Koman the Barbarian Ferry and our Journey into Skyrim!

After some initial panic (running around Bajram Curri in the dark at 5am trying to find the chef in his car, then watching the ferry pull out of the dock as we drove up) we caught the Koman the Barbarian ferry through the Nice Nice t Nice Nice Northern Albanian Alps, crammed in with a variety of locals and their sacks of potatoes (Potato!) who had scaled down cliffs to the lakeside to clamber on board at random points throughout the journey. A furgon filled with old men playing a sitar and singing obviously bawdy Albanian songs (probably about Jill’s buubs) later, and having missed the bus to Thethi as it leaves at 7am, we met a pie fingered Albanian Brummie who arranged a car and house for us in Thethi. 4 nerve racking hours in a jeep with only right side suspension, packed in with 2 Albanians, 2 Spanish, 2 Germans, 1 American, 3 crates of beer and a sack of dubious meat (on Jill’s lap), took us to the beautiful remote mountain village of Thethi – only to find that those 3 crates of beer were not for us and our all inclusive house stay had no beer in the fridge! Only homemade plastic bottles full of crazy fire water that we politely tried to sip and were dismayed only to have it refilled by the little old woman as soon as we managed to get any down! And despite calls from our organiser demanding they give us beer, none arrived :o( therefore we went in search of a bar and ended up lost and stranded halfway up a mountain just as the sun set and had to resort to trespassing across peoples fields and houses, commando style, to find the main path – only to backtrack to let some cows pass on the narrow path (which Susan touched – animal no. 3, check). In search of a bar, a nice loose egg and to touch all of the animals (we are sure the stories of the cackling, large breasted, beer demanding, animal touchers will abound in Thethi for generations to come), we finally stumbled upon a hut/bar where we spent the last of our meagre funds on beer and had a rousing game of dominoes with the mountain men who insisted on giving us lots more beer until we were summoned back to our guesthouse for second dinner as the family were waiting to eat until we went back. Had delicious 2nd dinner (unfortunately Jill may of missed out on dubious traditional Albanian meat dishes due to Susan’s pesky vegetarianism) then passed out after chatting over the open fire with a combination of phrasebooks (open to the Albanian page this time after an earlier mishap on the Bulgarian page) trying to communicate with the family. Dragged out of bed early the next day for a hearty breakfast of cowboy coffee, more rakje, non loose eggs and delicious home made honey and sheep’s cheese (and a glass of milk fresh from the teat – cow, sheep or goat – we don’t know) we were bundled back into the jeep, complete with packed lunch of fresh bread and cheese, 3 Albanians and an Israeli hitchhiker who had previously also stuck up the mountain. A perilous white knuckle ride up and down the mountains, involving almost reversing off a precipice to pass an oncoming minibus and the little old Albanian man on his way to hospital, in the front seat constantly facing backwards to enjoy the view of the mountains – of Jill’s breasts, with regular compliments of “sho mir” (very good) and, we assume, was going to hospital for a strained neck. Arriving in Skodra we bumped into Andy, our A.B. organiser, whom we demanded buy us beer as recompense for the previous evenings lack. Spent a pleasant afternoon shooting the breeze on a terrace and spending our remaning lek on beer before catching the minibus (which was normal bus sized) to Ulcinj in Montenegro (and not getting a flipping pisspot stamp!!! But Susan did learn how to open a beer bottle utilising the arm of a bus seat). Enjoyed our beers and Tethi packed lunch whilst listening to some pretentious backpacker types bang on about architecture and, yearning for our old Albanian buub viewer, Susan drew him on Jill’s hand (Jennifer Lopez style) so we could again hear his mutterings of “Sho mir”, “Po” and “Yo”, and of course make the rest of the bus feel uncomfortable. Arriving in very touristy Ulcinj was a shock to the system after our few days of remote traditional Albanian life, our chosen hotel was not where it should of been so we dropped anchor next door to our decision making pub as they were very friendly and insisted on giving us free beer and a packet of tabs, and had a nice toilet. Found food (fish file and tentacles) and were joined by the staff at closing time (who wanted us to smoke wiid with them as it would make them as funny as us) and the old Albanian man was the star of the show with his regular interruptions to protest “Po!” or “Yo!”. Both had a tour of the town on the back of a motorbike and were plied with wine by the owner of the bar who hoped it would make us get amorous with 1 of his 2 sons. Ditched them and w skinny dipping in the ocean, and Jill lost her hair clip, before retiring to our hotel to pass out, soaking wet and covered in sand. Were rudely awoken by the Mosque going off that we could not find the snooze button for (Jill blames Susan for setting the Mosque too early). Now relaxing in a beachside bar with wi-fi where we have been fed free tequila (hard liquor for breakfast for the 2nd day in a row) whilst finalising the logistics of the next legs of our adventure. Next stop today is a bar in Bar, Podgorica and decrepit night bus to Sarajevo. 5 star suffocating luxury hotel with complimentary welcome drink and mini bar in Bratislava is now booked! Will need it to cheer us up while we despair that we have to go home. Me-hico in March for our birthdays though!

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