Posts Tagged ‘Pac’

Day 51. 81km. Pac – Bicaj

Posted: November 4, 2014 in Albania, Cycling
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Who to trust? Who to believe? After an uneventful cycle, I found myself taking down my tent in the dark, and listening to stories of rebels and stabbings in the area in front of a little electric heater in a small room in the town hall building. I didn’t sleep all night, lying on the floor of the café opposite the town hall with the café owner next to me to stop break-ins. Ouch.

Tent position in Bicaj before all the stress

Tent position in Bicaj before all the stress

The day had a happy start, listening to the call to prayer from the mosque directly behind me in my tent at 5am. I was excited all over again camping in front of a mosque.

It was cold, dropping to 0C at night, with some ice on my tent. I started my cycling briefly above the clouds before plunging down into them, where I was most of the day.

My perch above the clouds

My perch above the clouds

On the road to Kukës

On the road to Kukës

On the road to Kukës

On the road to Kukës

My tent stood nicely on the lawns of the town hall in the evening (as instructed by a local). On returning to the tent in the dark, after a stop in the local café, I saw a light circling the tent. The creepy conversation using 3 words, sign language and drawing began. The word ‘problem’ was common, the sign for a throat being slit, a bike chain being cut and the bike being taken away, the rubbing of fingers indicating money, and again, ‘problem’. The guy watched me as I took down my tent in the dark, and moved everything into the town hall building, for which he had a key.
Then it got very weird. There was a ‘problem’ between Bicaj and Peshkopi (where I was headed). Men in balaclavas, slitting throats and stealing. There was no ‘problem’ in the direction of Kosovo. I should sleep in the town hall. That would be safe. He would leave me there, and let me out at 5am. Leaving later than that would cause a ‘problem’ with the officials at the town hall. At this point, I was really getting worried.
‘I’m leaving.’
I got up and lugged bike and luggage out the door, and across the street to the café. My friend followed. I should not mention anything, he said. There are spies in the café.

I was allowed to sleep on the floor in the café. I asked them to help me catch a bus to Peshkopi the next day. They seemed to understand, and made a call to arrange it.

When all the customers had left, the café owner set up his bed on the couch in the café. He has a house just across the way, but sleeps here because of thieves. He told me to keep my wallet and passport in the sleeping bag – just to be safe.
The café owner had been good to me. He had also been friendly with Mr ‘Problem’. The customers in the café all seemed nice people. In fact, everyone in Albania has been nice. Was there reason for worry? I was most worried about Mr. Problem cutting me off at the pass the next day.

My night was spent thinking on what to do the next day, and how to stow my valuables as safely as possible on the bus trip.

Day 50. 42km. Komani – Pac

Posted: November 1, 2014 in Albania, Cycling
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Today was quite a day. A special national holiday meant everyone goes back to their place of birth. Many by boat. Drahtesel just fit, with a bit of help. Ii fit on the roof. Then a spectacular valley in the evening sun, ending in a perfect camping spot on the lawn in front of a mosque. My unease has gone.

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A group of brits/aussies backpacking around the world joined me with the 100s of others on our little ferry along the lake valley. Just after leaving we were all asked to move to one side as the other side was filling up with water. The redistribution of weight did the trick.

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I discovered a spot on the roof had the best view – of the landscape, and also into the toilet.
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On arriving at Fierze, I was really unsure on how far to go today. It was a short trip to the next town, and then a long road through the mountains with only small villages. The weather was good, so I stocked up with water, and cycled up and up along the most glorious road. Down the other side is a beautiful valley. I asked someone in a village where I can put up my tent. They led me to the lawn in front of the mosque. How cool is that? I have been invited for a beer, which I will do shortly.. 🙂 Life is good!

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