Friday, December 23, 2016

200. A New Adventure Begins

So after a short delay at Athens airport ( ... mechanical problems so they said ... !!! ... ) it was up into the air for just enough time to have a coffee and a ham roll and a slice of sticky Baklava - over the snow-clad peaks of the ranges of northern Greece - and down into Albania for my next adventure.


My Airbnb host, Bers collected me at the airport and an hour later I was settled into my apartment in suburban Tirana where I'll spend the next two weeks ...



Day one - and after consulting my list of things to see and do, I decided the first thing to do was head for the hills and get a good look at this city ... and a bus ride and a long walk later I was in view of my destination Mount Dajt - and the Express cable car to take there ...


The mountain is to the East of the city and rises to a height of about 1600 metres ... but the ride takes you to about half way up to just 1000 metres ...



... so here we go ...



Over farm houses and past apartment buildings so low at first that I can almost see what the people below are having for lunch ... then on to the lower slopes of the mountain ...


   Don't know that this was such a good idea - 
I spent the first half of the ride white-knuckled 
as I tightly gripped the edge of the seat ...
 
Then as we left the residential areas below, the cable started to rise and we climbed the almost sheer side of the mountain, at times almost being able to reach out and touch the bushes ...





My fears were only heightened by the screams coming from the passing gondolas full of school kids coming back down the mountain after an excursion ... thankfully I was by myself in my car, so could keep the thing balanced and no-one could hear my screams ...

... at last the station was in sight ...


  ... and once landed I headed to the cafe for a comforting coffee ...
and of course to check out the view of Tirana way down below 


 
Recovering my land-legs it was time to do a bit of bush walking exploring the winter-bare forest now that I was here. And to my delight came across some relics left over from the communist days ...

 
... urban art on the weird bunkers ...
and walking through the bush, I came across this now deserted hotel ...


... making sure there was no sign of wild boar or bears or forgotten comrades around, I moved in for a closer look ...

... hoping to find lost treasures of days past - alas all I found were rooms stripped bare of anything re-usable and signs of summer-squats ...



... empty corridors where faithful party members would have once come for R&R ...
 



This told me it was probably time to get outta there 
and head back to the cable car for my ride down ...
I've had enough scares for one day ...


  ... and here we go again ...


... don't think I'd like to live underneath a cable car ...


... At last the end approaches -  
Once I got used to the sway of the gondola and the vibrations as we crossed over each pylon and the height thing, the ride was quite exciting and the views of the city below ( even though there was a bit of midday haze ... ) were quite beautiful ...

...now to find a bus to get me home ...