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Posted by | Evil Kristos | June 30, 2011 | No Comments

For once I had a plan; leave Berat early, stop in Gjirokastra and then head on to Sarande. I wouldn’t be a very manly traveller if that plan had worked out. And it didn’t. I mean, I got up alright, managed the 8 AM bus and did get to Gjirokastra in time. Actually it took 4 hours but still, I was impressed with myself. And there I was standing, lost as usual with no directions or an idea where I am.

As you would in such situation I simply started walking. How difficult can it be? I decided to keep right. Call it a hunch. The town didn’t look like much so far but it was quite hot. I am always lucky with my little backpack adventures. Whenever I stay or drive it’s pleasant, as soon as I have to walk I arrive 12 noon and the on the hottest day of the year. Not that I’m complaining. I just wondering how this always works.

I stopped for a coffee and asked the boy that was working there if I am on the right way to the old town. He looked a little suspiciously; as if this was a trick question. What can I say? It wasn’t. I really did not have a clue. He didn’t seem convinced and was utterly useless. He told me to take a bus. As if that would help. The coffee was good though. I just kept walking.

About twenty meters further I discovered why he had looked at me as I’d asked him to do something really naughty to something small and hairy. I kind of was in the city centre already and the old town lay something 20 meters in front of me. These things happen, dont they?

I also spotted something rather interesting. On top of the hill above the old town was a massive castle. It looked mighty impressive and not that far away. May be 1000 meters? I still had this idea, I’d walk there with my backpack, look around and then head on. That worked pretty much as you would expect.

It may have been a thousand meters but altitude difference. Half way up the hill I was in bits. I don’t know how people do this for fun. It was even less enjoyable than I thought and my expectations were exceptionally low. Hill climbing with a backpack, as far as stupid ideas, is from now on pretty much on the top of my list.

An old woman saw me struggling and as it happened she rented out rooms. Since I needed a break anyways I took a look. What she had to offer wasn’t a room but a palace. She wanted 15 Euro for a night. That’s … acceptable. I liked the town so I stayed willingly.

Later that day I went up to the castle. I soon realised I never would have made it all the way with my backpack. It gets quite steep towards thee end. It is worth the walk though. The castle is massive and the view from up there is something special. I though Berat was great but this simply dwarfed it; and on more than one level. The castle is impressive, a real fortress, and the surroundings are simply breathtaking. I was speechless. No point trying to explain it. Just look at the pictures!

Gjirokastra - view from the castle

Gjirokastra - view from the castle

Gjirokastra - view from the castle

Gjirokastra - view from the castle

Gjirokastra - finally an old plane

Gjirokastra - finally an old plane


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