Peaks of the Balkans - an adventure without boundaries

Peaks of the Balkans - an adventure without boundaries

Written by Kastriot Faci on Thursday, 15 March 2012. Posted in English

Peaks of the Balkans - an adventure without boundaries

"The Open Regional Fund for Southeast Europe", and "Promotion of Foreign Trade",  GIZ, organized a mountain walking trip "Around the peaks of the Balkans". from  15-th to 19-th of June 2011, with the participation of border states and groups  of three countries, Kosovo, Montenegro and Albania. The purpose of this journey  was to promote a new walking path boundary for mountain tourism. I chill to  participate in this mountain walking from the GIZ coordinator, Shpresa Smajli,  from Shkodra. Landscapes, route and spirit of cooperation to each member of the  group were the reason that this trip was so beautiful and successful. I was  captivated by the beauty of these mountains during this pilgrimage, from  frinedly behavior and generosity of the people through all the places we passed.  This made this trip being one of the most beautiful that I had in my life. It is  impossible to fully bring what I've experienced on this journey, but some  details of this experience, the more fun you I can describe somehow... 

First Day
We left with a van from Shkodra, tooked quickly a morning coffee, using as a  pretext to introduce the adventure with friends. From before I knew Roze Rupa  and the owner of "Tradita" restaurant Gjon Dukgilaj. One of the boys from Tirana  flashed a picture of Rozafa Castle as a background. As we use to prepare for the  shot, over the Drini Bridge, Shpresa called us time after time - she was in  another vehicle, along with the rest of the group, where was also Tina, a pretty  German girl, The project leader based in Bosnia Herzegovina.  The trip has started, while the left side of the road show us one by one to
three bridges of the River Mat, which convenes once and once opened his bottom.  Kreshnik, one of the boys, from Shkodra bur part of Tirana group, with its craft  engineer speaks to us of the Bridge of King Zog. It was built by the Italians with the most modern technique of that time, as an experiment to resist the time  he says.  Milot-Morine Highway, offers a wonderful view from both sides of it. The purity
of th black asphalt and white signs decorations, provide an aesthetic landscape  where every shooting camera would produce a good photo. Once we leave the Morina  customs we are now in the newest state of Europe, in Kosovo, where we meet the  rest of the group from Tirana. After arriving in Peja, we take the road to  Rugova. And of course the first stop is to the waterfalls. We go further, to  attend the opening ceremony in the bar "Mulliri". It is attended by the local  authorities, who have also raised a lunch for this event, making us enjoy the  tasteful products of the area.  Shortly after lunch at around 16:15 we start walking and walk about two hours,  covering the distance of 4.2 km on the rise, up to complex "Red Stone" or  "Liqenaku". I get the data from Endrit Shima, from Tirana, who has taken with
him a GPS device.

Day Two:
It's 7:15 am and our mixed group not only by nationality and gender, starts the  journey of the second day to Babino Polje, Montenegro. Gjemajl Kelmendi, part of  the Kosovo group, and also vice president of the Federation of Kosovo Highland  of climbers, informes us that the terrain will be very rugged, as it will go up  over 1000 meters from the current height, then descended to about 500 meters.  The first rest stop is a source not far from two lakes in the vicinity of  Roshkodoli Mountains. Shkodra Path has received this name because there were the  way tie between Peja and Thethi of Shkodra. At the place called Zavojë becomes  the difference between those who experience for the first time this trip and the  professionals who "leaves the shade to us" by capturing the former border with  Montenegro. According to Endrit, the GPS shows that the height at the crossing  point between Kosovo and Montenegro is 2470 meters. At 16:15 arriving in Babino  Polje, where Stanica, GIZ representative in Montenegro who introduces us with  the police forces making the casual geetings, in a friendly Serbo-Croatian.  Since the passage is not in the official border crossing points in the three  states, the police forces have offered us this extra service, after a request of  the GIZ to all countries where will pass our pilgrimage.  In Babino Polje, we get accommodation in a two-storey wooden lodge, which is  newly built, owned from Vasvije Alija, 61 years old. All her family welcomed us  very warmly and spend the night there, relaxing to get ready for tomorrow.

Day three:
Vasvija, the lady of the house has prepared for us breakfast grits, as is a  traditional cooking, with nutritional values, which longs during all day, she  says, because you have too much walk to do. Our destination today is the town of  Plava, positioned on the lake that bears the same name. The organizers have  taken the things easier for today, seing that the travelers are alittle bit  tired by walking on the previous day, in the distance of 16 km, covered for  about 8 hours.  Depart at 10:30 down on the road with asphalt , which is entirely under the  shade of high trees on both sides of the road. After we walked about 40 minutes,  up to a bifurcation in the left arm, leaving the asphalt and walking into a dirt  road, but still among the greenery of the trees. Arriving at 13.00 in Plava, we  get accomodation in the "Aqua" complex, at Plava Lake, a glacial lake, which  lies 901 meters above sea level. Here, just as in Peja, came to greet us the  mayor, Mr. Skender Šarkinović, and other authorities of Plava and government of
Montenegro.  Afternoon we visited the Ali Pashe Gucia springs, a natural majestic source  about 5 km from the town of Plava. The crystalline water resource stands in  synthony with the two farms and the buildings built since the former Yugoslavia.  They are out of order, which makes me think that still have not passed the  process of privatization. Near of, a new business has taken shape, it is the  restaurant named "Krojet" (Springs), a very grand building, built half a glass  and a half stone.

Fourth Day:
Our adventure continues, this time the organizers have booked two military  vehicles with civilian plates that make our transport towards the village  Vuthaj. Make the first stop street at the Crkos waterfall in Vuthaj and then in  the Blue Eye. It seemed to be almost the same as our Blue Eye in Saranda, but
the ground around it was paved.  Our car trip ends exactly where it is impossible to use it, because the road is  damaged by numerous winter waters that have left behind. After a photo, the  group resumes the journey toward the border between Montenegro and Albania.  After about an hour's journey, we arrive at the pyramid 16 / 8, a sign that  tells us that we have already entered the territory of the Republic of Albania.  Anduela, the girl from Tirana originated form Dibra poses for me, climbing the  pyramid. After a collective photo there, we continue to go up in a rugged shade  of high trees, where singing birds accompany us to the forest for about 30  minutes, as long as our walking under the shade of trees. Then we displayed a  beautiful mountain valley with the small holes, caused by snow and filled with  colorful flowers. Somewhere in her skirt, we sow the silent sheep shelters since  it seems they have not yet received their residents this year. Continue to walk  in the company of Pr. Osja Ahmet, who stopped in every flower, making them the  picture by explaining more about plants in each state, which are differs not  only from state to state, but also from area to area.  To remember us how high we were walking we use to see in front of us withered  stumps of the burned remains of trees in his once magnificent, mostly Pines  hited by lightning discharges in the rainy days. Mythic Silence and tranquility
of these peaks, broken here and there from the engine noise of aircraft flying  over the ridges, leaving behind white strips on the cloudless sky of June.  About 12.30 pm finally we caught on bunker first sight, which once again ensures  that that we are on the Albanian land. Some friends of mine who visited our
place a few days ago said that is not good for bunkers to be destroyed, after  they heard that the Albanian government paid about 140 Euros to destroy one of  them.  Just a few meters of climbing, we look beyond the ruins of the border post,  which had functioned only during the summer. The Arapi height Peak 2217 meters,  appeared more magnificent, while in the valley in front of, four tents were  fitted with three different colors, which were closed. Surely their residents  had to bein the expedition now . After many steps laid carefully on the descent  of the Gorge of Peja, comes a point where we should be more careful in its  reduction, in our journey, while enjoy the amazing panorama of Thethi, final  destination for the most of our group.

Fifth Day:
And tomorrow will mark the final dissolution for our group of 34 people, after a  small group has decided to continue the challenge to Valbona.  Me and a large part of the group will stop the adventure here, with a visit to  the tower of isolation and Theth Waterfall, after tomorrow I have to go back to  the normal life. After the van ride to Shkodra, my friend Gjon Dukgilaj, of the  "Tradition" restaurant, had prepared a surprise dinner for us all, (the group of  boys from Tirana and Kosovo) in his restaurant. It was there that ends my  adventure in the peaks of the Balkan border pilgrimage ... 

And hope that is not the only one ....

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About the Author

Kastriot Faci

Kastriot Faci, ka lindur në qytetin e Shkodrës më 24.12.1967. Aktualisht punon si menaxher i organizatës jofitimprurëse "The Door" me seli në Shkodër. Pasioni i tij janë fotografia, ecjet në mal, dhe organizimi i eventeve të ndryshme social-kulturore. Disa nga aktivitetet ku ai është përfshirë dhe ka kontribuar në ngritjen e tyre janë shumë unike. Ndër to mund të përmendim: Festivali i Lojrave Popullore për të rinj, Trupa Muzikore për Persona me aftësi ndryshe, Ekipi i Futbollit për Femra, Trupa e Valles për fëmijë me origjinë egjiptiane etj. Për shkak të angazhimit pranë OJF The Door dhe të hobeve të tij, ai udhëton shumë dhe aparati fotografik është prezent bashkë me të në çdo moment. Shumë nga fotot dhe disa nga shkrimet e tij ai i ka publikuar profilin e tij në FaceBook si dhe në revistën “Travel”. Ai është angazhuar si bashkëpuntor i revistës “Travel” që në numrat e parë të saj e në vazhdim. 

Comments (1)

  • Ricardo Kulturweit

    Ricardo Kulturweit

    06 February 2014 at 23:05 |
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