The Palace of the Isle at Łazienki Park in Warsaw, Poland.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Warsaw, Poland.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Not sure yet.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Saving the best to the last

We have totally been enjoying our time in Albania. 

It's only in hindsight that you can get a clear idea of whether or not a decision has been a good one, but we feel we've made a lot of good decisions through this whole pandemic. Yes, we fully realize that not everybody agrees with the fact that we have continued to travel. But we have zero regrets, and for us it was the right thing to do. Three months in Turkey was fantastic, and there is so much more to see there. Two months in Tanzania was good. For me, it was about a month too long though. It's not an easy country to travel without spending loads of money. And it's too hot and buggy for our liking. 

However of course the reason we went there was to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, and we found out that during a worldwide pandemic was the best time to do that because there weren't nearly as many others doing the same thing.

And now, with two months of experience under our belts, we can honestly say that we love Albania, and we are so glad we made the decision to come here! 

We have a little under a month left on our Albania tour, and we are saving the best to the last. I think you'll agree from what we have shown you over the past two months that Albania has a lot to offer. Especially considering that it's all in a package about the size of the state of Vermont.

The original thing that attracted us to Albania was the photos I saw of the Albanian Alps, and the hiking opportunities that I could imagine existed there. But when we arrived, it was still too cold up there, and they get a lot of snow. In fact, the roads are only just starting to open up, and it turns out that early June is the best time to be there.

Then, there is this photo...

The Valbona Valley.

Gorgeous, right?

The only problem is that as recently as 2005, this beautiful valley only recorded 300 curious visitors per year. In 2019, it was 100,000. All because of the view in this photo that circulated on the internet.

And there is a 17 km (10.5 mile) hike that used to be a goat trail for locals that is now a very popular tourist hike that affords this view. For the same reason that we avoided Machu Picchu in Peru, we will not be going to the Valbona Valley either. Its called overtourism, and there are lots of reports online about the problems it's causing in the area.

However, that entire region offers other great views. So we will be going up there to do some hikes in areas that most people don't go to. The same way we found parts of Peru that are just as beautiful but without the tourists. 

So, that's what's coming up in early June, only a couple of weeks away. 

We had a rain day yesterday, but the sun is peeking through the clouds this morning, so we are off for a hike up to Pogradec Castle.

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And in Canada...


6 comments:

  1. You are definitely right about over tourism actually destroying the world's hidden treasures.
    Looking forward to your next adventure.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

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    1. It definitely does in certain areas and having the pandemic around for the last year has definitely helped rejuvenate some areas like Machu Picchu, where they were actually talking about closing it down for a while just to give a break, which it now has had without actually closing it down. We think that there are just as beautiful spots that are less visited but are not as advertised so we would rather go to those places and see the beauty without the crowds. :-)

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  2. Time sure flies. I would never have guessed you stayed that long in each area. I would have a very hard time passing up that gorgeous view. And maybe less busy with the pandemic.

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    Replies
    1. Time sure does fly!

      We don't think that we will be passing up that gorgeous view because that area will have lots of other gorgeous views that are just as beautiful, people just don't see them as much because they all want to see this one view! You don't even hike down to the valley on this trail, you just see this one view any time you look up this particular hike. It is hard to say how many people will still be going to this area, as many of the tourists that go there are people from their own country or neighbouring countries, who will still go. We don't want to be part of the problem with the over tourism that is going on in these two villages.

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  3. You folks in my humble opinion, have never erred on your decisions regarding where to go, where to stay and how long and what out of the way nooks and crannies you explore! Every blog has been educational, entertaining, informative, and fun! More power to you Kevin and Ruth!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you very much for those kind words of encouragement to us. We think that we make the right decisions for us but we can never be too sure until we see them through. So far things have worked out well for us and we think that is due to Kevin's thorough research and our ability to be open to whatever change might come about.

      We are happy that you have been enjoying our blog posts, we have certainly been enjoying bringing them to you. :-)

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