I didn’t know much about Albania when I left Sweden in my camping bus in the beginning of June. Now – 7.869 kilometres and 34 days later - I feel excited, inspired, happily exhausted, and filled with impressions and memories from a rich country that the rest of Europe is just beginning to rediscover.
Yes, rich! Well maybe not financially – but in the big variation of nature, and above all: in kindness and happiness in the great Albanian people. Especially I found this in the small villages where life is tough with hard work in an old traditional farming culture – very little of money; but much of smiling and laughs!
I went to ”every corner” of the country and in two blog-entries and some pictures I like to show You small fragments of what to see in Albania.
I started with The Prespa National Park in the East. The great Lake Prespa stretched from Albania to both Macedonia and Greece. The famous Dalmatian pelican-colony is located on the Greek side, but you can see fishing birds close to the Albanian shore. The big pelicans lay like white fluffy sheep on the lake! I was lucky to come close to one of them when I accompanied a fisherman in his boat.
Also in the East I visited Shebeniku-Jabllanica National Park. Actually one of the youngest NP in Europe, opened in May 2008. Together with the rest of the Balkan countries this NP is a part of „The Green Belt“-project, an area that will try to save the big predators wolf, bear, and especially the small rest of Balkan lynx. The National Parks in Albania are not only homes for wildlife, but also crowded with people that have always lived there. For example in Shebeniku-Jabllanica NP the main prey for the great predators is actually livestock, so an image with goats and herds is actually a very good picture-example from this NP.
In the West, at the coast of the Adriatic sea, I found a great wetland: The Karavaste Lagoons NP. This Ramsar site is especially important as a wintering place for many water-bird species, and it is also the most western nesting place for Dalmatian pelicans in Europe. Again I could follow a local fisherman and take a careful look at the great birds’ nesting-island. Before I go to the South I also experienced some very nice early mornings in the delta’s pine forest.
Suddenly my bus started to behave very strange. Finally it didn’t behave at all – didn’t start… I visited altogether five car-repair-stations. They told me I had got ”bad petrol”… They really tried to help me in the best way they could, but nearly a week was destroyed with these car problems. If you drive your own car to Albania make sure that you only fill up petrol in the biggest gas stations beside the biggest roads!
In the next blog I got my car working again and we take a look at South and North-Albania.
Anders Geidemark / Wild Wonders of Europe
Please note that blogs reflect our photographers' opinions and not necessarily those of the directors of Wild Wonders of Europe.