What a surprise

We actually meet a local cyclist in Albania!


We are on our way to Gjirokastra and for once we have a real headwind. Progress is correspondingly laborious and the monotonous stretch along a big road does nothing to lift our spirits. So we decide to take a coffee break: cappuccino made from powder. Great.

Almost casually, we spot a cyclist with luggage passing us. As usual, we try to guess where he is coming from. Italy, we guess. Shortly afterwards, we set off again and overtake him as he is picking some fresh figs. Of course we stop to find out if we are right. But the answer surprises us. He is Albanian and on a tour of his country. This is the first local since Austria who is crazy enough to do this.

The rest of the way we overtake each other again and again and in Gjirokastra he invites us for a coffee. He is from Shkodër, where else would he be from. It is the cycling-crazy city that we have already been to. He works there as a bike guide, a very unusual profession for an Albanian. His English is good and he tells us about his training and his plans. He proudly shows us his second-hand bicycle from a Swiss company. We chat for a while, but then he says goodbye because he wants to cycle a good bit further.

What a joyful acquaintance this was for us. And if anyone ever wants to go biking in Albania - we have a guide we could recommend...