Saturday, 19 September 2015

Walking from Limar to Hoshteve Friday 18th Sept

Walking from Limar to Hoshteve
Friday 18th Sept
14.5 km

Slept like a log last night! Woke up about 6:45 am, to the music of goats, cows  and sheep bells as they walk to their pasture. temperature nice and cool this morning
Left after delicious breakfast of fresh bread, jams, cheese and what looks a little like donuts, but not sugary. 
We make up a pack of goodies for our picnic lunch. 
Saying goodbye to Mani and Margaruite
Started our walk about 8:30 am, stopped off at the Limar school, just after we left, it's a very small , quite bare schoolroom. 3 students had arrived out of the 5, a few desks and one quite rough blackboard seem to consist of the equipment. Didn't see much in the way of books or reading materials. There was maths work on the board, Mani and I discovered that the Albanians use different mathematics symbols..

Walked onwards - "ikim" not sure if that's how it's spelt.
Views down the Zagoria Valley
Past a couple of pretty shady springs, and met up with an elderly lady and her nephew harvesting fruit - they look and taste like small ripe pears with brown flesh.. 

She has 10 children, none of them live locally any more, she was happy to have a chat and have her photograph taken.
Lots of interesting and unique fruits around here. Wild grapevines, rose hips, herbs, walnuts.... For me, a foragers delight! And Cimi is great at stopping and pointing wild fruits, herbs and nuts out and picking them for us to taste.

Very hot again today, over 30 deg.
Walked with a Shepherd and his flock of sheep, plus one friendly goat! 

I love walking in the shady forest sections 
Walked through their village of Doshnica Once again, many of the houses uninhabited.

Stopped at 12:00 for lunch on a shady spot near a dry creek bed. So quiet and peaceful.

Walked past another Ottoman bridge, can see Hoshteve in the distance up the hill

Arrived Hoshtev bar 1:50 pm. The last section up hill, but not as hard, hot or exposed as yesterday
We drank a few cool waters, ooja , Cimi had a coffee!
The bar owner Katharina phoned to have the church opened.
A young man came to the bar with a huge old key!
 Took him a few minutes to open the church... Church of Saint Pietre and Paolo ( Peter and Paul) 
The doorway is apparently carved from a single piece of stone!

Words cannot express the amazement at what's inside this small village church of Hoshteve. 

The frescos, painting, icons and artwork are stunning! It was very dark inside, the flash of the camera reveals the depth of colour and detail.
I couldn't find out who painted the frescos 

Almost every surface is embellished and painted 

Cimi said it was started in 1800 and finished in 1816 , unfortunately, some of the frescos are deteriorating and flaking off, and there is some graffiti.

After taking some time to admire  the frescos of the lovely church, we continue on "ikim" up through the village to our hosts at the guest house tonight , who also own the little bar near the church.
Views over the Zagoria valley from the guesthouse at Hoshteve. Another lovely, welcoming home!
Picking walnuts fresh from the tree! So different from what we get at home. Delicious!

Katherina gathering some produce from her garden.
So many different tomatoes!
Beans, corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini , figs, nuts, peaches...
Katherina's garden is another inspirational garden!

Beautiful productive gardens provide the ingredients for a delicious dinner! Soup, byreck, cheeses, salads. And for dessert, home made creme caramel! 

Here's another guest blog from Patrick...

Well its close to a week  in Albania now and there is definitely a different culture here. 
Not to say is bad or good - just different. Having only escaped from communism less than 30 years ago most of the explanations we are getting has an "after communism" element to it. 
The generation about our age has had both. You can see sometimes in the eyes of the elderly and often in the lines on their faces that the communism years were not so good. 
There is though a strong willingness to cooperate with each other. This can be evidenced by the way that traffic seems to flow in the most haphazard way with very little road rage. Cars, pushbikes, buses, trucks and pedestrians can all head into a roundabout in what to my eyes is destined for pain, however they each escape in the direction they desired, maybe with a little serve or two required. 
This cooperation is even stronger in the mountain villages we are currently travelling in. As we meet shepherds in the hills with their flock it is obligatory to stop, chat and share some of the local growing produce including a variety of very old world peaches, plums and other fruits we still are trying to work out what they are. One has been described to me by our guide Cimi as being good for the stomach on first eating and the later in the day made international sign language that it improves the passing of wind. 
It's been two days of hiking in about 35 degrees on rocky hills. Sweat drips from everywhere. Thank goodness I've got my bamboo undies. "You and Bamboo" another plug for this great product. The sun is belting against the rocks and bouncing back at us about ten degrees hotter. 
Of course each destination so far has been pointed out by Cimi as that one - about one hour. It's only 1km away but at the top of the damn rocky hill. 
When we get there it's boots off and a welcome cup of mountain tea with some sweet treats and the obligatory glass of raki. After a couple of these the pain of the climb is numbed. Then into the shower to get the sweat rinsed away. Hang out some clothes and the relax in the arvo checking out vege gardens and looking at all the rock buildings and garden walls. Projects pop up into Anita and my head about where we could build something that we have seen. 
More rocks required.

Thanks Patrick!
Goodnight all :) more adventures tomorrow!