Saturday, 26 September 2015

Memzote to Peqin day two 25/9/15

Memzote to Peqin 

25th September Friday 

day two Via Egnatia 
22 km

Set off at 8 am after coffee and almond tart at the service station, not much else to eat. I've been drinking a large macchiato in Albania, just right. It's in what I would say is a small cup, - larger than a piccolo or espresso with a strong shot of coffee and a little milk and froth. ( Patrick has a small espresso) 

I'm using an app, GPS HD on my iPad that I've downloaded the Via Egnatia GPS tracks onto. I think it would be impossible to walk the Via Egnatia without GPS. Patrick also has the GPS tracks on his Asus tablet.
Some last glimpses of the sea leaving Memzote heading up into the hills.
Look at the size of these giant snails!

Plenty of scratchy overgrown track this morning...


Have needed the GPS many times this morning, new olive groves being planted have changed tracks and trails, making some of the walking slow, as we need to keep checking the GPS and skirting boggy ploughed padocks. Some of the track along the ridge is overgrown with prickly plants and brambles, blackberries... I get quite a few scratches accompanied by a few choice words... 
It wouldn't be a proper walk without seeing a few goats!

Beautiful views over the fertile valley and farms, 
We pass a few mostly abandoned villages.
the mountains across the valley look dramatic in the early morning light.
Phew, an easy track for a while!
Traffic jam!

Stopped for a break at 12:24 just past the mostly abandoned village of Memolaj in the shade of some old olive trees, lots of new olive groves being planted here! The old Olive tree trunks are amazing.
The erosion has created some steep sections to negotiate, this ridge looks like an extreme mountain bike track!
He's happy to pose for a photo!
Saw a few tortoise today
As we approach Peqin there are fruit orchards loaded with Apples!
Have I mentioned the hideous rubbish problem in Albania? Every gully, stream, riverbank and entrance to a village becomes the local waste dump for every piece of rubbish, or broken item! It's a real problem, apparently plastic bags are a relatively recent arrival, when at the supermarket the assistants want to put most things in a separate plastic bag, and look at us in amazement when we so "no plastic" and put items straight into our day packs!

The last section of the walk today before Peqin is along railway tracks... Apparently all The locals walk along the tracks, and there are only two trains each day, I still feel very naughty! A train comes by as we walk alongside the track, it's very slow, two carriages and I can only see The driver and two other people on board- the driver gives us a friendly wave.

The mosque and clock tower at the central square Peqin, a welcome sight! It's taken longer than anticipated to complete today's walk, and I'm exhausted! We arrived Peqin at a little after 5. A few wrong turns and backtracks extended the walk, and needing to regularly check GPS we had only a 30 minute break for lunch...

Unfortunately, no taxi available at hotel Maci to take us back in to town, and were too tired to walk the 1 km or so back... So won't get to see the castle or try some local food... 

So we have dinner at hotel Maci..., which is much further from the town centre than anticipated! I'm exhausted, and my left foot bones are aching (yes, I'm having a tired sook :( ... Good to have a shower, I'm a stinky, sweaty mess!
The owner of the Maci hotel is very welcoming, he said "my home is your home, you are welcome" one of his friends speaks Italian, and a little English so we got by communicating pretty well!

Dinner:
Perime zgare- grilled vegetables 200 leke
Zog fshati - grilled turkey, a local specialty 1300 leke for enough for two of us.
Bottle of local Merlot luani 700 leke 
Uje pa gas 50 leke 

I started eating the grilled turkey pieces with a knife and fork, the owner came over and mined picking it up with my fingers! Definitely the easier option! The turkey was very good.

Accommodation:

Hotel Maci  - about 1 km along the main road past the Mosque at the edge of town
Dinner, wine, room, breakfast 4800 leke