5 May

Now the ride to Borsh was Axelle’s actual maiden voyage. The first real test and it wasn’t easy. The first 4 km out of Saranda is uphill. Axelle determined to walk the bike up. Then soon after there’s another steep 4km uphill to a point where we stopped for lunch, 2 hours after setting off. I was going as slow as I could, but Axelle arrived almost an hour later. It was clear to me that Axelle wasn’t fully prepared for the Black Mountains. The scenery was beautiful and the weather was perfect, almost 30 degrees, and I felt more than comfortable in the heat and on the hills now – I enjoyed them, but Axelle was new, and Albania was too hot and too hilly for her.

Then in the afternoon we covered more distance than we were meant to, riding past a lagoon, a castle and uncounted war bunkers and arriving in Borsh unexpectedly. Borsh straddles a rapid river. The main restaurant squats above it. Some friendly cafe guys gave me us free raki and coffee, and through them we found a great apartment to spend the night in for 10euros, down from 20euros, at Hotel Margarita.


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