Trekking 2 Days Alone in ALBANIA
What is this place? Oh, my God. You know, that's the thing that I fear the most. I don't know if I am strange or weird for saying this, but every once in a while I get this overwhelming urge to be alone, just me and my thoughts. That's it. Nobody else around.
Once in a while, I like to just think that I don't have to answer emails or calls and that I can just be offline. And this last month has been insanely busy. So, so crazy. I never got a chance to really sit back and have me time. And so I reached that point where I just knew that I was becoming irritable and moody and exhausted all the time.
And I knew that it was probably time for me to go. Anyway, I decided very spontaneously to go on a trek by myself here in southern Albania. I brought along my tent, my sleeping bag, some food for the road, some water, and decided that I should just go.
It's eight a.m. on a beautiful morning and I'm here with Eni, who is my local guide. Hello. And Eni is dropping me off at the entrance to the valley.
Here we are! We've arrived at the last village, it's called Polican, and from here, I walk for two or three days. I wish you good luck. I'll need it! And just like that, I'm all alone here. My plan was to cross the entire valley, 40 kilometres in two days. The brave man.
This has been quite the up and down, I mean, 10 kilometres, it's not that much, but keep in mind, my pack weighs around 10 KG. Which makes it a little bit harder on the uphills, as modest as they look. I've got another 5KM until the village where I would like to set up camp for the night. And I have maybe three hours to get there. Because sunset...
comes pretty early in winter. One of the best things about Albania: Byrek. Food tastes so good after you've been walking. It's quite the challenge to get across these bushes. For the rest of my trip to the village of Hoshteve, I decided to follow these shepherd tracks. They cut across the long grass so you can more or less see where you should go.
And worst case scenario, I can always backtrack to the main road. Oh, my God, what is this place? Oh, I broke into a serious sweat there. Trekking through these - agh! - these bushes. So my trip through the bushes resulted in...
me losing the windsock for my microphone. Okay then, wind noise, please come at me. You know, that's the thing that I fear the most whenever I trek alone. Shepherd dogs. These pastures here are used for grazing sheep pretty much all year round. And, you know, shepherd dogs are, of course, used to protect the flock.
[I'm scared of] Not wild animals, not people, but potentially dangerous and vicious shepherd dogs. Next time I want to invest in one of those funky little devices that make a high-pitched sound, you know, to scare them off. I'm going to see if I can find the shepherd and say hello to him.
Oh, my God, the shepherd is a girl. I did not expect this, so cool! Oh, my God, I really want to say hello to this shepherd here, let me see if I can find him. Behind the bushes. Hello! Oh, so nice.
And your name? Me: Eva. Fimio. Oh, what a nice gentleman he was, I think, he was telling me in a mix of Greek, Albanian and Russian about his grandchildren. So sweet. More dogs...
in the middle of my way to the village. I can see the shepherd and the flock far in the distance, but the dogs are just.... they stayed behind, and they're here and they won't let me cross. So in order to get around the dogs, I can just go through this little canyon and get out that way. And that way I avoid them completely.
Mm hmm. I'm going to put the camera away and take extra caution here. Mission accomplished. Leaves in my hair, bits of bushes and trees, but at least I'm safe. I've just walked through this village here, it's called Sheper, and it's almost completely deserted, most of the inhabitants, most of the people that live here actually only live here in the summer and in the warm seasons.
And for winter, they you know, they kind of leave for greener pastures, towns and cities where they can live a little bit more comfortably, you know, so there's nobody here. Do you see those? Those little structures are like a hallmark of Albanian history. There's about 200,000 of these bunkers just scattered all across Albania. That's a massive number in a country of three million people. The story goes as follows.
Albania's former communist dictator, Enver Hoxha, was so paranoid about foreign invasions that he decided to build a giant, enormous system - network - of these bunkers all across the country, to protect Albania from the outside world. No invaders ever really came but the bunkers remain. Imagine sitting in here and looking out for the enemy... Feels positively medieval. Here's what happened.
The moment I stepped foot in the village, I saw Liria - this lady - emerge from her house. It's as if our meeting was meant to be. Following this lady to her house.
We exchanged greetings and pretty much immediately, Liria said that I should spend the night in her house... which, of course, I said yes to. Liria just prepared me a bowl of bean soup, which is so nice... and she's just making me chai, too. The spoon...
And the thing that I love the most: fresh cheese. It's amazing. Straight from the sheep.
That is good. So good. The guys are laughing at me for talking into my camera. Socks! Oh, my God, I can't believe it Liria is... So sweet, she's such a sweet lady.
I mean, not only did she welcome me to her house, feed me, she then proceeded to tuck me into bed. And I'm someone that she met only like three hours ago. She doesn't know me. I'm a stranger, a foreigner. We can't even talk properly.
We just exchange words that I get from Google Translate. I mean, this is like beyond hospitality. This, I think, is just genuine human kindness and trust. I mean, imagine some random person, a stranger who doesn't even speak your language, knocked on your door in the middle of the afternoon and asked if they can camp in your garden or stay over at your place.
I'm very, very humbled and very, very overwhelmed, actually. Hey, I'm going to get to bed because there is another really long day of hiking ahead of me tomorrow. So. My gosh, Liria cooked me, like, a full-on breakfast with cheese and scrambled eggs and bread. And tea. I'm about to embark on the second leg of my journey, and this is the second day.
The weather is looking a little bit gloomy, but... My gosh, this should keep me going. It's always difficult to say goodbye to people who show you so much kindness, but it was time for me to keep going.
I bade Liria farewell, promised that I would come and see her again, and as a little thank you gift, I gave her a picture of a saint that I was carrying for my grandma. See that bridge behind me? Honestly, it looks like something straight out of a fairy tale, and keep in mind, I am like deep, deep, deep in the middle of nowhere in a very remote valley in Albania where there is no road access, and yet... here stands a beautiful, stunning super high bridge that connects the two mountains.
Rain! It was so beautiful and sunny, and now, it's about rain again. Let me find some cover. I did see this coming, so I brought a little something to cover up the camera and make sure that it doesn't get wet.
A plastic bag. Wow, can you imagine living in this house? In the middle of the valley, there is no phone signal here. Sheep.... Horses, cows, the mountain. The view of that mountain every morning...
The sound of the river below, every morning... And these cats! Well, this is taking a little bit longer than I expected. I am 20 kilometres in... it's been a really long day. A lot of ups and downs the entire time, three kilometres left, and just under one hour left of sunlight After that it gets dark.
All right. Muster all my strength! Let's go. You see it? It's there. That's the village I'm going to! It gives me so much energy to just see the village and know that it's so close. OK. And last mission: since it hasn't been raining and I haven't had to use my plastic bag to shield my camera, I'm using it to collect some trash that I found along the way, mostly plastic.
Oh, here it is, the village of Pesthan! Oh, my God. 22.7 KM today and eight and a half hours of walking. I am exhausted, but I am so happy to be here. Oh, my God. Oh, this feels so good. And that over there is Eni in his Red Skoda! Great! Yes.
All right, so it turns out I wasn't completely alone on this trek. Not as I initially hoped for. But you know what? It turned out amazing. I feel so fully recharged and rejuvenated and ready to be integrated back into society. You know, I think the moral of the story is that no matter how fixated you may be on an idea of something, it's always worth opening yourself up to new encounters, new possibilities and new experiences. And I think that readiness to adapt and change is is a really brave quality.
And you know what I like to say about being brave, right? The world belongs to the brave. All right. If you enjoyed this video, make sure that you like it and subscribe to my YouTube channel for more adventures from around the world. Currently in Albania. All right. I'll see you in the next one.