There isn’t a great deal to tell about today’s cycling (well shut up then!) but for the sake of completeness, here goes (at which point everyone has found something more interesting to do. Anyone still there? I could say anything! It’s all a lie! I’m really sitting at my computer in my flat in Reading making the whole thing up. It’s Capricorn 1 all over again… Shut up!) It was a cycle of only 34km & I chose to follow the back roads to the capital and yes, you know what that meant. It was option B all over again. Every bone in my body was shaken, was rattling by the end and it’s a miracle I didn’t take a roll. (You’d have missed that clever use if ‘shake, rattle & roll if you’d gone elsewhere. Thanks for sticking with it.)
Tirana is a well-hidden city surrounded by hills and I didn’t really see it coming. I knew where it was by reference to my map but there were really no visual clues before I was welcomed by a large gantry proclaiming my entrance into the city. Initially very busy, certainly for a Sunday morning, things seem to calm as I moved away from the predominantly residential suburbs to the more business-orientated centre. (That’s not rocket science!) I’m not sure of the religious breakdown here – there are minarets and churches (I’ve heard the call to prayer as well as the bells, seen the hijab as well as nuns) and to what extent Sunday is a day of rest of work. Certainly the banks & offices were shut but everything else open.
I found a corner fast food place and munched a sandwich as I found my lovely hotel on the Internet. I’m sold on this turn up, log on, check in thing.
It was then a case of hanging around for a couple of hours before I could take up residence at 1pm. Damn! Two hours to kill in a city I’ve never visited before and an inviting café where I could sit and watch the World go by. It was so good I’ve returned now to do exactly the same now while writing this update. Congratulations if you hung around to the end. Here are some pretty pictures to amuse you further…