May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.
I will be updating this journal on my adventures in Albania 05/06/13 - 05/09/13.
Albanian Sylvester Stallone showed me his fish
ALBANIA | Wednesday, 30 April 2014 | Views  | Scholarship Entry
Allow me to set the scene.
A 20 year-old man's idea to take three month solo trip to the massively unknown land of Albania comes to fruition. The sun is piping hot, the people are friendly, though the Albanian language is toilsome, and I ride my bicycle around the streets of Shkoder, Albania's second city, feeling like Pee-Wee Sherman. My mission in Albania was volunteering for an Albanian-English family who had started a fine campsite, chancing the emerging tourism of the land. The camping ground was on Lake Shkodra's waterfront, captured in a bowl of pastured mountains; mountains that had electrical storms almost daily.
With the backdrop put in place, it's time to go about telling you how I met Albania's equivalent to Sylvester Stallone. This story starts ten minutes prior to our encounter.
I stopped and locked my bike at a side-of-the-road market shop to buy some sun-lotion and mosquito repellent. The two men inside both spoke some of my native tongue, and were surprised to see an English way out here. I tried to explain my purpose in Shkoder, but they thought I was a family camper.
The guy behind the counter told me his story:
'I been in Dover three times. Three time I go Italy then Belgium. I get in the truck for England and they arrest me three times.' He crossed his arms as if he had been put in handcuffs and the two guy just burst out laughing, I joined them. It was humorous and disturbing.
It was after the next roundabout when things became especially weird. I saw a sweet little café with a bike rack.. The mid-day heat was creating wiggly lines on the road and I needed some shade. The owner was genuinely surprised that an English guy was stopping for a coffee at his place. He was a quiet man. The only drinker in the café was not. He tried to talk my ear off, though not one word of English. With oil black hair and a curled upper lip, to accompany his huge arms, I was sure this man was some relative of Sylvester Stallone. He put his big arm around me and led me outside, pulling me across the highway. I wasn't sure what was about to happen. This was as close to threatened I had felt in Albania.
But he just wanted to show me his fish. Then get me to take a picture of him and his son. From his aggressive tone and the way he whistled his son over, I thought I was about to add some bruises to my tanned skin. Sylvester motioned me back to the café. However I jumped on my bike and rode away, utterly confused, through wiggly lines.
Tags: 2014 Travel Writing Scholarship - Euro Roadtrip
Travel Answers about Albania
Do you have a travel question? Ask other World Nomads.