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Northern Albania



Then we still have the north of Albania. At Krujë's campsite we hear that the country is divided into roughly three parts in terms of faith. The south is orthodox, the middle follows Islam and the north is Catholic. Of course the beliefs in the various cities can be seen interchangeably, but there are also cities where that is not the case. Krujë only follows Islam and it turns out that Rëshen is only Catholic. We continue travelling on Mondays to Rrëshen, a region that is the least touristy. Why are we going there anyway? To experience the culture and not just visit the main attractions of the country. The region appears to be less developed than the rest of Albania due to its mountainous area and bad roads. I think the area is beautiful (just like the whole of Albania so far). It's green, hilly, small villages, winding along the river............ . There is now a large highway that connects the west with the east and northern Macedonia, which makes the region more accessible. It created a lot of employment during construction, but yes when the road was finished, employment was also gone.


We end up at camping Lakosa. A small family campsite, where there is also a playground, various tables and a restaurant. Marco (owner) and his wife warmly welcome us. At the campsite, the ducks and chickens also run loose and they have a large vegetable garden. When we go for a walk with Misty around five o'clock, three Albanian gentlemen sitting on the terrace would like to take a picture with her. A fun they have, we are invited to come to their table. The conversation that follows takes place via google translate, they can't speak English. What is striking is that the Albanians are quite direct, these gentlemen also dare to ask. What faith we have, what profession, what we think of Albania, but also whether we have children and why not, how much the trip costs so far. They say Albania is a poor country. You can study in Tirana, but in the end there is often no work in the profession you studied for. They love having met us, they say goodbye with one hand and we get cola and beer for our caravan. Although they don't have much to spend, they are generous. We generally notice that too.



Just like in Tirana, it also becomes cloudy here in the afternoon and the thunderstorm and/or rain follows. This time it's so intense that it hits somewhere nearby and the whole campsite (yes we're alone) has no power. Not even the owner himself. We think we're going to have coffee with them, but even that's not possible. Turkish coffee though. Sitting separately is not included, with them on the couch and in the sofa. We also talk to them via google translate and a bit of Italian (a lot of Albanians can - written about that too). They are also curious about us and in the end we also get to see photos of their children, grandchildren, his daughter's wedding, the pig he slaughtered himself!!!! It's just what you want to show and/or be proud of. I also show a picture of me and my father. I immediately get the answer 'Maffioso'. It's true that my father was a big sturdy man, dark black curls and could look strict. They have fun with it. (even a day later :-)) I also show a picture of my mother, a photo my sister recently took on Mother's Day. They find her stately, when I say she paints they immediately understand that. The Turkish coffee is not allowed to pay Rudolf. In the candlelight we enjoy the rest of the evening in the caravan. It remains special to meet and speak to the Albanians. We are also learning more and more words of Albanian. It was not until around 3:30 a.m. that the power in the region was restored.



Lake of Ulez

The lake is located in Ulez National Park, just below Rreshen. The village of Ulez is located on the lake and a large dam was built near the village. The route to it is beautiful, due to the greenery of the national park. And the road is good. On the way to Ulez there are also bridges, which do not look so sturdy, that cross the river. Wonderful to take pictures of.




Rubik monastery church

On the way back we pass the monastery church of Rubik. It is located high above the city. The original church was built as early as the 12th century, but the church that stands there today is a replica. In 1967, all faiths were banned in Albania and many churches were also destroyed and demolished. Unfortunately, the church was closed when we were finally upstairs. The monastery has not been rebuilt, but you can still see the ruins.


Caravan is stuck on departure Rreshen

The campsite is a beautiful gem, great in the green, chickens and ducks around you, good food and therefore no beautifully landscaped roads and/or gravel paths. On departure we tried to run the caravan with the mover, but the nose wheel stuck every time. Then pull the car in front of it and the caravan out by car. That works very easily. What is not easy is then turning and turning between all the trees. Marco (owner) comes to help and with a lot of turning and turning we get out. Really clever how Rudolf does that, that wasn't happiness for me. We get six more eggs, fresh from the country. Whatever is fresh from the land, on the day of our departure, is probably the turkey. While I was filming my camping tour, I could just see Marco slaughtering a turkey. We used to do this, forty years ago, also on grandpa and grandmother's farm. Then I had no problem with it, now I liked it a bit less. On the other hand, the animals are well cared for and they live and eat from it, which is completely different from mass production. Back to earlier than just;-).


Shkodër

We drive towards Shkodër to camping Australia on Thursday. A new campsite where we stay for two nights and can clean the caravan and do a laundry. From Saturday we can go to Lake Shkodra Resort. Here we stay for a week. It's a good thing we've reserved, because the campsite is burstingly full. It is a campsite with Western European standards, everything is well cared for and tidy. We have to get used to the crowds and the many Germans. Man, man, man what a German, anyway in Albania. As it is France for the Dutch, it seems like Albania is it for the Germans. Of course we also meet nice and cosy Germans. On the way from one campsite to another, we see large slums along the Shkodra ring road. Barefoot children, old mopeds, geese, horses, cottages lined with carpets and plastic, garbage everywhere. We suspect they are Roma districts. On the ring road there are about three close together and also partly on waste bumps. We had already heard it from Shkodra, but hadn't seen it. We haven't seen it all over Albania yet. Of course, that doesn't have to mean it's not there. When we go shopping at the Fir, the children stand barefoot at the door asking for money. We ignore that and then they just try to take some groceries out of your bag. Then they keep chasing you and just begging. Even with the car they keep asking and begging. You have to be careful not to knock them over.


Airport Tirana

On Sunday we go back to Tirana, to the airport. My mother left Eindhoven airport at 11:00 with Wizzair and at 1.30 pm she lands on Tirana. After almost six months of seeing your mother again is very great. I thought what's coming for a little woman to walk through the door, but it was really her. With her red suitcase that is almost the same size as herself (just kidding). And then back to Shkodra, where my mother booked a hotel room at the campsite for a midweek. It's only 90 km, but it just takes you 1.5 hours. On the way there we had some traffic jam (cows) so it took a little longer. It turns out that we don't see things quite right anymore. We are now entering the fifth week of Albania and are now a bit used to it. Mom who is surprised by many things. Especially the traffic. Everyone just parks doubles, cyclists, mopeds, horses, donkeys and dogs can be encountered on the main road. You have to have eyes on all sides, she says. The waste in Shkodra is also much worse than what we have seen so far. The dirt containers are there, but there is often a lot of junk next to it. Where people pick out plastic and cans again and/or try to find the cats and stray dogs food. Oh yes, of course you can also easily set fire to the contents of a dirt container, then you can fill it again tomorrow. This is no joke, unfortunately we have seen all three. And the shops, next to the hairdresser can quietly sit a garage and clothes next to the fruit. They are all small shops / warehouses next to each other where everyone sells what he/she wants. There is no system in it. That also has its charm. Next week we will look at a number of things in- and around Shkodra and of course we will celebrate my 50th birthday. More on this next week.



Warm regards from Shkodra,

Rudolf en Lianne



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