Imagine what it would be like to spend almost seven hours in a car to go 348km or about 97 miles. Your first thought would be “ohh hell no – I would hate that” but I’m here to tell you that you wouldn’t. I scaled mountains today literally and metaphorically. I dipped through valleys in the same way. I stopped to photograph turquoise rivers – turquoise and river in the same sentence you ask? Oh yes. I’ve never seen rivers this color before and this is my 54th country!
The drive was from Sarande to Pogradic and places in between such as Gjirokaster and Permet (a fave of mine as villages and scenery go) to Erseke – where white haired women dressed in all black walked throughout the town using a cane and sports coat, golfer hat wearing elderly men strolled with both hands clasped behind their backs, to Korce which is a modern looking small town and onto Pogradic right on Lake Orchid. On the other side of the lake was Macedonia which I could see from my hotel balcony – a beautiful view of the lake for $30USD/night at Hotel Enkelana.
Most would call these villages/towns non-descript but until you have driven through the countryside on pot holed (sometimes just straight up dirt roads with potholes) in third gear and never higher (at least until Korce) you likely haven’t discovered what I call a “peace” of heaven. So inexplicable -yes. Non-descript – no.
This trip or better yet traverse is a must do in your lifetime. There were times where I just pulled over stood on the side of the road in superhero pose, hair and clothing blowing in the wind, and no sound but river waters cascading through the lush green valleys and the sun rays creeping through the mountains like stairways to heaven but no need to try and climb as you will be certain that you are already there.
If possible I would advise you take this road trip solo, play your music and let your mind wander into the wilderness which is exactly where you’ll be. Stop and meet Albanian vendors while in route selling fresh fruits and vegetables from their farms or have a cafe or one of their fruit and vegetable concoctions – which I still don’t know what’s in them. Stop the car and sit on a rock by the turquoise river for an hour. Just stay in gratitude here don’t let your mind wander – just be.
That’s all for now. From Albania with love and Turiya.