I Elbasan to Mirake
28th September Monday
day five Via Egnatia
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,
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!
Harvesting corn - maize
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!
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...
Nice scythe!Heading down along springs and streams towards the river Shkumbin
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
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