Patiently waiting outside our hotel this morning.
We had a disappointing breakfast at the hotel before walking into the centre of town to find transportation to Berat (The town of 1001 windows). Kalliroi realised enroute that she had left her pyjamas behind so she and Yorgos took a taxi back to recover her missing clothes. The taxi driver was a ripoff artist so she was grateful that Yorgos went with her!
There was an option of taking a highway bus to Tirane and transferring there to another bus for the trip to Berat...or...hiring a driver and mini-van again so we opted for a private hire which worked really well. We left Shkoder around 10:30am and after a stop for coffee along the way we arrived in Berat around 3:00pm.
Theo and I made the booking for our accommodation (Hava Baci guesthouse) in Berat through Booking.com. We didn't realise that we had selected the highest spot at the top of a narrow, winding cobbled pathway. It will be necessary to navigate down for dinner and back up in the dark tonight...then down again in the morning and out of town headed to Gjirokaster. I don't think that we could handle more than two trips a day uphill to this place. The view is quite beautiful...looking across to the mountains.
So far we are finding that Albanians are very friendly, often smiling and exchanging greetings on the street but there has been too much rapid development since Albania became an independent Republic. As a result the character of the towns has changed with ugly new buildings. Albanians have a preference for bright colours on their homes throughout the countryside. It also seems to support large agricultural areas.
The young man who met us and took us up the steep cobbled pathway to the Guesthouse suggested that he could take us for a traditional Berat dinner so he picked us up at the bottom of the pathway and took us to an empty cold building where a table for six was ready for us. An older man was waiting and helped to serve us drinks. The TV blasted in the corner until John turned it down. We were served soup first...a kind of creamy chicken soup followed by rice stuffed peppers and a deep fried roll that consisted of ground veal wrapped around cheese and breaded with egg and bread crumbs (I think). A bowl of mandarin oranges was placed on the table by a woman before we started the main course. It was all very strange. It wasn't until we had finished and paid that we discovered the older couple were the parents of the young man. The Guesthouse belongs to them and was named after a grandparent. A mediocre meal that we ate with our coats on!!
Before heading back up the hill we walked along the pedestrian promenade and stopped for a coffee/tea. Mata joined us for the uphill walk, taking breathing breaks along with us. The end of another interesting day!!!