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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Beach Marathon!

Breathtaking views from the top of the Llogara Pass

Man selling honey and bee products at the top of the Llogara Pass.

Lotioning-up at our first beach south of the Llogara pass. Bunkers are so handy!

So Jess and Amy invited us to participate in a coastal adventure, exploring every beach along the bregdeti [coast] that we can’t really get to by bus. Our five-some piled into their Kia rental and wound our way south, stopping in Dhermi East and West (to cliff-jump and also where we found a non-flying kite), Jali (super laid back cove, up-and-coming European tourist haven), Borsh (full of olive groves, where we ended up camping for the night after visiting the waterfall cafĂ©), Lukove, and finally, our beloved Ksamil. There’s a super cool restaurant in Borsh that has flowing waterfalls underneath the tables; we stopped there for a late coffee and ended up camping out on the long stretch of beautiful white sand. We built a campfire in complete darkness and they roasted sausages on sticks while I used a melon shell to boil water for macaroni and cheese. (My newly preferred method of camping food—easy and makes no garbage!)

Trying so hard to fly a rescued kite in Dhermi

Brief stop in Himara's Old Town, up above the city. Chris fell in love with an abandoned house here with a beautiful view of the ocean, unfortunately the owners live in Greece and refuse to sell it.

Beach number 3, Jali. We're starting to wear ourselves out...

Borshi's waterfall restaurant, shume bukur!

In the morning I opened my eyes to find a herd of oversized wild pigs roaming past our sleeping bags, hunting for garbage. We quickly packed up and, after a cell phone search that led us back to the waterfall restaurant, high-tailed it to Ksamil in order to get there in time to do an English/Life Skills “game day” with some of Megan’s students. Megan, Travis, and I organized some activities that focus on sun protection while at the same time helping them to practice English, followed by some swimming races between the nearby islands.

Morning in Borsh (no pigs in sight)

Sun Protection life skills with kids. We played games and had races in the water!

Have I mentioned how in love I am with Albania’s lower coastline? I’m so glad I get to witness it at this moment in time, when its just becoming accessible but not yet overdeveloped in certain places. Ksamil was once a small, quiet fshat (village) full of orange groves, and is rapidly growing, sprawling, and filling up with big hotels and beach bars. However, its still amazing, especially from April through June before the tourists flood in.

Beach-side with friends. Life in the Peace Corps is rough.

That's the sunset I was smiling about!

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