A walking holiday had been arranged for Albania and as part of this we had a pick-up from Podgorica in Montenegro, so after a short ride we were at the border. So disappointed not to get a passport stamp as I had envisaged the impressive double-eagle crest of Albania. Anyway we were soon in our hotel in Skhodra being briefed on our trip. We had time for a quick walk around town and found this Mother Teresa status. One’s a saint, loved by millions. The other is Jonna...

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We booked this as an individual walk for two but found a few other people were also on our transport for the same walk. Its basically run as your own walk but if you like the other people nothing stops you walking together or meeting up in the evenings. Cool!. After a bus transfer we were put on a ferry to ride up a beautiful gorge from where the walking started. 

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3 days of hiking including the impressive Valbone Pass day crossing saw us head through beautiful mountain scenery, alpine flower meadows and fine rivers. Highly recommended. It can be done independently but I wouldn’t advise carrying your full pack. Ours went on horses.

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Nearing the Valbone Pass up a particularly rocky and steep section

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At the end of the walk we were able to visit a blood fued tower where people convicted by the local villages of heinous crimes were locked up to consider for a while. Local churches also proliferated and this was a fine, if simple, example.

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After the walking we had a transfer to Tirana for a few nights. A very interesting city there is a huge amount of history for a country that was heaviliy isolated from the rest of the world. Old Secret Service bunkers, soviet era statues, good food and coffee. On a particularly lively Saturday night was were lucky to witness anti-government demonstrations and even luckier to be tear-gassed on our restaurant terrace. We met up with a number of people from our walking group too which added to the fun.  

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© Paul Hyland 2012