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dag 4: Van Berat naar Vlore
Not a dificult trip but long and hot. Temperature reached 38 degrees.
You can eat on a beautiful terrace right in the middle of the harbour life (which is not that huge. The mountaims in the background are the mountains of the black cape which makes. a long bal;s penisula that makes the sea a bay. The mountains are not snowcapped but the clouds are stuck on the top.
When we were eating the night before on the terras of hotel Bologna in Vlora with harbourview we were wondering how this could be the second harbour of the country.
All we saw were some tiny fishingf boats.
The next morning we saw that a lot activity had taken place during the night.
Day 5: From Vlorë to Himera
The Llogara pass is 1024 m high and when you start rising you are at sea level. It is the highest point of the spectaculair coastal road between Vlora and Saranda. Though not realy steep the journey was tough because there was blowing a strong wind from the south (the direction we were heading). On the right you see my brother coming up (3th place - 5 guys on a mountain top and you got a race); in the upper left you see the bay of Vlora where we came from. It was a climb of about 18 km.
Most goats run for their life if they see a cyclist coming. These goats that I encountered in the long way up from Vlora to the Ilogorait pass just smiled, a little arrogant as if they were saying: try and folow os as we dissapear in the depth.
just before we road into the clouds. You can see the clouds from the valley waiting at the top.
When you have just climbed 18 km you long for te way down, speeding on two wheels and the kicks that will give it.
Too bad if the view is blocked by clouds coming over, like here.
Along the coastal road of the Abanian Riviera the views are often stunning. After a passage of a col of more than 1000 meter we were riding into the clouds and when we came out we saw the sea in the depth where the sun was shining again.
Once down the weather was hot and sunny again. Against the rocks alomg the shore the road was winding his way sometimes leading through a viollage like here Dhermi, a village inhabited mainly by Greeks.
He saw the communists come and go, wasn't touched by the destruction in the days of the fall of the pyramid games and was a withness of the days of King Zog.
This old man in the (Albanian) Greek village of Dhermi was very relaxed and speaking very good Italian like a lot of old people in Albania.
The young people look quite modern
In Himera there is a beach and we sleep in a little hotel with beach view
Day 6: From Himera to Ksamil
The area between Vlora and Saranda is called the Albanian Riviera. The coastal road is heavily going up and down and provides beautiful views over the mountains and the sea between the olive trees and the many flowers that grow here. You cross only little villages.
This is what the French or Italian Riviera muast have looked like 100 years ago
This is the Albanese Riviera not far from Himera. The coast is here wild and mountainous, the villages beautiful and built on steep hills and the flowers are beautiful. Very Albanese are also the one-man-bunkers built during the communistic regime. There was a pla to build one for every Albania citizen.
There are still a lot of them left. But sometimes they are painted in fresh patterns. Here they form a original part of a majestic coastal scenery.
The road between Himera and Saranda is very attractive and different all the time. Sometimes it's a real mediterenean view with olive trees and cypresses, sometimes like here it looks more like Ireland (exepr for the aloë).
The views are always great.
View from hotel Seiko in Ksamil.
Hotel Seiko is a former manision of the great dictator, Enver Hoxha, himself. For only 10 euro you can sleep here with a breakfast included.
It is built in the form of a ship and looks out over the sea and 4 little islands where you can swim to. It also looks out over the Greek island of Corfu, on the photo the mountains on the background. The island is here only 4 km away from the Albanian coast. There is from the hotel a stairway down to the beach which was quite and pleasant this last day of may.
Butrint is the most important archeological site in Albania - Appolonia is another great one - and it contains many buildings and ruins from several area's.
The oldest parts are the walls that date from the 4th century BC and are Illyrian. There are also remains from Hellenic, Roman and Byzantine origin. High above is the acropolis with a lot of Hellenic and Roman remains, that is dominated by the Turkish castle from which you can see far into Greece, only a few kilometers away here.
There are several Roman remains in Butrint of which the theatre dominates the centre of the site.
It was build in the 2th century AD and is very well preserved which you can see at the picture where you cab see the tribume and in the WS where the stage of the theatre is to be seen.
Butrint has not only historic value but is also a place with nature interest. From the high places of the site you can see the Lake of Butrint which has an open link to the Ionian Sea. There are many wading birds like the great white Heron, camerons and even Pelicans fishing, while also little fishing boats frequent the lake and set out traps.
Inside the walls tere are turtles swimming in the pools
and you can here the sound of numerous singing birds. There are a lot of places within the site where the walls or other remains are overwhelmed by vegetation (see WS), an ideal place for the nesting of birds.
Looking from Albania to Greece from one of the finest places in the far south.
The sun was setting and we were eating. Do I have to tell more.
This is the view from hotel Seiko in Ksamil, a new resort on the southern edge of Albania close to the Greek border,
It is a former house of Enver Hoxa,the communist dictator who kept Albania in isolation for several decades,
There are three little island before the coast where you can swim to from the beach that you can reach easily from the hotel. In the background on the left you can see Corfu.
The boat from Corfu to Sarandë glides through the evening passing the Islets of Ksamil and our evening view from hotel Seiko in Ksamil.