A totally underrated tourist destination is the northern mountainous landscape of Albania. Komani Lake is very similar to Norway's fjord landscapes. From the most southern end of the reservoir, a ferry travels to the northern foothills. Almost half a day you are on the ship and can watch the breathtaking cliffs of the gorge. Hard to believe that there are such rock formations in the Balkans.
When we arrived at the northern spur of the reservoir, a small bus was already waiting for us, which transported us another hour through the mountains. By noon we had reached our base camp at the foot of the mountains. Since half the day was still ahead of us, we decided to start the first part of our stage. On top of my camera equipment we had a rain jacket, a thin sleeping bag and a two-man tent.
At first it went straight for a while over dried river courses almost at ground level. Not many trucks drove past us - it was incredibly quiet. We got closer and closer to the mountains and the slope became steeper and steeper. The tent was in one hand and the camera in the other. The ascent brought me to my limits several times.
We had been running up the steep hill for several hours when we discovered a camp in the late afternoon. Two people greeted us warmly. They offered us a place to sleep for the night - but we wanted to pitch our tent further up. The two campers advised us against setting up our tent further up the mountainside. After considering for a short time, we decided to continue hiking.
Slowly the dusk began. After looking for an hour for a suitable camp, we set up our tent in the shelter of a large boulder. There was hardly any rotten wood around, which we urgently needed for our campfire. It suddenly started to squirm and rain a little. It was only an hour later, that we were able to light a fire with small branches that we had found under the boulder.
Just before dark, we heard voices from far away. A man with his horse crossed our camp and greeted us kindly. He also thought that the location of our camp was not ideal for the night. Only when it finally started to rain and the wind became stronger, we realized, why so far all of us had advised against this place. As we did not have any other gear besides our thin sleeping bag, it got pretty cold very quickly. At least a pair of long pants or a mattress would have been a good start.
At night, strange sounds were heard in the distance. We both shuddered with fear. None of us could say a word. Of course we had not looked in advance, whether in this part of Albania bears or other animals could be on the way. In the end, the night was very short and incredibly cold - at least we had no encounter with any animals.
Our camp was completely dismantled within a few minutes the next day. Another two hours we walked up the steep slope, until we finally reached the summit ridge. The view from up there was incredible. All the hardships were forgotten by this view. After crossing the summit ridge we had to descend. When we arrived in the valley after half a day, a truck was waiting for us to take us back to Shkodra.
© 2022 thomaschristiankeller