Friday, 25 September 2015

Starting the Via Egnatia from Durres to Memzote day one 24/9/15

Starting the Via Egnatia from Golem to Memzote

24th September Thursday day one

18.5 km - in reality with back tracking and walking further to the hotel, I think we did about 23 km!
Definitely need both the guide book and GPS on the Via Egnatia... No reassuring red and white way markers so far on the walk!

We caught the 7:20 am bus from Himara (it started at Saranda) to Tirana, we can get off at Durres. The bus stopped just 100 m down from the hotel, very handy! another 20 seater furgon, 1000 leke each to Durres. 
Amazing scenery travelling north up,the "Albanian Riviera" with very narrow, windy roads.
An interesting bus ride, the small villages In  the hills before the Llagora pass look charming.
the small coastal villages finish once we head up the incredibly steep awe inspiring Llagora Pass
The northern side of the pass is in complete contrast to the southern side! the northern side is lush and cool, covered with huge trees and forest.
The bus stopped on the way down the Northern side of Llagora pass for a break at this little bar / cafe.  Some people had soups and meals, I had a coffee. 

We arrived at the southern outskirts of Durres bus stop at 12:00
We decided to have a lunch and get some water - souvlaki rolls. 200 leke for 2. Then we got a taxi to the starting point of the Via Egnatia- Golem bar 700 leke, about 10 minutes. Started walking 1:45 pm

The walk is through rural farming areas. Views back to the coast.
Communist Bunkers appear randomly in the farms...
After all our gorgeous sunny weather in Albania the last two weeks, we get caught in an afternoon Autumn storm this afternoon ! On with the wet weather gear! The track quickly turns into a mud slide.





I would strongly recommend taking the wet weather route after Helmas! We went the dry weather route and found the path stopped at a watermelon field , we used the GPS but couldn't find a "path" ended up going through some blackberries, the melon field and crossed a creek, scrambled up a slippery slope...

Arriving in Memzote village. Lots of people raise turkeys in this area.


Golem to Memzote, we went a few km further to the main road and a hotel near Kryeuz, on the main motorway road , had to do an graceful scramble over the motorway divide! 
Meant to be 18.5 km but, with our backtracking a couple of times, and walking further to the motel I think we've walked about 22km . Not a bad effort for an afternoon of walking! Only just made our destination before dark though...

Arrived at the Hotel Vellezerit Ajdini, 7:10 pm  room 2800 leke. Lovely shower to get the mud off!
Had a dinner at the hotel, very blokey establishment... Spaghetti with Ragu and salad. 

Accommodation:

Hotel Hotel Vellezerit Ajdini 2800 leke. Room only.