We said our goodbyes to the lovely Gezim Gjoshi family and headed north-east out of Belsh up towards Elbasan. We soon needed to decide which route we were going to take to Lake Ohrid and the Macedonian border – a choice between the shorter dual carriageway which was sure to be busy but good quality road, or the south route which would see us follow the Devoll river past Gramsh and come out at the South of the lake at Pogradec.
We didn’t fancy more busy roads and despite the possibility of poor quality surface we opted for the longer quieter route. It turned out to be a good choice.
We stopped for lunch at a picturesque reservoir – made by one of the huge dams I talked about in an earlier blog. The road has been perfect so far and very quiet so we really enjoyed the cycle. We then kept close to the Devoll river heading up a spectacular valley. The scenery reminds us both of a small version of China…
We camped near the water and woke to a heavy rain shower the next morning which slowed our progress. We ended up staying in the tent to see out the shower and then manage to pack everything up before the skies opened again.
The scenery was still nice despite the weather which turned worse in the afternoon. We kept following the river through an impressive gorge before the road led to another huge dam project which is in its infancy, Ok – NOW it really feels like China!
Here the asphalt disappeared and we had an afternoon of rain and a slightly bumpy ride.
After five hours on the bike cycling through mainly deserted communal farms and wet valleys we suddenly cycle past a nice looking taverna and decide to call it a day. We order a plate of five huge lamb chops and a whole fresh fish accompanied by fried potatoes, salad, bread and a big plate of Albania’s version of tzatziki. All washed down with four well deserved beers. This whole epic meal costs us £12.60, and the lovely owner lets us pitch our tent under his porch after we were done!
The next morning we wake to more drizzly weather but with the restaurant’s undercover eating area to cook breakfast in we’re very happy, especially with the prospect of reaching a new country that day. Macedonia here we come!