Dec 28, 2014

Summary of Dec 27: Durrës to Kavajë

After the heavy rains and strong winds of the previous night, Saturday dawned clear and cold. I had a good breakfast at the hotel and headed off, stopping at the Cathedral one last time.

My guidebook recommended taking a bus to Golem and starting the walk from there, since the route out of Durrës simply followed the main coast road out of town. I didn't take the bus. Sidewalks most of the way, and then a low-traffic service road which ran right alongside the four lane divided highway. Given the state of the highway, I'd guess it's fairly new, and the road I was following was likely the only route up until quite recently. 

At Golem, I had a choice: follow the Via Egnatia hiking trail as described in the guidebook, or continue on with the service road a few more kilometres. Either way, I'd wind up in Peqin by the end of the next day. Yesterday at the monastery, one young man that I met urged me to simply walk along the autostrade instead of taking the mountain trail. I was a little dubious about walking on the main highway, but during the ride to the monastery and again back to Durrës I saw people doing just that. Highway traffic in Albania seems to move much more slowly than I'm used to, and there's just not very much of it.

I decided to keep on with the service road. The guidebook mentioned the need to ford at least one stream, which is fine during the summer, but we got a lot of rain yesterday, with even more in the forecast for Sunday. Taking the trail would leave me in the hills tomorrow for 55 mm of rain. Taking the road, I'll at least avoid the mud and swollen creeks.

I arrived in Kavajë as the sun was setting. There seems to be just the one hotel in town, and it's a cash-only proposition. Still, at €20 per night (or the equivalent in Albanian Lek)‎, it's affordable. I'm disinclined to spend another night here, so unless the rain tomorrow is of the torrential nature, I'll hit the road early and quick march the 26 kms to Peqin. There are several hotels there, and I'm hoping at least one will have free WiFi. I had a mobile data connection earlier in the day, but that seems to have been a one-off. 

The good news is that this evening I finished the comprehensive update for my last day in Rome, and I'm almost done my Bari update. I'm so much more productive when I can't be distracted with "research" online! That also means there will be a flurry of updates once I get online again, and then silence until the next WiFi zone.


  1. Peter did your friend say why you shouldn't walk the mountain trail? I've heard mixed reports about it being safe and not safe.

    1. He mentioned two concerns: the cold, and bandits. I would think that the two are mutually exclusive, and the authors of the Via Egnatia guidebook made no mention of the latter.

    2. Hmmm I had previously heard of bandits but others have made it sound like is okay now. I might check in with them again. However, I assume locals in the area might be a better guide.

    3. Not necessarily. Even if it's been a decade since the last incident of banditry, the reputation will linger. The locals will have heard all the stories, and simply might not have realised how long ago it all was. Certainly the group of 25 people who researched the route for the guidebook didn't experience any problems.