Crossing the border back to Albania is a joke this time. We quickly leave Montenegro at a small log cabin and re-enter Albania at an equally tiny log cabin. This bears some resemblance to the stand of an ice cream vendor passing his wares through a window.
We notice immediately that we are back in Albania. The road is in terrible condition again right after the border.
At the border we meet a nice German couple. The two tell us that they regularly spend their holidays on road trips through the Balkans. They choose the area because it is firstly very beautiful, secondly easily accessible, thirdly authentic and fourthly also very cheap.
According to the travel guide, the valley of Vermosch is another highlight of Albania. Where we expected beautiful hikes, namely in the place of the same name, we are disappointed. However, that may also have been due to the amazing backdrops of Montenegro, Valbona and Lake Koman spoiling us.
On the well-intentioned advice of a café owner with an excellent espresso, we leave our car in front of his house and an hour later we are annoyed because the scree path, which is supposedly unsuitable for our car, meanders relaxed through the valley until it got interesting at the end .
We get the opportunity to drive our car over the gravel after all, because Chris twists his ankle in an actually harmless place and now wants his dear civilians to collect him with the car.
Of course it is very hot again that day. Chris looks for a shady spot and while Uwe and I walk back to the car to get it, we hope that the vultures haven’t gotten our Chris in the meantime. In the sky we actually see one circling again and again.
We leave the village of Vermosch and cross the rugged valley of the same name on a brand-new long-distance road that meanders along almost vertical walls. The fantastic view in this gorge takes our breath away. Here we find the breathtaking view that we expected. A raging river bores its way through the deep valley while the mountains rise steeply. We invade a small town called Tamara and have a lot of fun with our adolescent jokes. Not far from here we see a natural cave which has been filled with huge ivory-white figures of saints.
In another café we take another espresso break. There, a woman ran the business while her children played in the shade. The whole house is beautifully decorated with corks from all sides. As Rovena taught me, like all Albanians I meet from now on, I greet the woman with the Albanian “Përshëndetje – sin jeni?”. A big grin spreads across her face and she tells me how happy it makes her that we greet her in her native language – no tourist had ever bothered to do that here.
We continue our way through the mighty gorges. The weather suddenly changes and we get a decent rain shower. However, this does not detract from the grandeur of the view after the long switchbacks up the hill. Unfortunately, we took the wrong exit beforehand and got to the end of one of the wonderfully developed routes, which unfortunately has not yet been completed.
We leave the fantastic Vermosch valley and slowly but steadily come down the mountains again. Once again we are approaching the border with Montenegro – where we will spend the next two hours in a traffic jam of trucks and beach goers…