Albania – from Gjirokaster to Permet

Today we travel from Gjirokaster to Permet – and tomorrow we will continue to Korça. The usual tour programs go from Gjirokaster directly to Korça which makes a very long day in the car. I am happy that Jorik from albania2go has scheduled the stop over in Permet in the Vjosa valley which gives me more time to explore the area.

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The Viroi lake near Gjirokaster

Just north of Gjirokaster there is the Viroi lake with willows and newly made paths for hiking and cycling. Ben is very proud of this place and says the Blue Eye Spring originates here .

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The Tepelene well at the road: It is a handy “water pit stop”

Ben tells me that the road to Tepelene has been completed half a year or a year ago. Before it was a sinuous road.  Shortly before Tepelene there is a well. At this “water pit stop”, we fill our water bottles.

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Tepelene – the town of Ali Pasha and the town of mineral water

Ali Pasha, the ruler of the Ottoman district of Epirus around 1800, is said to come from a village near Tepelene. This is his statue.

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As always he is shown with a stem and severe expression on his face. It is said that his mother and sister were raped by the inhabitants of the village, when he was a boy. He took revenge, when he had become Pasha and killed all men of the village.

Ali Pasha’s severe look is also on the mineral water that comes from Tepelene.

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In his district, Ali Pasha had many fortifications built or reinforced, also the one of Tepelene. This is why the Ottomans perceived him to be dangerous for their empire. He was also nicknamed “The Muslim Bonaparte of Europe”.

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Inside the walls, there is a town with small houses and neat gardens.

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In a coffee bar, we take a break. The owner asks us to look after his bar and disappears for quite some time… Once he is back, we pass by the mill of Ali Pasha and enter the valley Bençës. For about an hour we walk along broom, salvia and camomile bushes. Ben is worried that a hydropower project might destroy this valley – the construction continues despites protests of NGOs. This is the construction site.

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After a good hour’s walk we reach Ali Pasha’s aqueduct. A stunning construction, …

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… crossing the valley and the river bed.

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There is a farm nearby and a village at the end of the valley – strong,  old Mercedes cars are commuting on the unpaved road. We walk back and continue our way to Permet.

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Lunch with roasted goat

In a small restaurant overlooking the river Drino, we have lunch – roasted goat with yoghurt.

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Crossing the river Vjosa using the iron bridge

Then we cross the river Vjosa…

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… beware of the gap between the bridge and the road.

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Bus stations – are they served at all?

Along the river Vjosa we head for Permet. We come across this bus station. A lady is waiting here. Will she ever be picked up by a bus?

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We should rather take her with us… She is very happy and we drop her at her house in Permet.

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We settle in the hotel Alvora – one of the few hotels here at Permet. Our rooms have a view of the river Vjosa. We go for a short walk climbing the huge rock called Guri I Permëtit.

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Tomorrow we plan to visit Banjot e Benjës, the thermal springs, and Canyon of Lengarica. There are vineyards around Permet – visiting a winegrower would be an option here as well.

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We have dinner at the friendly restaurant Antigone where the daughter, about 20 years old, serves the guests. She has a talent for languages, speaks English and Turkish and plans to learn German in Germany. I added a recommendation for this restaurant to Tripadvisor. This is their basket offering wines from the area of Permet.

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Tomorrow we will continue to Korça.

 

 

 

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