On the way to Lake Ohrid

We had planned to visit two sites, one in Tirana, another close to Lake Ohrid, but both didn’t work out, nevertheless we had an interesting day which ended with a fabulous dinner at a very original restaurant.

Mercedes is the Albanian’s favourite car, from classics to the current top model
(Mercedes Benz /8 introduced in 1968)

Before leaving Tirana, we had intended to visit another bunker: Bunk’Art 1 on the outskirts of town. We tackled the crazy traffic of Tirana and drove in the direction of the mountains where a cable car goes up – with the grey weather no option for us. But there lies also an even bigger bunker than we had visited yesterday. It was the first to be turned into a history and contemporary art museum. When we finally reached the entrance, it was closed. We inquired at the nearby café and the guys even went for us to check themselves, but it was closed with no explanation. So we stayed for a second breakfast at the café before we threw ourselves into the traffic again. We had to cross half of the city before we finally could leave Tirana behind us.

We had found a spring in the mountains to refill our tank. The water was of good quality, as many Albanians also stopped here to fill big water bottles.

On the way to lake Ohrid, we followed an old train line up through a valley. We had read about it and were looking forward to visiting a former train station where 16 locomotives were left to rust.

Train line out of use
Abandoned gas station
Next to us, the river was an example of the respect with which the Albanians still treat their environment. Hopefully this attitude changes soon, before their beautiful country is just a big rubbish deposit.
Old silos decorated with numerous ladybirds

Stray dogs are everywhere in Albania. The communities try to get their number under control by sterilising and vaccinating them, before they are left on the street again with a mark at the ear. This one showed us how he checks the contents of a rubbish container.

When we reached the village of Prrenjas, we had another disappointment: the locomotives were nowhere to be seen. On Google Earth I had located them, but where they once parked, we saw only rusty rails and nothing else. We even checked with the binoculars when we had a good view from a higher position – nothing.

Bunkers are everywhere

Finally, we reached the Albanian side of Lake Ohrid and found a place for the night directly at the lake. The owner of a nearby restaurant came and invited us to visit him for dinner, which we happily accepted.

Lake Ohrid

Lake Ohrid is the deepest lake of the Balkans, with a maximum depth of 288 m and the second largest after Lake Skadar also in Albania. But what makes this lake special is its age. It is one of the oldest lakes of the world, with an age of 2 to 5 million years. Most lakes have a life span of less than 100,000 years before they are eventually filled up with sediments. It is believed that in the case of Lake Ohrid this process was delayed by its great depth and small sediment input from its filtered spring inflows.

When we arrived at the humble restaurant, the fire place was already prepared to heat the room. We got a bottle of local wine, which was really delicious. Without any menu or information, we received very delicious starters before the local fish was served traditionally on a layer of onions and walnuts.
Ohrid trout or “koran” in Albanian
These fishermen came for some Raki only
Waiting for the fish
Finally, the delicious fish was served!
Parking for the Night

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