Qafe Shtame (National Park), Albania Week 109 May 14th - 15th 2013
Very obvious has been the number of small cemeteries, and the number of new looking graves.

We're guessing a catch up on religion after its suppression.

We headed back to Koplik the way we'd come.
Picked up fruit,  veggies and bread.

And braved the main road south.

There were many police around. Not interested in us though.

Perhaps time to mention Albanian driving though.

Impatient and erratic.

The combination of road condition and driving habits makes us a bit uncomfortable.

Through Shkoder.

Our navigation was reasonably good.

Including around the closed road.

Pedestrians, bicycles, motorbikes, farm vehicles, cars, and trucks.

Plus a willingness to stop anywhere and ignore everyone else. 


To the south of Shkoder overlooking the river.

We think fish traps.
Rozafa seems to have three eras.

The original Illyrian fortress.

Illyrian is a bit of a vague term but has its origins in describing Indo-European tribes in this area and south east Italy. Its still used sometimes in Albania, and recently in Kosovo. Illyrians are known several centuries BC.

The Romans were also here of course but don't figure in the fortress history.

The Venetian rule.

Then part of the Ottoman Empire.

Shkoder was under siege as recently as 1912. From the Montenegrans.

This was first St Stephan's Cathedral in the 13th to 15th century.

Then the Sultan Mohamed Fatih's Mosque from 16th to 19th century.

This was the residence of the Venetian ruler.

Which has become a museum.

The battlements have been a little bit rebuilt.
Something we haven't seen for a while.

Looks like a shanty town in the middle of Shkoder.

And a last look at the imposing castle entrance.
The main road south is supposed to be a motorway but it hasn't caught up with the map makers yet.

This is a local concrete version of a Queenslander (house).

We headed east again through Kruje.

We thought we'd head for the mountains to find a campsite.

Kruje has a few historic monuments but we were getting tired.

Beyond Kruje is Cudhe.

Hidden in the mountains.

The road goes up and over, to avoid the gorge.

Quite a few tunnels like this off the side of the road.

Some sort of mining.

In some places the waste rock is carried across the road and dumped over the side.

Cudhe is more of a region than a centralised village.
We had to wait a while until these two machines had cleared the way for us.

We followed a truck full of rocks.

We've seen a few of these long buildings with curved roofs.

Apart from Tim's Nissen Hut and a few domes on religious buildings these are the first utilitarian curved roofs we've seen.

Big tanks for we know not what.

The crumpled looking one has a bit cut out of the side. I guess someone needed the steel.

A bit of a gap as the camera was full.

We crawled up a cobblestone road until we found a suitable campsite.

After we'd stopped four firewood trucks crawled down.

We had a comfortable night among the pines.

We were also a bit concerned at the mismatch between gps and paper map.

The road across the mountains seemed to hardly exist.

In the morning we discovered we were a few hundred meters from the only hotel / restaurant for many km.

The best reminder of the cobbles.

They are large.

This bit is well formed but other parts are a bit more lumpy.

For the next two and a half hours we averaged about 6 km/hr.

Tirane, the capital of Albania, in the distance.

So near yet so far.

We are in Qafe Shtame (National Park).

We cross the Oafa e Kamzes (pass) at about 1200m.
Didn't really need 4wd. But just in case.
One day we'll figure out why the insulators need cast concrete weights.
Slowly the track improved.

We are moving faster than walking pace.

The track is roughly horizontal across that ridge in the distance, then over the saddle to descend on the far side.

On the other side of the valley is a small village.

Accessible only from this track.

Its a long way down.

We came over the pass in the distance.

Getting closer to Burrel.
There's some sort of derelict industrial plant in the centre of the photo.

We've seen some strange (to us) greenish coated rocks, perhaps they've been smelting something.

Albania has large chromite deposits. We are probably overlooking the derelict ferrochrome smelter at Burrel. Attempts to re-open it apparently failed.

This is Komes. Burrel is a few km beyond.

What a beautiful sight after all the pounding.
We camped a few km south of Burrel at Sug.

Overlooking the river.

We think its part of a railway line.

However, no embankment at the left end of the viaduct.

Camping Sug is in the churchyard.

There seems to be a school and church run by Italian nuns.

There seems to have been a long association between Albania and Italy.

Bulqize, Librazhd, Lake Ohrit, Tuma Kamenice, Korce, Permet, Albania Week 109 May 16th - 18th 2013

Terry Tue, 21 May 13 20:32:14 +1000
The concrete blocks are to provide weight on the bottom of insulator strings is to correct insulator uplift, in that the structure is not high enough for the conductor to sag naturally in the span. Usually caused by poor design or an inadequate structure height.i.e the pole was not long enough.

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