Shkodër: Finally the Only Tourist

Before I knew it, he said: welcome to Shkodër and pointed at a sign indicating that indeed we were nearing Shkodër.

Five heroes of Vig statue at the main square in Shkodër

I arrived rather early in the morning in Ulcinj, coming from Kotor. I had heard it should be easy to get a minivan to Shkodër from here. But the information I got in Ulcinj were confusing to say the least. One person told me it left at one o’clock, another at 14.30, then one said 11 and finally someone told me four o’clock. As I was running around pretty sweaty and tired, I believe I was noticed by more than one person, wherefore a guy in the end offered me a ride to Shkodër for 7 euros, which I felt was rather cheap considering the long way.

Colourful residential area in Shkodër
Colourful residential area in Shkodër

I went with him in his very hot car and I was almost baking on the back seat. We talked some, but mainly I just starred out the window at the very beautiful nature of Montenegro. It is truly magnificent with dramatic mountains in the horizon and small village dotted throughout the landscape in between lots and lots of trees.

I must admit that I was a little frightened of what I was doing. Getting in a car with a stranger, driving roads I could not at all be sure where led to. But my year in Slovenia must have truly changed me, since it at the same time felt very natural to simple catch a lift. Hitch-hiking seems a culture in the Balkans, a part of the public transportation system. that off course didn’t change the fundamental fact that I was a single girl travelling alone with some random dude who’d offered me a lit.

Xhamia Ebu-Bekr Mosque in Shkodër
Xhamia Ebu-Bekr Mosque in Shkodër

But as we crossed the border I became more relaxed. Though also more sick from driving in the hot blaze of a car. My driver was quick to introduce me to Albanian hospitality constantly offering me very long cigarettes and wrinkled his nose rather offended when I tried to deny them. In Albania you better accept the gifts of others.

As we drove towards Shkodër, I felt myself become more and more pale and sickly as I finished off the fifth long cigarette. Our waiting time at the Albanian had cost me to smoke two.

But before I knew it, he said “welcome to Shkodër” and pointed at a sign indicating that indeed we were nearing Shkodër.

Memorial on Sheshi 2 Prilli commemorating the communist massacre of 1991
Memorial on Sheshi 2 Prilli commemorating the communist massacre of 1991

He let me off at the Rozafa Hotel, where I gave him 10 euros, being so relieved that I had actually arrived.

Entering, I found myself in a mayor communist-styled hall, where several cleaning ladies were chit-chatting in a corner.

At the desk I got the choice between a room with bath or one without. The first one would be at the price of 17euros which I found pretty expensive, considering this outcast of a Northern Albanian city. Without shower it would cost me only 6,5euros, but after considering a bit, being able to smell myself rather badly I chose to pay extra for what showed out to be a terribly unclean shower. However, writing this I am very happy with my choice, because I get to return to my room for a nice and long shower and to do some sink-laundry.

Shkodër street
Shkodër street

The phone net can’t reach Albania, so mum I’m really okay. Don’t worry!

Zofka

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