Sunday, 27 September 2015

Peqin to Broshka day three 26/9/15

Peqin to Broshka 

26th September Saturday 

day three Via Egnatia 
18 km

Peqin (pronounced Pechin) 

Ready to leave 8 am after breakfast of eggs, toast and coffee.
Stopped off at the market a couple of minutes up the road back towards Peqin to buy some supplies for lunch and dinner... Might be camping tonight, unsure of what's in store!

The walk this morning is mainly beside, or on the railway tracks.
Beautiful scenes, like a basket laden donkey marred by rubbish piles...
The locals graze their sheep, goats, turkeys and other livestock along the railway tracks. There's only 2 slow trains each day from Durres to Elbasan.
Just after leaving the railway line, and before crossing the Skhumbin river we stopped off at a lovely bar, there's no sign - it's called  "Bujar haka" (the owner's name), it's a lovely building with Clean toilets, and no smoking inside! 
One of the daughters, Kristina is learning English and speaks it quite well.  ( lucky we arrived on a Saturday and school is out!) Had a Turkish coffee. It's often a venue for weddings and events.
We ask for a menu, but are told no menu, but we're welcome to have what mother has cooked, a traditional lunch. Sounds lovely!

Pastice- pasta bake with butter and egg... Patrick also has some of their home made raki.
Speca me gjize- grandfather made this dish, it's large yellow long peppers with a yoghurt sauce..
Local white cheese, tomato and olives. Everything freshly made and local!

Wonderful generous hospitality, they wouldn't accept any payment for lunch, they said they  wanted to share their hospitality with us, so very welcoming, a genuine sincere family! 
Kristina with her brother and sister.


Was lovely to chat with Kristina and her father. 
The father cooks for weddings and celebrations, and has also worked in Greece for a number of years. Kristina is in year 9 and has plans to progress to university and study law or medicine.

We continued on walking after our lovely lunch. It's amazing how a wonderful experience like our lunch really raises our spirits after a fairly ordinary morning of walking, mostly along railway tracks.
After crossing a bridge over the river Skhumbin, the walk is lovely and rural. With the occasional Hoxha communist bunker...

The walk is quite scenic this afternoon, walking not far from the river Skumbin along farmland. 

I have no idea what this crop is!
There's a section of the walk with very strange rock formations! There are huge round / oval "eggs" in the rock! I've never seen anything like it!
A friendly shepherd
There's so many interesting rural scenes to watch, taking hay out of a haystack to feed livestock.
The village of Broshka visible after the fields

We arrived at Broshke 3:15. Found the "meadow" with bunker remains next to the shop, as described in the guide book, however we were told no camping, private property... No where to stay .. Oops... What to do...
we decide to walk to the main road across a wobbly suspension bridge
the route description from Broshke to Elbasan sounds very industrial and suburban, and as there's no accommodation or camping, we head to Elbasan. One of the ubiquitous taxi vans stops as soon as we get to the main road, he charges 1 € to Elbasan, off we go at 4 pm. He stops and picks up a few more passengers along the way.
We drive past a surreal looking semi abandoned industrial area on the way to the town centre. Mostly communist era industries that have now collapsed.

Arrived in Elbasan about 4:30 , walked to the castle to try and find our accommodation, Real Scampis... Finally found it, we'd walked through the wrong castle entrance gate! 

We've gone from nowhere to stay or camp at Broshke, to the height of luxury! With a bath... ( nice to have a soak in a tub!) Patrick paid for the room room for two nights and bought a bottle of vino to go with the bath. It's started to lightly rain too, so all in all a good outcome for us after all!
View from our balcony over the garden inside the castle walls, and the city skyline above.

Elbasan is in the centre of Albania. To give you an indication of the size of Albania, it's 4 days walking from the coast!

Dinner tonight at our hotel Real Scampis! Inside the castle walls.
Tave Kosi - local Elbasan specialty. Lamb cooked in a clay pot with yoghurt sauce  700 leke (Tave means the style of cooking in a clay pot) 
Sallat mikes zarzavate - grilled vegetables 400 leke
Karkalec Te zgares , Patrick - grilled shrimps 900 leke 
All very delicious! Two happy walkers! Goodnight 😊

Walking the Via Egnatia is very different to the Via Francigena we walked in 2013, there are no way markers that keep you confidently moving forward along the tracks, and no "pilgrim" accommodation. Definitely a little more challenging in some ways. But, at the same time still very interesting, and a great way to meet people and experience the culture, lifestyle and local food.

Accommodation:

Continued on  to Elbasan. As no accommodation or camping available in Broshka.

Hotel Real Scampis (previously may have been known as Vera Scampi) 45 Euro b&b booked through booking.com an hour before we arrived! Highly recommend this hotel!
Real Scampis Resort
scampisreal@yahoo.it
Entrance to the hotel is either from inside the castle walls off the Rruga Egnatia or there is a pedestrian entrance through the castle wall, opposite a bakery on Blvd qemal stafa