“Dy hapa drejt tjetrët” (Two Steps Towards Others in Albanian) So great to have the family with us! Conditions that take us so far away from our usual comfort conditions and especially this small hierarchy that there are in families we move away from all that, we get in the nature, we discover others differently and I think that it welds us, it brings us closer. A really interesting experience. “Falemnderit” (Thanks) One week, it was a bit short for me… So close to the Kosovo border, Obviously I had to extend the experience a bit! We made a stop in Shkodër, there we were lucky enought to be on local TV in Shkodër district. After the dubbing in Serbo-Croat, we were doubled in Albanian this time! We took a rather special ferry, on Lake Komani. The ferry dropped us off in the small village of Lekbibaj. Trails quite cluttered, with the machete here and there, boom, boom, boom Of course, we lose a lot of time in this kind of situation. Do something funny! No ! Too late ! Nowhere had we been welcomed like in Portugal, Since we arrived in Albania, we will start to say that nowhere we have been welcomed like in Albania! Welcoming the traveler is part of an ancient code of honor, even medieval, called Kanun and whose hospitality is one of the four pillars. The rules of Kanun also have terrible consequences. Vendetta (crime of revenge), forced marriages… The Kanun tends to disappear but it is still present in some regions of the north of the country In 2019, it is still a pretext for many atrocities At the end of the day on the road, we met this guy who was bringing his cows back to the barn, we started to discuss, soon enough he asked us where we were going to spend the night and he invited us all three, to spend the evening with him and his wife, to have dinner, to make us discover this small museum that he keeps at home with old instruments, objects of everyday life… Ismael is passionate about history so he taught us a lot about his country and its culture. Leaving Ismael, we headed for an official border since there are still quite a few mines on the border between Kosovo and Albania. There you have to be wary. From time to time you also have to know how to take your hat off and show your passport! No, who cares… We headed for Gjakovë, the first city we crossed in Kosovo. Always this same little routine: to buy a sim card, try to withdraw some local currency… In Gjakovë, we also welcomed a new guest! Ursula also crosses Europe, in the other direction. She left Ukraine eight months ago and she’s heading home in Wales passing through the Balkans but also the entire Iberian Peninsula, She tells you about it! Hey! I’m Ursula and I am also walking across Europe, from Ukraine down through Southern Europe, across to Spain and then back up to Britain. I kind of became aware of them on social media, their route was coming from Portugal across to Turkey and we were gonna cross! I came to meet them for us to walk together. For the two days that I met them for, we were crossing the flat land, but they were about to go and cross the mountains and it just didn’t feel right! and I thought like I had to come and cross the mountains. To get the true experience! I stay two, three more nights with them. We went up towards the higher places and it started to get tough you know, the weather wasn’t great, we got very wet and then today we tried to go up and cross the mountain and the wind was just too strong and we had to turn back. I really feel like I’ve got the whole experience, quite moments, the meals together, and the humour… And it’s just been really great because I’m walking alone I never get the kind of the teamwork that I’ve seen these guys showing eachother. I kind of didn’t appreciate their level of skill you can kind of see it you know with the beautiful photographs and everything and I really kind of been able to apprciate the true strengh of this team and that’s been really good to experience. I am lucky enough to be crossing Europe in a different direction to three other huge worldwide walkers.
What I found really valuable about this experience, is to see what other people are doing and who they’re creating their own adventures and I can learn. I’ve learned a lot from coming here, from their skills but also in the attitude. I mean it’s all in the name! You know, to go towards other people and to make the first move. And I think… I can take that back to my walk. For sure. My project, my walk, is called One Woman Walks. I’m walking alone, from Ukraine back to Britain, 8,000 kilometers. Thank you so much for having me, your open attitude has been really great and I’m really really pleased I came. Thank you! For our last night in Kosovo, we chose to rest in a small stable we were in the rain, pretty wet, we thought that having a roof over our heads would not hurt for the night. Big mistake! We got almost devoured by giant rats! Kosovo represented four days on our itinerary. We tried to see as much as we could, we tried not to go too far away from inhabited areas. At the scale of other European countries, it’s a very small region. From A to Z, in inhabited areas as in parks, we came across places that were littered with garbage. I will reach the point of Skopje in Macedonia. So it makes a 5th country on my 2PVA list! Maybe you’ll see me again, maybe not! If it’s not a see you soon, it’s a goodbye. I found 100 Lek! Here we are in Macedonia, the 12th country of the adventure. We are about to welcome our next guest, if you follow us from the beginning you normally know him already. Bye! See you soon!