I arrived in Albania six days ago with the intention of being on a trail high in the Accursed Mountains, on my way towards the border of Montenegro within 48 hours. That didn’t happen.
On my second day in the country, I received an email from Outdoor Albania telling me that now is a very bad time to start hiking in the mountains as they are completely snowed over. This email was a reply to a request for information I had sent several months ago. They waited two months until I had actually arrived in the country, to tell me that now is not a good time to start my mountain adventure. I was not amused.
The mountain pass I need to cross was under 5 meters of snow, and so I decided to sit still for a while in Albania’s second largest city, Shkodër, and work on my recently launched website, which still desperately needs some focused attention, something I could not give it while on a trail high in the Balkans with no Internet.
Getting stranded in Shkodër turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
1. It has rained every day since I have arrived. Being soggy on the mountain is not a good look for me.
2. I developed a very painful sinus headache that lasted nearly four days. Again, not a good look for me, climbing a 2000 meter mountain with multiple changes in air pressure.
3. Shkodër has plenty to see, with the largest castle in the Balkans, lots of communist history to learn, and also a long pedestrian-only zone with lots of cafes, bars and beautiful Albanians strolling endlessly.
I’ll be here at the Bulldog Hostel until May 7, when I am going to head to the mountains one way or the other.
In the meantime, I am trying to figure out the website and I am in the process of creating a travel video that focuses on the sites and history of this charming town.
The hospitality of the people here is inspiring, and I hear it only gets better when I hit the smaller villages in the mountains.
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