Are we sitting comfortably? (not so much in my case). Then I’ll begin.
The sun rose on a glorious day in Gjirokastër. The prevailing wind of the night before had passed and there was a mist in the valley. Despite having spent the night with Ben Worlock and Rutz, Ted made it to breakfast and onto the bus.
All was going well until we were pulled aside by the local police, we think due to the cracked windscreen! Sam Tesch quickly realised that this was not on the risk assessment!
Albania has no fossil fuel and gets all its power from hydro-electricity. I cycled with Bessi, our local guide, along the water from the Blue Eye Spring and he pointed out what I thought was a buzzard but apparently was an Eagle, the Albanian National bird.
We learnt a new Albanian saying, which loosely translates as life is an uphill struggle. Jeta Malore! Or as Ben says: Akuna Matada!
Lunch was well spent in the shade after the heat of the final 7 kilometers along the coast of the Ionian Sea with views of Corfu, just 1/4 mile away and is bigger than I thought.
I have to mention the electric failure during lunch. The Sea Bream was delicious and atmospheric by the light of an iPhone torch! Mike Gregoriou particularly enjoyed the fish heads.
After lunch we visited Butrint, without Ted. Amazing archaeology covering as many different ages as Troy, although I had my concerns about the archaeologists who appeared to be working with hammers and chisels rather than trowels and brushes. Brutal archaeology.
Nawal Saighal, Ramon Puig, Lesley McMillan, Colin Lovell and Brian Downton all get a mention for the invaluable advice about cadence, which has definitely got me up the hills!! These guys have the knowledge and the wisdom of how to apply it!!
What have I learnt so far? Everyday is a school day, right? Ben is not ready for responsibility for another being! Colin, our leader, is more of a Miss Leader! Bessi, our guide, is not an aunt, does not make a great roast potato and Dritain is the equivalent of a human dustbin! AND don’t forget to pay the Lekkie bill if you have enough LEK!
Anyway… Thank you guys! You Rock! Night night, sleep tight xx
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By Ali Mayfield