We were both very glad to pack up and walk over to the beach for breakfast. This particular breakfast turned out to be the skimpiest of the entire South and North Albania trip. Some sort of fried dough, honey to dip it into and feta cheese to stick inside these cruller looking things. Coffee was the muddy Turkish-type coffee and even the addition of hot water to the mud on the bottom couldn’t make it drinkable. While at breakfast, Ellen told us an sad but interesting story about prostitution in Holland. FYI: Prostitution is legal in Holland. Quite a few Albanian girls are kidnapped or told if they come to Amsterdam, good jobs are plentiful. Once there, it doesn’t take long for the Albanian Mafia to turn them into heroin addicts and prostitutes.
Breakfast over, ex-Marine and I made a fast dash through the olive groves to use the bathroom at our guesthouse while the group began walking up to old Qepara…View image. The beach restaurant had exactly one bathroom used by everyone up and down the entire beach. I’ll give you one guess why we went back to the guesthouse. The walk towards Old Qepara began along the main highway for a short distance until we turned left into a canyon. The road continued up past olive groves on all sides…View image, villas, houses and new construction. A few balconies were decorated with protective scarecrows that the occupant’s believe ward off evil!
We eventually caught up to the group on the road and Florian showed us a plant that resembles marijuana. This plant was used by monks during Medieval times. I’m not sure if they used the tiny seed or flowers to make a syrup that would keep their libido down. A short questions and answer session trying to decide, “If you used too much of this syrup, would your libido skyrocket?” It could have been the Viagra or Cialis of the Medieval ages!
Old Qepara Village is around 350-400m/1148-1312′ above sea level and an hour’s walk from New Qepara. Florian led the group off-road on a short cut over extremely slippery cobblestones into the heart of the village. Old Qepara was very quiet, if not deserted except for a few children playing…View image. Only about 20 persons or 20 families still live in this once remote but scenic village with narrow streets fragrant from wild roses…View image, church…View image, attractive stone houses…View image, olive groves, and grape arbors. The majority have moved down into New Qepara for convenience sake.
There was little to see up in Old Qepara Village. We began walking down and back to the same beach restaurant for lunch before leaving for Saranda with a stop at Butrint. A huge salad and baked green peppers stuffed with rice. Each green pepper could have easily served two people! Just look at the photograph above and I know you’ll agree that America is not the only place in the world that serves gigantic portions. Very full, it was back on the bus for the rest of a very long day…