Saturday, 2 June 2012

Ajde ciao trip - hitchhiking through Kosovo, Albania, Montenegro and Croatia - PART 1

Such a great Macedonian story couldn't just end. And I didn't want to finish it like that. Just taking a bus from Skopje almost straight to my hometown? Nema šansa. Not so simply. That's why I decided to come back in the only one proper way - hitchhiking. Through the Adriatic Coast of course.
I started just after Djurdjevdan, on 7th May in the morning. Dear and tireless friend Sara dispatched me with some food and bade goodbye. Thank you Sara, your piece of bread, apple and chocolate was priceless ;) That day I planned to reach Shkoder in northern Albania, but through Kosovo, precisely Prizren. I got a ride from northern Skopje to the big crossroad between Prizren and Pristina. From there another car picked me up to some small town, where the driver convinced the bus driver to take me to Prizren for free. Not only was I going without the ticket, but I got also free candies and a seat (later some people who paid were standing in the crowdy bus what was slightly insolent from my side).

When I arrived to the place, I consumed stuff which Sara gave me, additionaly spreading some 'pashteta' on it for 50 cents that I found in my collection of foreign coins. It was already very hot, nevertheless I looked around the town but without even taking my camera out. I was too lazy to unfasten my bagpack...that's why I don't have any photos from there.

A guy who was transporting 57 bags of potatoes (in fact it was much less of them) took me from there to Kukes. It was hard to move from there, because the only reasonable spot to hitchhike was few kilometres outside the town, after a long bridge. In the meantime I had a paranoia that Albanian mafia is following me in the black mercedes. On the bridge a group of Albanian teenagers asked for a lighter to put a fire in something they were smoking. I tried to explain them, that I'm not going to Poland on foot, but it was not so easy. Anyway, I raised in their esteem. Finally, an elegant BMW stopped and nice Albanian couple (I received some food and beverages from them, faleminderit for this) picked me about 100km. In the middle of the way something unfixed from the front of the car and we had to stop several times before reaching the destination. My next ride was a father with his son, going by an old car with terrible smell inside. A dead body is in the trunk? - I thought. Maybe just food for aquarium fishes or a pig was transported before me. I don't know. The most important was that in the evening I was in Shkoder and the fact that I was taken as Algerian didn't thwart my plans.

There, in Shkoder, I felt quite confident. I was already here and I knew where NOT to sleep (after a horrible night spent with Manu in the city park next to swamps, previous year) and where to eat for the last Albanian lekes a cheap and better than Italian pizza. It was already almost dark, but full of enthusiasm I moved on though. And didn't have to wait for the effects because a crazy band of Albanians in a jeep lifted me to the Montenegrin border. I knew a good place to put a tent there from an another trip. Meanwhile, spoke with weird, little bit drunk Montenegrins coming back from a pub. I finished my day in the tent, on the egde of the forest.

My home next to the forest in Sukobin

The 2nd day didn't start so good. The traffic was poor, what's more a Montenegrin Albanian cheated me. He offered me a lift to an another road, because the normal one was under construction. After the communication breakdown it turned out that he was driving me straight to Ulcinj (about 25 km) for 20 euros. I discovered this somewhere in the halfway and told to stop the car. The guy was pissed off and started to be aggresive. After rough negotiations, I had to give him 8 euros, that was all the coins I had in that moment in my minute later I was already sitting in another car to Ulcinj. There, another lift to Bar with a man delivering press to newsagents. Quick snack in the town and hit the road to Stari Bar, which finally I tramped on foot...visiting the old town of Bar was like a travel in time. Absolutely outstanding place. The old fortress, destroyed in 1979 by earthquake. I walked a little bit up, where almost nobody walks and took a bath in the mountain stream. With turtles. The freezing cold water gave me a lot of energy (I drank half of the stream by the way).

I came back to the city, which seemed to be countless kilometres farther and the bus stop which I found good to hitchhike from, was even more far away. Anyway, a truck drove me to Sveti Stefan - town with a beautiful island joint to the land with a pier.

In Sv. Stefan, I was lucky to have a perfect hitchkiking place. Unfortunately, without cars. Here,  was the first and the last time when I paid for a public bus during this trip - 1 euro to Budva.

A perfect spot for hitchhiking: just next to the road, a bench, shadow and tap with running

In Budva no seightseeing and no pictures because of overwhelming tiredness and falling darkness. I had no idea where to sleep as well. Finally, I found it here - between a road tunnel and a cliff.

Morning, day 3.
After a calm and safe night next to the tunnel, I departed to Kotor. Again, walked a little bit. Few kilometres in searching a place without curves to stop a car. Two nice Serbians took me to the crossroad close to the Tivat airport, from where I caught another transport in 2 minutes. An American was going with his son to pick up his dog from the boat. The same boat where I could leave later my backpack and go to visit the town (thx to Jeffrey). Brief seightseeing one of the most amazing and magical places I've ever seen...Kotor...

The rest of the story I'm leaving for the next time, not to exaggerate with all of this stuff.

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