cover.
We walked in and found several bottles of the elusive drink nicely packed in cartons which would make the transportation even easier for a fair price.
The same store also carried some local wine bottles which we spent the last money on before we headed into Macedonia on the other side of the lake.
Decision had been made that we would stay over in Macedonia’s capital, Skopje instead of Albania as it would be closer on our journey back to Prague.
Driving towards the border took us along the lake where there were people standing by the road with huge tanksNow and then a boy or man would stand on the side of the road with a fish hanging from a line swinging it back and forward in the air, sometimes almost even hitting cars driving by, showing that they sold live fish that was kept in the tanks. It seemed that each area in this country sold what they were best at.
Clearly there is no fruits or vegetables growing by the sea but what grows in the sea is fish.
The car needed to be fueled up again and as it was cheaper in Albania it was ideal to fill it up before we left the country. Station after station passed b and we were looking for a place that would accept credit cards as we had spent our last Leke on alcohol and olive oil.
A station advertised large master card and visa signs and we turned in to fuel up.
The man came out and I asked “card?” and showed my visa.
He stopped before even reaching us saying “no function”
Back into the car and go to next station advertising the cards as a payment.
Same story at the next 3 or 4 stations making me think that they would do the same here as they did in the hotel, false advertisement.
They would advertise for something to get people to stay and then counting on that when potential customer had stopped they would just accept and pay anyway.
It’s a dodgy way of doing business but I guess it works with people who are lazy or just don’t care.
For us it was not an option as we only could pay with card.
We got tired of the whole situation and drove straight to the border instead.
(note: The picture in this post is not taken by us but was borrowed from Internet to illustrate how it looked)