Balkans 2016 – Day 32 : Buz to Berat, Albania

It started raining at around 4am and I fell back to sleep in hope that it will stop later in the morning. Thankfully it did stop around 7am and the day is turning out to be fine with sunshine breaking through the clouds. After a quick cup of coffee and adjustment of one of the rear brake pads. The pin of one of the rear pads fell off and I noticed the pads slipping out. so I have to get that fixed in anticipate of more extreme riding today offers.

I am told Berat is at least 48KM away. It should be a easy riding for that distance even if it involves hill climb but with the broken roads I am sure it will be another long hard day of riding.

So I carried on anyway because I am looking forward to a nice 2 day rest in Berat. It’s more or less the same kind of terrain as yesterday. Hard going to say the least. Would have been easy on a mountain bike with suspension and minimal load.

I was so eager to push off from Buz that I forgot to refill and have the potential of same water situation again. Luckily I bumped into someone and ask if there is a place to refill water and he says there was in just 50m by the side of the road. After refilling I was happy and went on my way.

My food supplies was low enough probably for one meal so I was eager to get to a store to buy something for emergency in case I have to camp the night before Berat. So I started to look for a village. I saw one on the way and headed towards it. I then noticed that the planned route towards this village goes off the SH74 which I am on and goes on another country road. I hesitated at the cross junction to analyse the situation before proceeding also because the road to the village was a steep downhill and that would mean a steep climb upwards if I decide to back track.  Then some guys passing by in a van told me that Berat is better via SH74 and not where my planned route. I decided not to take the planned route and headed on to SH74.  Some considerations why I made the decision :

  1. Because the planned route was suggested by SK. So the torture will continue.
  2. SH74 is the main route so in case I have some troubles I have higher chance to come across help.
  3. SH74 has also more villages so again can get some help in case I need.
  4. It’s recommended by the locals and they must know what they are talking about.

So I proceeded on SH 74 with hope that I made the right decision. The terrain in the beginning was more or less the same but magically it became progressively better and not as rocky. In fact in some parts I could ride much much faster. Looks promising.

On one of the village I was passing, I stopped by a house and asked a nice lady if there were shops nearby and she said none for at least 25 KM ! Wow that would be already close to Berat. Then I asked if she could sell me some food. She said she can give me some food but no need to pay.  Yay ! Free food. I got a bottle of yoghurt drink, some homemade bread, white cheese and some cold cuts.
With renewed confidence after getting food and water, I started my ride again towards Berat. I broke for lunch at a beautiful but windy location before powering on to Berat. The road has indeed become better and I seem to be making great time. At parts it was more or less same and stony that slowed me down and some parts were basically gravel laden which is not great on steep downhills. Overall better than yesterday.

I was happy to see Berat at the bottom of the hill and know that I am close by. I passed by many olives plantation on my way down to Berat.

I finally hit Tarmac 500m from Berat city and I proceeded to look for a suitable hostel. I found one at the historic Gorica Quarter called Lorenc Guesthouse. I paid 8 Euros per night per bed with breakfast. I planned to stay here for a couple of days to recuperate and enjoy this historic city.

What a few days it has been. A wild wild ride in the interior. This what you call pleasurable suffering. I wonder why the Albanians name the country road SH74. Now I know maybe it means Soh Hai 74 !

Lions Project : RM 148.0m

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Woke up to moody weather
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Oops I wonder where they found these
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More of the same hard work yesterday.
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Yes I can do that climb. Yes that’s the hill I need to tackle.
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Magical view
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Time for lunch and relaxation.
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Hardworking bike needs to have a pose.
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The only bus I saw the whole day on this road.
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What a view
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The roads are improving and vegetation changing as well.
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Wonder what happened
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Olives

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Hello Berat.
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My hostel in the old and historic part of Berat
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Beer as a reward.
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Wohooo it’s hard work but view is stunning and there is only me, me and me. Solitude.
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Aiyoh need a break from the bouncing around.
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This is the home where I begged for free food.
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Now the road is more even but gravel laden.
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Can I see Berat now ?
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Downhill is daunting with loose gravel.

 

Author: krankster

I am an avid cyclist that loves mountain biking, bike commuting and most of all bicycle touring. I am a freelance leadership coach and hope to inspire others through my cycling adventures.

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