It is getting morning in Përmet. I feel rested, but my companions don’t. They have a mighty hangover from the night of drinking. We guys still have a decision to make. Do we tolerate the girls with us any longer?
We quickly agree that the time with the two of them has been very fun and uncomplicated so far and that we would certainly like to endure it a little longer. At breakfast we tell them the decision, which of course makes them very happy.
We drive a little further north to get to the town of Gjirokaster on a remarkably well-developed road. In between there is again breathtaking scenery to be seen as we follow a gorge and a mountain river over which many exciting bridges lead.
We also finally find a workshop that can look at our tires and the associated sensor, since the tire pressure warning light has been on since day one. Interestingly, we find that we even have too much pressure on the tires.
However, the correction does not show that the lamp has been forced to stop its activity. The workshop man cannot help us. But we now notice nice big cracks in three of our tires. So now we have an underbody scraping the tarmac, a broken tire pressure sensor, and three punctured tires. Running!
We have a lot of time because we are making unusually fast progress on the road. So decide to stop in the city of Tepelenë on the way to Gjirokastër. The travel guide promises a beautiful fortress there.
The city turns out to be a stronghold of Deutsche Telekom, because the main mile is flagged with magenta-colored 4G propaganda and there is free WiFi throughout the city, sponsored and accessible without registration or other usual traps from Telekom.
There are the usual shops. As in Tirana, it is remarkable what extravagant and low-cut dresses are on display in many shops in the cities of this Muslim country.
Just imagining how these clothes fit on well-built bodies causes men to have pleasant difficulties concentrating. In the evenings you can see these dresses in action in the cities.
The fort is a disappointment; there is only one wall and one gate, behind which people have now built their own houses. A plaque commemorates Lord Byron, who passed through here on his travels in the 18th century and sent his followers in England long accounts of his travels, which are now famous.
From one moment to the next we end up at a private wedding party and are invited to join them as guests in the evening. We agree and use the time until the evening to visit nearby Gjirokastër.
We cover another beautiful route to get to the city of freedom fighters and poets, the most beautiful city in Albania, as they say.
The city of Gjirokastër is actually as fantastic as I’ve heard. As we arrive at dusk, the medieval old town is bathed in warm, golden light. We park the car in one of the countless small alleys and explore the city built in the mountains at many meters of altitude.
For the Albanians, the city has great historical importance, since the freedom fighter Cerciz Topulli and the writer Ismail Kadare were born and lived here. Otherwise, it is simply considered the most beautiful city in Albania (with Berat). The houses are whitewashed in the old style, have flat roofs made of dark brown tiles and are extremely angled.
We climb up to the fortress and enjoy the view over the gold-soaked city.