Sunday, 24 May 2009

Thursday, 30th April 2009 to Monday, 4th May 2009 Via Egnatia Caravan Trail - Albania

Starting on Wednesday afternoon from Thessaloniki with Albatrans: we arrived early on Thursday morning at Durres. During the eleven hour journey, with a two hour stop at the Greek and Albanian customs, we experienced various incidents with our co-travelers. Arriving in Durres we realized that people get up early enough to have a cup of coffee before getting to work. So did us! At the coffee shop there this postcard 'SHQIPERIA NE NATO - This is a miracle of Freedom' among others for free…

Via Egnatia Foundation welcomed us at the Venetian tower of Durres, where now hosts the bar “La Torra” and Mr Neritan Ceka, archaeologist and leader of the Democratic Alliance Party (son of the “father of archeology” Mr Hasan Ceka) gave a lecture on Via Egnatia in Albania. The team included: Dutch, Brits, Americans, Croats, Slovenians, Bulgarians FYROMians and Greeks. Later on we visited the archaeological museum of Durres. Our night stop was in Peqin where we made our camp inside the Roman castle. Rain had started some hours before.

Friday, 1st of May after bargaining, Via Egnatia Foundation became the owner of 4 donkeys that would from that day and on carry our luggage & tents. Walking on foot from Peqin we followed at the beginning the railway line, made a stop at Lazarei for lunch, passed the bridge of Shkumbin River, went through Grykshi village (where we photographed what the people called “The Greek Duck”) and ended up at Broshka village. Everywhere you could see bunkers used nowadays as storing places or houses for the animals. At that day rain was scarce and the night was beautiful enough to set up a singing fiesta with all the local people gathered around us! They even prepared Bureks for us the next morning!

Saturday, 2nd of May we left Broshka village, went through Valsi and then following the road we reached Cerriku and made a stop at the water pump installation the Russians built in 1952. Next stop was Muriqani village for lunch and then walking mostly at the edge of Shkumbin river we started approaching Elbasan. One of the most interesting things was to walk by the river and explore the bank (shore) works! Just two hours before our arrival heavy rain and hail made us totally wet and our donkeys asinine enough to stop moving…Finally, we reached Elbasan and ‘Imperial’ hotel.

Sunday, 3rd of May we visited Bradashesh, just outside Elbasan were the ruins of Roman baths are found and later on walked around Elbasan to visit the fortress that is used as a multi-activities center including a restaurant (!). In the afternoon the painting activity of Via Egnatia Foundation took place at the central pedestrian street.

Monday, 4th of May the Greek team decided to depart and returned back to Thessaloniki. More info about the project at Via Egnatia Foundation site: & Via Egnatia Foundation Blog: