Out for a walk at the Loynton Moss Nature Reserve, Staffordshire, England.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Preston, Lancashire, England.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Wyke, West Yorkshire, England on May 29th!

Saturday, October 8, 2022

We love these kinds of travel experiences!

We woke up to absolutely perfect blue sky and sunshine and it stayed that way all day. With a high of 27C (81F). No complaints here!

It was supposed to be a relax day where we just went for a walk in the area, and it pretty much was except for one detour Tony and I took to go investigate an old monastery well hidden in the forest.

Our accommodation is located in between the villages of Nokove and Mingul. The road to Nokove is paved and the village is easily accessible, but from Nokove to Mingul it is a rough track that is best done with 4 wheel drive. Easily walkable though!

View from our front balcony at 10am.

That's our accommodation on the right.
We are paying $18 CAD ($13 USD) per couple per night!

Looking back at the village of Nokove.

This is the only access road to the village of Mingul.

Heading towards Mingul.

The 600 year old church in Mingul.

Ruth and I had been here last year, but we wanted to show Helen and Tony. Also, we wanted to see if the nice lady Eleni was home. She was the one who had invited Ruth and I into her home for tea. You can read about that experience here... https://www.travelwithkevinandruth.com/2021/04/not-every-day-you-come-across-pile-of.html

We wandered down to Eleni's house but the gate was locked. We knocked and shouted a couple of times, but there was no answer so we continued through the village.

In the village of Mingul.

So we're wandering through the bottom part of the village and we come across a stream where a fire is burning. It was an older couple making raki! Raki is the traditional drink of Albania. They had their still set up by the stream and were making raki the way raki has been made here for hundreds of years. 

Making raki by the stream.

The production of homemade raki for private use is very common in Albania. Outside of the city, everyone knows how to make raki! But it is normally only produced at this time of year, so we were lucky to be here now.

The woman was quick to offer us a drink. Fresh out of the still! We have had raki quite a few times, and some raki is better than others. This one was quite good!

Keeping the fire going.

Raki, dripping out of the still. Notice the cotton stuffed in the tube acting as a filter.

The plum mash waste.

We love coming across these kinds of local cultural travel experiences. 

The woman pointed further down the trail and said that there was a monastery that way. But she couldn't communicate how far, and although the trail showed up on my mapping app, any kind of church building in that direction did not. And the trail went for a long way!

But, we set off that way anyhow just to get some exercise. Tony and I set off at a faster pace and left the girls behind. We figured if we got to something worthwhile we could go back and get them.

Looking back at the village if Mingul.

As we were walking, I checked google maps, and the monastery she was talking about was listed, but there was no trail. So all we could do was to try and head in the general direction.

And eventually, we made it there...

The exterior wall in crumbling.

And the small church itself is still standing, but it's in pretty rough shape.

No idea what this says, but notice the date in the lower right corner... 1666.

On the floor.

Looking up at the domed ceiling.
Notice the hornets nest!

Zoomed in.

Tony, exiting the church.
No idea why the entrance door is so short.

We made it back to see the girls, but they decided it would have been a tough walk and we didn't have much water with us.

On the way back, we asked the guy at the still about Eleni, and he pointed to a nearby house and yelled for her. She was at Sophia's house... the lady who had offered us the raki.

Eleni made us a coffee and gave us biscuits.

The language issue is so funny though. Eleni speaks zero English, and of course we only know about ten words of Albanian. And I didn't have a good enough cell signal to use Google translate. But she just keeps talking in Albanian, and we just smile and nod. Too funny.

What a great day.

Today, we are driving up the mountain this morning, and going into Gjirokaster this afternoon.

And it's looking like another gorgeous day!

Record low deal on this GCI Outdoor Pod Rocker Collapsible Rocking Chair. Plus, there is a 15% off coupon showing as well.

And in Canada...

Record low deal on the iRobot Roomba Self Emptying Vacuum.

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