Albania - the wonders of a good night's sleep
First of all i'd like to say that I have officially given up on trying to remember the dates for when and where I am. The problem when you have no schedule is that, as Einstein famously put it, "is relative". As i write this i am unable to tell you what day of the week it is or what the date is, and you know what? I like it like this. Furthermore, since i write about the events a week, sometimes two after they occur (once again, I can't actually say how long ago it happened since my perception of time is way off the charts) trying to figure out what the date was is a futile exercise.
After this (not so) brief interlude, let us resume scheduling as usual.
I had stopped for the night on a highway gas station, tired, weary and stressed from the day of intense driving. Rooted in me was a deep hatred for the Albanian driver and an urge to get the f*ck outta there. La nuit porte conseil as the French say, and bring council it did. I woke up late, but fully rested and surprisingly content. The day was beautiful, the air smelt of sunshine and the day of grass and open roads. The view from the station was good. Very good actually. And in that goodness all my rage, fear and hatred of the day passed disappeared.
Albania, once you get used to the driving (which I eventually did) is a very nice country. The spaces are open, the hills green and the people friendly. The downsides, as with most countries this side of Europe, include poor roads, and a deep philosophy of "Nature is my trashcan" or dump, which would be more appropriate since i saw everything from bottles to sofas on the side of the road, baking in the sun.
A hunt for a currency exchange counter led me through tiny village roads, where there was no flat line, not horizontally anyway. After going to 3 different counters (Polish Zloty aren't very popular over here, who knew?) i finally had the money, tanked up and hit the road for good. Soon I went from the plains up into the hills, and my oh my, what a view. For the first time since i left, i was stopping just to take pictures of the views. Eventually, in a gorgeous canyon, i just stopped. I sat there, listening to the silence. The memories of that moment bring shivers down my arms as i write these words. It was so nice, so peaceful, so... well i don't have the words to be honest,
As i continued my route across the mountains range between Albania and Greece i stumbled upon an uncommon sight: a pump jack, extracting oil from the ground. A solitary statue of iron in the middle of nowhere.
Night started to make its way among the stars and i kept going, driving along the country roads and stopped only once to marvel at how blue the water of the rivers was. On and on my trusty Nautilus went, eating up the road as the hours passed until finally, the border.
For once I got a proper security check at the border, the went through most of the van, mostly checking for drugs, something that had not happened, at all, since i left. The formalities done with i headed into the unknown, tired and in the dark. Once again i found myself at a gas station. Once again it became my overnight stay. Dinner was cooked (and slightly burnt) and the stars were gazed upon,
Then, something that hadn't happened in a long time. I cried. Yes ladies and gentlemen, i wept, shed tears, sobbed en bref tears ran down my cheeks. But why? Well; before i left my parents gave me an envelope, sealed, and told me to open once on the road. I put said envelope in the pocket of the jacket i was wearing and set off. Except that in the excitement i forgot about the envelope and since i didn't put that jacket back on for this chilly first night in Greece, i did not remember its existence until then. Inside it was a photograph of me and my sisters when we were children, and i found this adorable. I then turned the letter around and on the back, my mum, my dad, my sisters, each had written a word for me. You never realise how much you miss home until you're brutally and inescapably reminded it exists.
Fate, it seems, likes to play it's little games with me, since right after i had opened this wrapping of happiness and tears, my dad called. More tears followed, it was beautifully poetic and far into the night i talked with each and every one of the amazing people i have the joy of calling mum, dad, sister and well, sister. On these words ladies and gents, i shall conclude this part of my adventure.
edit: pictures will be added at a later date, the wifi here is just too slow