Day 13 – Lushnje to Elbasan

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Sometimes it’s Lushnje; others it’s Lushnja. take your pick. Pilo Lala’s rooms are fine, and breakfast is included in the ridiculously low price (2,000 Lek). The shower stopped half way through, just as I was all soaped up, but it came good again in a couple of minutes, thank goodness. I’d stay here again.

Breakfast. An couple of slices of bread, an omelette, a slab of goat’s cheese, a short black, and a glass of OJ.About a 4. I ate it all; never know when you’ll get a feed on the road.

On the road North by 8:00am. Hot already. I missed a turn on the edge of town, just past the graveyard

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(Albania assumes you know where you are going; intersections are rarely signed, and the one I missed was a ‘Y’ junction). It cost me a few Km, and a fair bit of extra climbing; but I was more than repaid by the glorious countryside.

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This part of Albania is heavily, and very prettily, farmed.

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The road started out as a very well maintained road, but steadily deteriorated until it was a goat track.  Really. Sorry about the quality of this pic, but this is what the road had become. I went left, past the goats. At least there was no other traffic 🙂

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Every now and then I’d get a glimpse of the ribbon development in the distance, strung along the main road, but it took a while to get there; the “road” was just a corrugated mud track, that went up and down like a switchback, Too steep to ride up in parts, and too dangerous (for me) to ride down in others.

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I stopped in Sheze, a one donkey village, grabbed a coffee and checked my bearings. I was about 10 km to the East of Peqin,

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where I was going to head East anyway. All good; a little slower, maybe, but I’d got there. I picked up SH7, and headed towards Elbasan.

Yesterday’s early mark meant I was well rested, and I made good time along SH7, – a main road, but one with the White line separating cyclists (and other slow stuff, like donkeys and pedestrians) from the main roadway. It’s also a fairly new road, so there were no steep ups or downs.

I stopped at the roundabout just shy of Elbasan; there was a small cafe, so I grabbed a beer and checked my map. It showed that the road to Tirana became a motorway after about 1 km, and that the old road, SH3, did a bit of up and down, and would add about 55km to my day. I’d already done 50+, which is my target to get to the end of my Schengen visa safely, so I cruised into Elbasan central. The outskirts made me think I’d made a bad mistake; post-industrial decay, dead factories, massive chimneystacks, pollution at it’s best (or worst?)

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But the city itself is a surprise; elegant in parts (though it’s a thin veneer, folks – this is typical cabling)

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with a great pedestrian stretch along the old city walls. My hotel (again, 2,000 Lek, but no breakfast this time) is at one end of the precinct. Here’s the view from my room:

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Once booked in, I took a walk. There is a ruined 5th century church next to the hotel – totally unprotected; people were sitting on it’s broken columns, eating lunch)

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and the city walls are lined with cafes and shops. I had a falafel kebab for lunch, washed down with an expresso and a glass of water. For a piss-poor country, the cafe set were out in force; surprising, as it was around 2:00 pm midweek.

It’s also very warm today. By 5:00pm I’d had enough, and I’m now back in my hotel room. More climbing tomorrow, so I’ll get another early night.

See you down the road.

 

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