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BONUS EPISODE! Hiking in Albania with the family – Thru-hike Europe LOG#24

Hi and welcome to this new logbook! We are in Macedonia, we’re about to say goodbye to our last guest, Noé but, let’s rewind, we have plenty to tell you! When Morgane left us next to the Shkoder Lake, we immediately welcomed my family. I mean my brother Noé, whom you have already seen, but also my little sister Lya, my father Lindo and my step-mother Kiwi which have helped us a lot so far and obviously it was super nice to have them with us to share this adventure. This time a logbook a bit special since they will tell you their experience! Nil and Marie welcomed us in a small agrotourism held by a super nice guy named Ahmed, he grows vegetables… Ahmed’s son was super cool, he took us on the first few hundred meters to get started in this epic! The first time we really started climbing was when we left Ahmed’s house. It seemed easy at first, then little by little it started to pull a little in the calves, the shoulders got sore… Branches everywhere, the vegetation taking over the trail, it started to be a little more complicated! After a few hours hiking and the first sensations with the bag on the back, we found an absolutely great spot and we learned how to set up a camp! It was not really obvious, there are lots of little details that we do not think about… The site was just beautiful! We felt free as a bird, far from everything, alone in the world… and together as a family! These phantom villages… covered with vegetation, we bush-wacked with the machete! With the rain, the packs on the back… wild boar trails! Forced to kneel down under the branches… there were really difficult moments. When we came out of the town of Burrel, which is not a very modern city, I would say, we came across many small villages, small houses, quite rustic! People have donkeys, cows, hens… It’s a bit old fashioned we really do not feel like we are on the European continent. While hiking in the countryside, the weather was not very mild, we heard someone behind us, running, calling us. A woman who kindly invited us to follow her to her home. There was her family, her mother-in-law, an absolutely beautiful old woman with an incredible look. We had a fabulous time with them, an incredible meeting and very touching, because those people who seemed to have nothing actually gave us everything in this moment that we shared with them. As you can see today, for those who have already seen me, you know it’s a habit, it’s raining! The “chuva” in Portugal, here we say “shi”, that’s it, it’s “shi-ing”! At the beginning, we thought that as a group of six, it would be complicated to sleep in people’s homes because we take up a lot of space! In Albania, we discovered something that we did not expect: the Albanian hospitality! It’s the coolest people in Europe! We arrived as a family of six, not knowing where to sleep, under the rain, and people open their door to you, invite you to sleep, to eat, to spend some time with them… We met a great family in a small village named Baz. The whole village was basically their house. The Gjinaj family, super super nice! We spent an evening playing chess, dominoes… And shared a great dinner too! A moment we all enjoyed, I think. Hospitality is really important and there is no awkwardness. Actually, it seems natural. As if it was normal, Normal to invite six strangers, foreigners, at home, feed them and give them a roof for the night. We went through an absolutely beautiful countryside, very bucolic, shepherds arrived from nowhere, we knew how to say hello in Albanian, the looks we encountered each time were very kind and full of surprise too. Very nice people, very kind. We headed for a larger village and we arrived on a huge turquoise lake. The setting was just sumptuous! Nil had spotted a peninsula on a lake, a bit inaccessible. We ended up like Robinson Crusoe, We built our camp, for once there was enough wood It was really beautiful! Only very good memories. We were very afraid of coming across vipers, long-nosed vipers, which are actually super dangerous, and in the end we have not seen any, at least I didn’t. But there were a lot of turtles, small tortoises which go pretty fast in fact! And we saw plenty of them. That’s it! Albanians are really charming people. I really took the dimension of Two Steps Towards Others (2PVA), because we are really getting closer to people, Now I even have an Albanian policeman friend! It was steep! At least for us… The packs weighed a bit heavy on the back but we wanted to go forward to see what was up there. We ended up in a setting totally different from what we had seen so far. The view around was just amazing, we took a trail at the edge of the cliff which was impressive. Surprisingly, Albania is not a very developed country there are few roads and nature is pretty much everywhere and it is still quite preserved. Yesterday we hiked in the forest and when we arrived at the top, we found a great spot! Some pebbles and a red soil. Kind of an Arizona atmosphere, mountains on both sides. A kind of scrub full of plants, a pretty arid landscape! We could settle there and make a small fire, it was really nice. There was a beautiful landscape and we enjoyed it a lot. After a good climb with the family, where we saw our dad struggled a bit in the climbs, we reached the sea, in Lezhe. For the last night with the family, we booked a nice room by the sea, super nice, nibble a little fish… We made the reservation on a well known website It was a bit more rock’n’roll than expected but still a nice evening. These few days spent in nature, brought me back to my childhood and filled me with a lot of energy because we were in family. Of course with the characters of each but I think it’s something that connects us and it made me happy to see that all of us was willing to get there in his own way and here we are! LYA, YOUR FIRST NIGHTS CAMPING? The nights under the tent, it really depended on the weather. The sleeping-bag is too hot so you have to undress, to open it, it’s not very handy. In addition, I have a dad who snores… But honestly, I was expecting worse. I had never camped before and I had good nights, and I can get up at 8:00 AM without much difficulty! SOME FEARS BEFORE COMING? Oh, I was full of apprehensions! I had never camped. so with back pain, I thought it was going to be really hard. Hiking is not really my thing. I must confess that in Paris, when I walk one kilometer a day, it’s huge already. So, hiking twenty kilometers! Really a HUGE apprehension, yes. MOMENTS THAT WILL STAY IN YOUR HEART? My favorite moments were camping moments where we were all around the fire to eat freeze-dried food, talking about everything and anything, making the assessment of the day, complaining about the scratches and wounds of each of us… I think it was really the funniest moments. AT THE END, A WALK IN THE PARK? It was very very very difficult. For me for Kiwi too and for Lya who grumbled a lot but we made it! We made it! and I think that the pleasure was more important and it was really beautiful. WHAT MEANS 2PVA TO YOU? It’s an experience that allows you to
to meet simple people, but people who bring us a lot in terms of open-mindedness and who give us a real lesson, each in his own way. WHAT WAS YOUR MAIN MOTIVATION? It was very important for me to share this challenge, and to accompany them in their history, somewhow to be a part of it. To share a moment together, to accompany them. AT THE END, NOT DISAPPOINTED BY ALBANIA? Without question, I made a good choice to come to Albania. I really wanted to discover this country because very apart in a way and so close to us yet. After years of communism and a back-and-forth in the modern European world, it’s really surprising as a country. What I can tell you it’s to come and discover Albania because it’s a great place! LINDO, WHAT WILL YOU REMEMBER FROM THIS TRIP? The landscape, the Albanians, those evenings around the fire without cell phone saying simple things, talking about our big calves and our insect bites… I remember this trip as an important moment, very important. YOUR WORST MEMORY? My worst memory… it’s the end!

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4 thoughts on “BONUS EPISODE! Hiking in Albania with the family – Thru-hike Europe LOG#24

  1. Genial Quelle chance d avoir pu partager votre aventure avec vos proches
    Un pur moment de bonheur "all we need is love"
    A bientot sur Youtube pour la suite😀

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