Up to Lure

Trip Start Jul 23, 2007
Trip End Aug 23, 2007

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Flag of Albania  ,
Thursday, July 26, 2007

We started Wednesday morning with a team meeting and a bit of prayer to set us up for the day. As we were going up to Lure in the mountains tomorrow and taking 20 people, we went to the massive air conditioned supermarket to stock up. Was fantastic, but the heat really hit you when you came out! I think it was about 40 degrees again, so in the afternoon, we headed for 'the swimming pool'. I expected a small pool, but turned out to be a water park. On the way we stopped to pick someone up, and discussed how dogs can die if left in hot cars for too long. We were literally cooking alive in this minibus! Also before we left, I noticed 2 of the Albanian guys kissing each other on each cheek- have seen a couple of people do it here is a bit different to England!

Anyway we got the pool, and had a bit of a run in with the changing room assistant. Heeding the advice of covering up, we'd all brought full on swimming costumes and still wanted to wear skirts/t-shirts on top. But as we walked through, she pointed to our clothes, shook her head, and literally pushed LJ into a cubicle! As it happened, it was OK, everyone was wearing tiny bikinis, they probably thought we were being typical British covering up. Juming in the water was fantastic- we all had a great couple of hours and couldn't have been more different than the previous day!

We slept outside again that night and I actually had to get up at about 4am because I was starting to feel a bit cold just in a sheet- is this the start of things to come?! We all traipsed out of matresses at 5:30 to finish packing and load the minibus, and were on our way by 7:10am. The road to Lure is surfaced and good for about 2/3 of it, which takes 2 hours, but then the final third is a very rough one lane track winding around the mountains, and takes a further 4 hours!! We stopped off at an Albanian service station for chips (some things never change) and there was a strange man playing a traditional guitar instrument singing to LJ and Amy in search of a tip! Was good to hear some traditional Albanian music/singing though, and kept the rest of us entertained. A few hours later we stopped for lunch (cue a few people being sick from the bumpy roads).

The scenery in the mountains is incredible. I can't believe Albania doesnt get more visitors- huge mountains with a winding road along the mountainside, filled with forests as far as the eye can see. Can't upload any photos til I get back as I have mislaid my camera cable in Kruja. And my headphones. You'll just have to wait!!

We finally reached our destination 6 1/2 hours after setting off. In Pascaqan we were staying with an English guy called Stephen, who married an Albanian Flora and has two daughters Esther and Emily. We were all gatecrashing Flora's mother's house- felt quite bad just rolling up and putting up tents in her garden! She was lovely though. Flora and the girls had been in the mountains for the last month to escape the heat, and it was great to meet them all! Thus started the endless feeding of food. For the next 2 weeks we were given huge lunches and dinners- I swear the Albanian's are trying to fatten us up!

Claire and Lucy ran the evening meeting/service (about 15 mins) which every day included a short talk, singing (in Albanian!) and a quick prayer at the end. We had 3 girls, which we all really bonded with, and maybe 13 guys. The boys didn't speak very good English so the whole weekend they'd be talking in Albanian, looking at us, and laughing which was a bit unnerving but I dont think they meant any harm!

Some of the team slept outside under the stars, but after hearing that they didnt come out til 3am, I figured I might as well be sleeping inside, so spent the weekend kipping on a comfy bed instead.
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