It’s been over two months since we have been locked down at home due to COVID-19. During this time, I have satiated my desire to travel by scrolling through photos of previous trips and dreaming of where I can venture to next. Now, with a little one in tow, my ability to sit on the back of a Harley Davidson while zooming along mountain passes has diminished somewhat, but that hasn’t quelled my desire to explore.
Now, more than ever, I feel the need to support local tourism so we have pledged to stick to Albania (and Kosovo because that counts right?) for all of our travel for the next 12 months.
Lavender fields in Koplik
I have been wanting to visit the Koplik lavender fields for as long as I have been in Albania. Unfortunately, I have managed to miss them in bloom due to other travel obligations, and giving bith. But this year, restrictions permitting, I am determined to go. Located in the Malesi e Madhe part of north Albania, these fields stretch across a large plane, framed by mountains in the distance. These flowers are picked, processed, and used to create a range of products including essential oils that are exported abroad. I cannot wait to walk through these fields, photograph the flowers and breathe in the beauty of the surrounding area.
A few miles out of Elbasan and near the town of Gramsh, Holta Canyon was created by the erosion of the river Holta. It extends for three kilometres, flanked by slopes of up to 150 metres and full of lagoons and crystal blue waters. You can explore caves full of limestone rock formations, stalactites and stalagmites, and enjoy the lush greenery that hangs from the slopes above. There are even a few waterfalls and thermal waters for you to enjoy as you make your way through the rocks. Sadly, the area is under threat due to the construction of a controversial hydroelectric power plant so I am determined to see it before it is destroyed.
A reservoir situated on the Drin river in north Albania, Lake Komani is surrounded by breathtaking hills, gorges, mountains and forests. Stretching over 34 sq km, a ferry passes through it daily, taking passengers from Bajram Curri to Tropoje- one of the country’s most remote locations. I love this part of the world, having visited Theth two years ago, I am blown away by the rugged beauty and remoteness of this area and I look forward to taking the ferry, breathing in the fresh air, and taking some time away from the rest of the world.
Permet is one of those places that I keep meaning to go to, but have so far not managed to. Located in the south of Albania, it is the perfect place to go rafting, horse riding, hiking, and exploring. It is also home to excellent raki and some thermal baths that are said to have healing properties. I hope to visit here in the autumn months when the air is cooler and I can enjoy the warm water and beautiful surroundings, followed by a raki or two of course.
I really feel like I need to spend at least a week lying on a beach, soaking up the sun, eating fresh fish, and drinking wine. Qeparo seems like a pretty good place to do this. Located on the Albanian Riviera, it is not quite as popular or crowded as its neighbours, and it seems like a good option for an exhausted mother looking for some R&R. I dream of finding a family-run guest house (if you have any suggestions, let me know) with basic but comfortable rooms, home cooking, and a sea view. There I want to read, relax, write and enjoy the best that the Albanian summer has to offer.
Where are you dreaming of visiting this year?