A bright and sunny day! After having a quick coffee with the host and some photos taking we said our goodbyes and I was off. Today I will cross into Albania and leave Macedonia with a heavy heart. I enjoyed Macedonia a lot mostly because of the fantastic hospitality and friendship with the people I met.
Korce in Albania which is around 80km away is my target. You would have thought that hugging the coast would be flat and easy peasy. You would have been wrong. I had to negotiate 3 hill climbs before getting to Korce. 2 of the climbs were on the Macedonian side and one climb after Pogradec in Albania.
Today was also meet the cyclist and tourers day. Enroute I met 5 cycle tourers and passed 4 cyclist. First in Macedonia side of Ohrid , I bumped into 3 cycle tourers from Israel. Two of them zoomed past me. One stay behind and we chatted for awhile before he broke off and rejoin his group. He mentioned they were heading to another lake called Prespa.
I meet two other cycle tourers just outside of Pogradec in Albania, one lady is from London and is cycling to Athens and the other a gentlemen from Alaska cycling Zagreb to Zagreb. We decided to have coffee together and had some banter about our trip and next destinations. It was almost 2pm and I need to do another 40Km to Korce so we said our goodbyes and we all went off in different directions.
Upon reaching Korce, I went immediately to look for a telecom store to get connected. So you can guess where my priorities are. Anyway I found Vodafone Albania and I got a 30 day plan with 3 GB data, nationwide 200 mins calls and 500 SMS for 900 Leks ( 6.60 Euros).
With that sorted I started looking for a cheap place to stay. I arrived Korce at around 530pm and the sun is already setting. It gets dark now around 630pm. After going in circles and unable to find the suitable guest house either because it was not there or its way too expensive, I stopped by a fruit and vegetable store ask. As I was doing that a cyclist was bombing down the street and stopped by to say hello. We chatted for awhile and he told me he is an avid cyclist and also a champion Albanian downhill and cross country mountain biker. Wow what a coincidence and I told him that I was also into Mountain biking. His name is Isert Gjatoli. He also does mountain climbing and motor cross. Extreme sports kinda guy. Anyway he ask me to follow him and he brought me to a barber shop ! Turns out Algent the barber was also a cycling fan and does some touring as well. He used to be warmshower and have hosted several tourers before but now since moved to the city, he can’t host as he has a small place. Anyway he suggested I should check out the Berat hotel as it is cheap. We all went there together and he spoke to the manager and managed to get me a room for only 3.6 Euros ! After checking in and leaving my stuff at the hotel, all three of us rode to the famous brewery in town called Korca Beer and we had a round of beers and dinner at their tavern and it costed Euro 6.60 for all three of us ! Stomach filled we rode back to his barber shop and left my bike there. Next morning we arrange to have coffee together. I went back to the hotel and crashed. Tomorrow I look forward to another day or great riding. Till then sweet dreams.
Lions Project : RM 124.70