Day 1: Boga to Thethi
“A fantastic introduction to the Albanian Alps”
Pavlin met us in Boga and together we walked part way from Boga down into Thethi, via a peak from which we had 360 degree views of the Albania Alps. From here we could see the path that we would walk tomorrow and our return route from Montenegro to Thethi.
Day 2: Thethi to Valbone
“I feel as though I am walking into the centre of the earth; enveloped by the mountains, Mother Nature giving me a hug”
Day 3: Valbone to Cerem
“Endless alpine meadows of flowers. Just as you think you have seen all the flowers, a new one appears”
Day 4: Cerem to Doberdol
“Doberdol – a magical place”
Doberdol situated in a stunning dale, under the shadow of Tromedja Peak where the boarders of Albania, Montenegro and Kosovo meet.
Doberdol is where the farmers bring their animals, families, couches, kitchens and lives when there is no grass in the valleys during the summer. Every year they return to the same alpine pastures, repairing their huts after the winter, digging up the potatoes from last years crop and importantly fattening their animals and making the cheese that will see them through the winter. Across the Albainian Alps you will find summer farming communities like Doberdol.
Day 5: Doberdol to Peje (Kosovo).
“There is no one truth when Politics or Religion are concerned”
On day five we have a ‘rest day’, just four hours of walking. During this time we walk through all three countries of the Peaks of the Balkans and stand at the peak which is the meeting point of the boarders.
In the valley in Kosovo we are met by Mentor (our driver), who takes us to Visoki Decani Monastery. During our adventures we have seen a monastery and church or two, but this one had some of the best preserved frescos we have seen. We asked the Monk that showed us around, how this monetary from the 14th century on the boarder of Kosovo and Albania had survived, his answer “an act of God”.
When we returned to the Landrover, Mentor had a slightly different perspective. The monastery was originally built as a Roman Catholic Church by some ancestors of Mentors’, it then became an Eastern Orthodox Monestary and was protected by the Albanians during the Ottoman era, presently Mentor and most of the Kosovo Albanian population are observing Ramadan.
To enter the Monastery we were required to submit our passports under a heavy military presence. The entire complex is surrounded by a 12 foot high wall. This was built several years after the Kosovo War, even though it had survived undamaged and was never a specific site of tensions during the war.