🇦🇱 The Country of the Bektashi – heights and relief

Diary Entry

Wir wollen wieder nach Norden. Ganz nach Norden, was bedeutet, dass wir eine ganze Menge Kilometer abreißen müssen. Aber das Auto bereitet Probleme, mittlerweile schon eine stattliche Anzahl: ein defekter Reifendrucksensor, drei aufgerissene Reifen, eine loses Teil am Unterboden und seit kurzem lässt sich unser Wagen nicht abschließen. Immerhin versucht auch niemand unseren offenen Wagen zu plündern. Uns begegnet nirgends eine Form von Kriminalität, abgesehen von den kontinuierlichen Mordversuchen auf der Straße.

I bypass Saranda and drive along the coast over the heights. At one point we fail to get to a beautiful bay that we identify on the map. The entrance is now protected by a barrier and everything beyond is probably owned by a big-hearted benefactor with too many Mercedes.

For this we come on foot to a very old, mostly ruined, orthodox Marian monastery on a nearby mountain. No one goes there if they could be sitting on some beach or waterhole at the same time. Except us. The small medieval complex gives us a nice feeling of forgotten days and the missed idyll of a turquoise bay.

We explore the ruins. The interior of the church is very dark; only small windows allow small rays of light through the dusty air to illuminate the walls blackened by centuries of candles. A darkened triptych forms the altar and through the soot one can see faded frescoes on the walls.

Rovena is approached by a priest as we explore the ancient walls. The old man actually feels that there is a heavy burden on her heart. She also has a glimpse of the fact that something serious about her job is troubling her. Rovena and the priest talk for a long time while we enjoy the solitude of the place.

Eventually Rovena says goodbye and we follow her back to the car. The conversation did her a lot of good and over the next few days we noticed that she was less concerned. We are only surprised that we thought Rovena adhered to the Bektashi Islamic faith.

We’re fed up with the problems with the car, so we want a new one. We take a lunch break by departing to any village. It turns out we have to climb a mountain vertically to reach it. There I make a phone call and negotiate a new car with the guy from our car rental company. The meeting is scheduled to take place in a few hours. I am relieved that something will change soon.

In the meantime, we admire the small village where we ended up by accident. We have a magnificent view over the country. While we eat a good lunch salad again, we observe that all the men in the area seem to be playing backgammon together.



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