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Zagoria

ALBANIA
April/May 2019

Walking with the kids between highland villages in the green and beautiful “hidden” valley of Zagoria.

DAY 1 (29/4): GJIROKASTER & HOSHTEVË


View from the terrace of our hostel in Gjirokaster. The big building on top of the hill is the castle.


View over the old town from the Gjirokaster castle.


On our way to the guesthouse in Hoshtevë village. Our host picked us up in his jeep. Finn was very happy to sit in the front seat.


The road was very scenic. It crossed over a mountain pass and through this gorge.


During a short break, the man told us that this pit was the result of someone searching for gold.


Plenty of flowers and trees with pink flowers during this time of the year.


View of the Zagoria valley from Hoshtevë.


Nice lunch in the home of our hosts.


Interesting bird’s nest.


Their rakia destillation equpment.


The house we stayed in, located further down in the village.


Groundfloor was a bar.


View from the balcony.


Our neighbor.


Next to our house was this nice church.


Inside the church.


A lane in Hoshteve.


Cool tyre staircase.

DAY 2 (30/4): DOSHNICA


We cheated, and got a ride to Doshnica instead of walking. The large tree is of a species that does not exist anywhere else in the world than the Zagoria valley.


Entering Doshnica village.


A helmet on a wall. Looked like it was from the first or second world war. If you know the answer, please tell me :)


The door on the right is where our hosts live.


At out host’s house. Luckily, his family was on a visit. It was a lot of fun hanging out with them. All the children and grandchildren live in Greece.


A portrait of Enver Hoxha in the house.


The neighbor was having a BBQ.


The village school was abandoned.


It was sad to see the school falling apart like this.


The school closed when communism fell. Perhaps a clue to why they had a portrait of Enver Hoxha in their house… Most villages here (and in many other parts of Albania) got depopulated very fast when communism fell.


Old teaching material. The remaining items should be taken care of before they decay further. I would suggest to put them in a village museum.


Also fit for a museum (I guess it’s communist propaganda that they taught the pupils?)


The tiny church was still in good condition. And our kids enjoyed ringing the bell :)


The son of our host followed us down to the waterfall, about a kilometer below the village.


The waterfall from above.


The last climb down to the waterfal was steep and with loose ground. He chopped out cavities in the ground that we could put our feet in.


The waterfall was really nice. We spent a long time there, swimming, playing and eating lunch.


Back at the house we visited their cows.


Dinner. The milk in the mugs was still warm…


They showed us some of their old tools. These were accessories for sharpening scythes.


They showed us this old saw and said “kommunismus!”, then they showed a motorsaw and said “demokratia!” :)


For making butter

DAY 3 (1/5): HIKE FROM DOSHNICA TO LIMAR


Early morning at the house. The sound of birds singing was amazing. It is so peaceful here, many miles from traffic and pollution.


There were clearly several Golden Oreoles (Swedish: Sommargylling) in the trees around the garden. And we even got a clear view of one! In Sweden it is very rare to see this beautiful bird.


First breakfast: rakia, gezuar!


Second breakfast: food :)


Time to say goodbye and walk on to Limar. Thanks for wonderful hospitality! I truly hope to visit these guys again.


Lunch by a stream.


Reaching Leskaj village.


Invited by a local for coffee :)


A short section of the trail between Leskaj and Limar had eroded, and was a little bit tricky to pass.


Better not fall… :)


Natural bath tubs. We just had to stop for a swim!


Zagoria landscape.


Close to Limar.


The first house in Limar village.


Limar


Sheep on their way home from grazing in the mountains, passing the church.


Our house.


Across the yard was this house where we had our meals.

DAY 4 (2/5): LIMAR VILLAGE


Feeding the baby goats.


Our kids loved climbing on the sandy hills.


Morning sun shining on Limar.


Our host’s mother riding (she’s well over 80 years old :))


All over the village, sheep were leaving their houses and headed up the mountain.


Small bridge in the upper part of the village.


Typical gate.


An old couple invited us for coffee, rakia and sweets. They were 84 years old, but live here all year and still grow food etc. Strong people!


Their house.


Time to leave Zagoria. We really enjoyed the valley. Our host drove us with his jeep down the mountain. It was a scenic drive, passing Maleshove village and reaching Kelcyre town. The photo shows a mountain above the Kelcyre gorge.


Above Kelcyre stands the ruins of an old castle.


In the town of Permet.

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