Shkoder, Albania

23 May

Axelle and I both have a grade A case of the sniffles, and rakija was my answer. 7 days and a couple of bottles of rakija later and the situation hasn’t improved. Must not be drinking enough booze. It’s probably some kind of superflu. Rhinoflu. All the backpackers have got it. Shut down the airports. Save yourselves!

The students of Shkoder University filled the promenade where we sat and drank beer (1euro p. pint) or wine (4euros p. ltr) or rakija (40cents p. double shot). We dined in a fine fashion in Shkoder, at ritzy – the ritziest – Italian restaurants (350 leke / 2.5euros for seafood risotto, bread, balsamic vinegar, parmesan cheese, suited waiter) and spent our evenings at the main bars, mincing in the promenade with the rest of them.

Our accommodation did not befit our swanky lifestyle, but it beffitted our budget alright. We paid 12euros for our dark little hovel at Parku Hostel, and the old lady waited outside the room each day to see if we would stay another night. Twice I nodded to her and held up one finger – one more night – and she smiled and held out her hand and said ‘money-money’. She’s a tough old sack of leather who wouldn’t let me haggle her down a jot.

Albania’s first and foremost photographer, Marubi, has a permanent exhbition in Shkoder, so we went to that. They were good photos. I wanted to buy a print but found it impossible to deal with the snooty visitor assistants. There’s a great castle, castle Shkoder, which I chose to appreciate from the bottom of it’s mount. And a spectacular lake where we watched a guy hunting with a harpoon.

All this being waited on would have to stop here in Shkoder. Next stop Montenegro. Pricier. After that, Croatia. Dubrovnik, Croatia. Might have to sell the bike there just to get a damned Chardonnay.

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