Mountains // Valleys // Lakes
We left Schkodër early in the morning as we had about an hour and a half drive to where we needed to catch the ferry for Lake Koman. The valley we’d be travelling through is known as one of the most beautiful in the area, but my eagerness to check out the views was somewhat marred by the extremely bumpy and jostling bus journey. I left my bagged breakfast unopened as it seemed foolish to add anything to my stomach during such a motion-filled excursion. In my attempts to keep the little food in my stomach in place, I sat in the front of the bus next to the driver. Albanian drivers have a fear of breezes (my deduction) and I marveled that he stayed conscious in his long pants, long sleeve shirt, and complete lack of oxygen. The people we passed walking along the road also seemed to be impervious to heat, which is confusing in an area that also has pretty cold winters. In the States those people would have been wearing cut offs, tank tops, and guzzling water. Albania doesn’t even bother.
The ferry journey through the mountains was every bit as beautiful as promised, and the breezes on board were another welcome addition.
After about 3 hours of blissful cruising, the journey came to an end, and we boarded a mini-bus which would take us to our accommodation in Valbona Valley.
The moment we arrived at the hotel, I knew this was going to be my favorite stop of the trip. The hotel was surrounded by mountains, trees, and silence. The kind of place where when you’re there it’s almost impossible to imagine the rest of the world it still buzzing around out there.
We sorted out our things in our rooms, and then headed back to the main floor for lunch. With my zero food intake for the day, I was ravenous, and the lunch they prepared was a regular feast. Again, Albanian food was quickly becoming my favorite, impressive since I had just found out about it about a day ago.
After lunch we had a short walk touring around the valley with the owner of the hotel, whose family have been living in the valley for 300 years. I loved hearing about the history of the area from someone so closely tied to it.
That night, we had another Albanian feast, and I think I teetered on the brink of death as I ate myself into oblivion. Worth it of course.