Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Slochteren, Netherlands.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Papenburg, Germany.

Sunday, May 2, 2021

The most beautiful waterfall in Albania

Saturday was moving day as we made our way from Gjirokaster to Permet. Not a long distance, only about 62 kms (38 miles). But there were a few things we wanted to see along the way.

The main thing we wanted to see was the Peshtures Waterfall near the village of Progonat. We had read that it is the most beautiful waterfall in Albania, and the pictures we had seen sure made it look that way.

But, it's not easy to get to.

One review I read said that you would have to know a local in order to find it.

I knew where it was... I had the GPS coordinates of the waterfall itself. However I could not find any information online about the best road to get there, or even where the trail started for the hike up the canyon. So of course we will include that info here for future travelers!

I could see two choices of roads to get there from Gjirokaster. One route went through the village of Kolonje and would include some dirt road driving to get to Progonat. And we know from past experience that many unpaved roads in Albania can be in pretty rough shape. Using Google maps or Google streetview doesn't help. Streetview is very limited in Albania.

The other route was longer and went north up to the town of Tepelena and then southwest up to Progonat.

We decided to try the shorter route first. No way to know the condition of the roads until you actually get on them, so it was just a crapshoot as to which route would be better.

Scenery along the way.

Once we turned off the main highway, we were pleasantly surprised to find that the secondary road leading as far as Kolonje was also paved and in overall good condition.

Good condition, but there were a few obstacles!

The scenery was gorgeous though.

As green as a golf course!

And hardly any traffic.

A teddy bear?

You'll see this regularly in Albania. Stuffed animals hanging somewhere on the property. Even in the cities. Has nothing to do with religion. But it does ward off evil, so they say. If you want to read more about it, here's a BBC news article... https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-33718522

The village of Kolonje.
Notice the teddy bear.

Yes, we could have asked some of the people at that cafe if we were on the correct route. But first, there was the communication problem, and second I would not have trusted their guidance. Just because an Albanian says "the road is fine" doesn't mean that it is.

We carried on and the paved road turned to gravel.

Our car, stopped while I get out and make a decision.

It sure is beautiful here.

I walked a little further up and looked back at our car.

It was a single lane gravel road with no guard rails and steep drop offs. The actual road surface wasn't in bad shape though. But I was worried about if a vehicle was coming the other way, and just because the surface is in good shape here doesn't mean that it is a km or two up the road.

I chickened out. Found a spot to turn around, and we went back to the main highway.

If nothing else, it was still a beautiful detour. The scenery is stunning.

We made our way north to Tepelena and then onto the road that goes to Progonat.

Scenery along the way.

The Ali Pasha Aquaduct built in the 1800's.


If we had more time, this would be another great area for a hike.

Chimney in the tiny village of Bence.

At this tiny village, on a road with very little traffic... there was a traffic jam! It turned out that we had timed ourselves just right to get into the middle of a funeral procession!

We will not be going 40 km/h through here.
It took a half an hour or so for the people to walk to the cemetery.


Just gorgeous.

Right about where I was expecting the road to become gravel, it became nice fresh pavement. In fact, they have spent a lot of money on this road that climbs up the mountain. Good thing for us because I think that if we had tried to do this in a two wheel drive vehicle a year ago, we wouldn't have made it. But now? Nice! It's so fresh there are some sections still being worked on. But it will be complete in a month or two.

Nice fresh pavement.

And a steep climb, with lots of switchbacks.
You can see the road we were on bottom right.

We made it to the village of Progonat and looked for the pathway leading to the falls. After some searching and dead ends, we asked a little boy who pointed us in the right direction.

The entrance to the trail is located at GPS 40.215113, 19.951102

Wow!

The canyon is spectacular. I wish we had some blue sky and sunshine.

Ruth, trying to stay away from the edge.
She would be doing a lot of that!

Me!

Ruth, looking down.

This pretty little waterfall comes right out of the rocks higher up.

We weren't the only ones there. We passed two other couples in their 20's, and a family group of about eight people with kids who were headed the opposite way. The trail eventually makes its way down to the river itself and then you have to follow the riverbed up through the canyon to the falls.

When we got to the falls, there were two young (late 20's) Italian guys there. They both spoke English so we talked to them a bit while we all enjoyed the falls.

Ruth, at the falls.

While this was indeed a pretty spot, this was not the spot I had seen in the pictures. So I was a little disappointed. The Italian guys said that they had spoken to an old man who told them that there is another spot further down, but it's really hard to get to and if you don't know the route you would never make it. 

Hmph. 

So, we enjoyed that spot, but I was still disappointed. We turned around and started making our way back out the canyon.

The canyon walls were really interesting. 
Can you see Ruth, with the big overhang above her head?

Ruth spotted what looked like a goat path type of trail going up. I would not have noticed it and would have walked right by. I started going up, because I thought maybe there was a way to view the falls from higher up. But it was pretty steep and I almost didn't go. Then I told Ruth to wait at the bottom, and I would go check it out to see if there was anything to see, and call her to come up if there was.

And there was.

I was gone quite a while because it was tough to get up there. There were sections where you had to use hands and feet. And usually, going up is easier than getting back down. I was worried that if I called Ruth up there she might have a hard time getting back down. But it was too beautiful to pass up.

C'mon up Ruth!

After the hard climb up, you make your way through this cool opening in the rocks.

And you see this!


The most beautiful waterfall in Albania.

I took a short video for you so that you can enjoy the falls too!

Wow!

Now, we thought about the two Italian guys who were likely going to miss this. We made our way back down, and as soon as we got to the point where Ruth was okay on her own, I rushed on down to tell them before they got too far . Then I led them back up there. They were so glad! I'm sure that many people who visit the falls only see the lower one.

Then we hiked back to the car, enjoying the views of the canyon along the way...





I took another short video for you...


Back at the car, we began driving headed back in the same direction we came. Who do we come across? The two young Italian guys hitchhiking! Of course we stopped and picked them up. They had taken the local bus from Gjirokaster to Tepelena and then hitchhiked their way to the falls. We were quite happy to take them back to our turnoff, and they were quite happy that we came along and stopped for them.

We made it to our destination and our new Airbnb at Permet. But this blog post is already too long, so you can hear more about Permet tomorrow!

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Nice price drop on the Echo Show 5 with Blink Mini Cam. Prime members only.

And in Canada...

26 comments:

  1. The water at the waterfall was beautiful. It amazes me that you never get lost.

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    1. It sure was beautiful, especially that upper waterfall section!

      We don't get lost because we use our GPS/mapping system on our phone. We mark where we want to go and if it is on a hiking trail then we just follow the trail. Our only issue with this hike was that we couldn't find the trailhead, it wasn't marked so once we got on that we were all set, expect for our exploring up above the waterfall hoping for a different view and then just by chance came across the section of water fall that we were really looking for. :-)

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  2. Wow lucky you found the falls they .Gorgeous!

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    1. We sure were, at least the upper ones! The lower one was easy enough because it was marked on our map and there was a proper trail to it but it would have been real easy to miss the upper ones if you didn't know about them, we are glad we did a bit of further exploring and came by them by chance. :-)

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  3. Wow what a beautiful area...including yesterday's hike.

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    1. It certainly is a gorgeous area. We knew that we were going to love this part of Albania, more than the coast.

      That was certainly an adventurous hike with a narrow path and very steep drop offs but it was worth the hike to see those beautiful waterfalls. :-)

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  4. I love your blog. I found it from a post you made on the Serial Nomad FB group, that was when you were climbing Kilimanjaro. I have since read the first four years of your blog but have slowed my binge reading. Today I see Kevin making a comment on Bob Lowry’s Satisfied Retirement blog post. This is really a small world. Thanks for allowing me to tag along with your adventures. Albania seems wonderful.
    By the way I grew up in Maine with a mum from Montreal so I understand your comments about Quebec government.

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    1. Thank you very much Dave, we are happy that you are enjoying our blog and that you found it through Senior Nomads. We can't believe that you have gone back to the very beginning and have read through our first four years, that is a lot of reading!

      It is a small world when it comes to some of the blogs that we read and the fact that you are following that same one as Kevin.

      We really are loving Albania, the scenery is spectacular and just what we were looking for.

      Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment and we hope that you will continue to follow along on our adventures. :-)

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  5. That's fantastic Scenery and have to agree that you are lucky not to get lost. Some of those paths Kathy would easily lose her balance.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

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    1. The scenery is amazing, we love it here and are right in our element. :-)

      We don't get lost because we follow our mapping system, if you follow it correctly there is no way to get lost.

      No, I don't think Kathy would enjoy that trail, I even had a hard time in a few sections where there was a huge drop off and a skinny path!

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  6. One of my favorite post ❤️

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    1. Thank you, we are glad that you enjoyed the post. :-)

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  7. Wow!! Your determination paid off! Gorgeous falls and impressive hike/canyon/scenery! Good job!!

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    1. It sure did, we don't give up easily! I am just glad that Kevin had looked at pictures beforehand on the internet, to know that there had to be another waterfall somewhere, we just didn't know where. We thought maybe it was either further upstream or downstream, we really didn't think that it was just the upper part of the lower waterfall. We are so glad that we went up that trail just to look for a better picture opportunity of the lower falls from above, not knowing that we would come across the upper section. We are so glad that we did! :-)

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  8. Amazing scenery and a great story to go along with it. I felt like I was right there with you!

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    1. Thank you Carol, we are glad that you enjoyed the post! And yep, the scenery was fantastic. :-)

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  9. Missed your blogs for several weeks so will be binge reading now and then to catch up starting with this one…the title caught my attention and indeed….the scenery, the challenging hike and the reward at the end was worth holding my breath! So proud of you two and really enjoying all your posts specially the pictures! Thanks again!

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    1. Glad you like the title of this one because I think that this was most definitely the most beautiful waterfall in all of Albania, mind you we haven't seen all the waterfalls here yet!

      It wasn't so much of a challenging hike but it did give me the willies a few times when the trail became very narrow with really steep drop offs but I am glad that we did it and that we found that upper section of the waterfall because that was the best part of the waterfall.

      We are glad that you are enjoying our posts and our pictures. :-)

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  10. Totally amazing and what a find on the falls. We checked out falls all over the USA in our travels. The best was in Oregon, (besides the Niagara Falls) I love following you guys.

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    1. Thank you Dee, it really was an amazing waterfall to see, especially after we found the top section to the falls, they were the most impressive.

      We love waterfalls too and are always on the lookout for them, no matter what country we happen to be in. There are some fantastic ones down it Mexico that we have found and there is hardly ever anyone around, and Iceland also has some amazing ones! :-)

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  11. Wow! So wonderful that Ruth persevered and found the full waterfall, and very nice of you to help the Italian guys see it too (plus give them a ride). Talk about paying it forward; that earned you some good karma! The falls were absolutely gorgeous.

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    1. It was funny because I saw the path and mentioned to Kevin that maybe there was a better view of the lower waterfall from above looking down on it, never did we expect to find the upper section of the waterfall there and to see that it was even more striking than the lower falls.

      We are also glad that we took the extra time to tell the Italian guys about it and that Kevin even went back up there to show them the way just so they wouldn't miss it. And then, to come across them again hitchhiking back to Tepelenë, it would have been rude for us not to have given them a ride and it was nice company too. We only did what we hope people would and have done for us in the past. :-)

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  12. nice blog, glad you find it. Do you know how deep ist the water under the waterfall?

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    1. Thank you, we hope that you will enjoy our posts of Albania, we have really been enjoying our time here.

      We are glad that we found the waterfall as well, it is definitely not an easy one to find. We don't know how deep the water is under the waterfall, sorry.

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  13. Love your blog, I’ve been a reader for years.

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    1. We are glad that you are enjoying our blog and our adventures. Thank you for following along with us over the years. :-)

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