Rugged beauty in this Albania mountain village
Kruje Travel Blog› entry 1 of 2 › view all entries
The bus starts assending - a good sign as Kruje is a mountain village. We twisted our way to the top of a plateau, fortress and snowy peaks close-by. As I exit the bus, I try to pay the driver the required 300 Leke and he will only accept 100 Leke. He said in his best English "Good Day". I thank him and he pointed me to the path up the hill to my hotel (Hotel Panorama). It's only abotu 100 meters away.....great! I check in at the resterauntand am taken to my room. We climb the stairs and walk across a terrace with 3 glass doors. The last one is mine. Wow!!! the view is UNBELIEVEABLE. A full panorama of the snow capped mountains to the left, in front is the upper plateau with the fortress, and to the right is the valley beyond with a river snaking the valley.
I throw everything down and immediately snap a few shots from the terrace. It's a sunny, cloudless day and I know the shots will be great.
Ok, I'm excited by what I see.....Let's explore!
I start up the cobbled stone path to the fortress. It passes through a bazaar that has been here for 1000 years. I think that I am the only tourist in town. All of the shop owners stop chatting in street and stand by their shop as I approach. Each of them greet me and ask if I would like a souvenir. They are friendly but, a bit uncomforable. I will save my shopping for later. Exlporing is my first priority. I climb the path around the mountain and enter the gate to the fortress. I pass the, newly built but traditional in design, museum of Skandenberg.
All of this climbing now has me hungry. There are 2 resteraunts located up here on the plateau with the fortress. The both have fantastic views. I pick the one with best view. I have a nice greek salad and lemon risotto??? (It was very interesting) I also had a great bottle of local Albanian white wine. They didn't sell wine by the glass. So........I had the whole bottle. I have NEVER had a whole bottle of wine by myself.
I start across the fortress and down the hill. I make my way to the bazaar and start to browse. I find a shop with a great selection of handmade fillagree. My mother would love this. The artist tells me of how it's made and has a loop to look at it close up.
I leave his shop and make it as far as across the street to a rug maker. He has every size imaginable and wonderful Albanian traditional designs. I find one that will look really good in our home and it is an old design specific to Kruje. He calls my new friend over to help translate. We negotiate a bit. We settle on a fair price and he thanks me. I leave the Qilim shop in time to witness the final streaks of light as the sunsets across the valley. There are so many colors.......breathtaking.
I stop in one more shop at the beginning of the bazaar. It has traditional clothing and socks. I look and consider but, I'm tired and need some rest. I go back to the hotel and climb the stairs to my room. I stop briefly on my terrace to take in the night in Kruje. The snow on the mountains are reflecting the lights of the fortress. It's quite a sight.
Time for sleep. Tomorrow, I have to leave so, I wish for one more beautiful day.