Albania – from Shkodra to Valbona

The Khomani ferry does not work, but there are small boats

From Shkodra we had planned to drive to the Komani ferry. But the ferry had stopped working. Not enough water in the Komani lake. But, where there is a problem, there is also a business opportunity that the locals catch: We find a bus transport to the ferry station, and from there, small boats take us to Fierze. With a couple from England, I jump into the bus, while their guide, Miguen, and Ben drive their cars to Fierze, the end stop of the ferries and now the boat.

Our bus takes a bumpy road through the mountains. As we overtake another bus, both drivers stop next to one another and have a chat, while blocking the road. Also, our bus driver never forgets to wave, when he meets a pedestrian or a worker along the road. I like that.

Onboarding to Annika

At the ferry station,…
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… we are directed to the boat Annika.

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It is already pretty occupied. In the middle of the boat are some bicycles and motorbikes. One mixed French-English couple bike around Albania with their two year old son. Courageous.

Three and a half hours – great scenery on a polluted lake

Three and a half hours we enjoy our boat ride along the Komani Lake. Here are some impressions of the beautiful scenery.
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If only this lake were cleaner. Plastic bottles and tins. A dirty foam spreads a smell that my nose does not really like. Some small fish jump across the water surface; they seem not to care. Is it true that all this mud comes from Kosovo? Perhaps we need some knowledge transfer from Switzerland to clean this lake?

The Komani lake has some critical spots, in particular, when it was narrow. An alarm would go off ever once in a while and we all had to sit down. I did not feel fully comfortable then. I could not fancy swim in this dirty lake, in case we hit a rock or a sand bank.

After three and a half hours we reach Our target port, Fierze. Ben and Miguen are waiting for us. We continue to Baijmar Curri for lunch at the Caka. I eat river trout. Ben gets a huge plate full of joghurt topped with the cream from cooked milk. The joghurt tastes sourish, almost like kefir. At the next table I observe, how two men and one woman receive a huge glass of Raki.

Bajmir Curri (to be pronounced “Surri”) was a partisan that had been killed by king Zogu. Hoxha had Topovka renamed after him. We quickly stop to greet Bajmir Curri.

The road to the Valbona valley has been newly made. We learn that “val” means “wave” in Albanian. Many girls are called Valbona in Albania, as Ben and Migen explain.

We stop at a mill from Chinese-communist times and at a second mill, nicely located on the wild Valbona river.

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The welcoming Kol Gjoni guesthouse is a bit like a mountain hut.

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We stay in a small wooden hut which is good, because the main house is full with two tour groups that plan to get up early to reach one of the peaks here the highest being Jezerca.

Gjoni is actually pronounced “Jonny” (gj=soft dsch). Jonny and his family welcome us with a cup of mountain tea.

Refreshed we go for a walk. Some more guest houses and hotels have been built here. One of them claims to have five stars. Another hotel planned on five floors, but only two have been completed. A ghosty look.

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Johnny and his family serve local food. Dinner is a young goat that has been roasted by the neighbours. We enjoy it with a tasty salad, joghurt and potatoes.

Tomorrow we will go for a five hours’ walk. The weather is beautiful. I look forward to the hike.

One thought on “Albania – from Shkodra to Valbona

  1. Paul Reigrotzki says:

    NOW!!! Those pics look GREAT!!

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