Today became quite frustrating when I got super cold from soaking rain and hail as I continued my climb out of Elbasan and along the mountain ridge that runs north through Gracen. I also had to face up to the fact that my brakes were nearly useless, which meant replacing my rear brake pads with frozen fingers. Still, it could have been worse and the scenery continued to thrill. About 20km out of Tirane I ended up half accidentally taking a turn onto the motorway. I say ‘half’ because I suspected the road might take me to the motorway and decided I wasn’t going to bothered turning around if it turned out to be the case, which it did. This gave me a relatively easy run into the city.

I made my way to Skanderbeg Square and was thrilled to remember exactly where I sat and waited for sunrise when I arrived in the city on a bus at around 3am seven years ago. I made the most of a relatively short period of dry weather and had lunch in the square. Then it was time to find a bed. Seven years ago I stayed at a hostel called Tirana Backpackers and I decided to return there, using my memory to guide the way. I soon got quite confused when I couldn’t find it. Eventually, I came across a hostel by the same name in a different part of the city. I learned that the business is the same, they had just moved locations. After checking in and thawing out with a scorching ot shower, I worked on my brakes a bit to get them running better. I then booked myself in for a hostel dinner (stuffed eggplant with rice) before heading out for two pre-dinner meals (two slightly different kebabs). I have just been hanging out with other hostel guests, enjoying some homemade cookies and mulled wine.

Skanderbeg Square

Accommodation $ Hostel
Distance ridden today 47.74km
Average cycling speed 14.8kph
Total distance ridden 27,548km