Tuesday 29 September 2015

Elbasan to Mirake day five 28/9/15

I Elbasan to Mirake

28th September Monday 

day five Via Egnatia 
21 km

I think we're up way to early ready for breakfast at 7 am! No hotel staff to be seen anywhere, although the TV is on. Staff appear about 7:20 and we have a good breakfast of omelette, toast and coffee.

Time to leave the serenity and luxury of the Real Scampis Hotel, heave on our packs again and fill up water bottles "ikim" walk onwards... I've put an extra layer of "me more foam" inner soles into my boots, hopefully they'll help cushion my feet a little more!

We head away from the city of Elbasan towards the Hills.
There are lots of intriguing market stalls on the way out of Elbasan,

 I think you could pretty much buy anything along the Rruga Thoma Kalefi in Elbasan! 

Cooking gear, timber butter churns...
Or we could buy some livestock or poultry for dinner!

Patrick decides to stop off at a Vodafone shop and get a data sim for his iPad $9 AUD for 3 GB. Took about half an hour! I waited outside and had a coffee, I was the only female sitting in the outdoor coffee shop! Lots of local men sitting around smoking, having their espresso and morning raki!

The walk has been lovely this morning, I need to hold on to the feeling of no pain, the pack not feeling heavy and having a little spring in my Step! 

Lots of rural farm scenes of grapes, crops, fertile hills...

We stop for a break at 11 am at a lovely spring, 

where there are old intriguing trees, all with gaps in their bases. According to the guide book this is an old stopping place for travellers and caravans, and the trees have grown up from stakes put into the ground to tether animals... At this point it looks as though we're a quarter of the way along the route for today.

Heading along a new tar road with a bit of busy traffic into the village of Shushica

Somewhere amongst that load of grass is a donkey!
Shushica seems to be a thriving agricultural village! Lots of very productive little farms.

Harvesting corn - maize 
As we walk higher up into the hills above the farms and villages, there's lovely views down the valley!
The tracks are much easier to follow today, we still need the GPS to check for the locations of new paths. We head up the steep hill.
View to the river far below, and Elbasan, now way in the distance. That's where we started this morning!

Meeting some locals coming down from the hills with medicinal wild flowers and herbs they've collected. They point to our packs, and then their loads... Yes, tourista!

Some of the pretty and delicate herbs and wildflowers up on the hills.

There's quite a few demolished - dynamited Hoxta Communist bunkers along the ridge line up here !

We start to head gradually back down hill towards the river Shkumbin

We see a random, out of the blue red and white painted way mark! The first we've seen... And don't see any more. Not sure what that's about...

Hectic traffic heading towards Polis Vogel village! 
Nice scythe!
Heading down along springs and streams towards the river Shkumbin

Over another suspension bridge 

Quite an interesting and enjoyable walk today.
The shop in Mirake as described in the guide book doesn't exist any more, and there was no one to ask about camping by the river near Mirake. Al lady walking along the road gives us a bunch of grapes each, but she doesn't know if camping is OK...

We walked to the main road and turned right to walk about another 600 m to "Hotel Ballkan" Arrived at hotel Ballkan at 5:15 pm
Negotiated 50 € for b&b - it's right by the river 

and quite a resort! Even a swimming pool!

Vegetable soup 350 leke 
Grilled vegetables 300 leke 
Tzaziki. 200 leke 
Calamari 800 leke 
Local white wine from Macedonia - quite florally but not too sweet
Beers for Patrick


Hotel Ballkan 50€ b&b 
PH: 0699466888 

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