Albania: bunkers and sheaves   62544
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1 To Montenegro
2 Visitor
3 2030
4 Sheaf
5 Sheaf
6 Prokletije
7 Cemena, 2010
8 1846
9 To Lepushë - Cem valley - Shkoder
10 Maja e Taljanit, 1570
11 ABC standpoint
12 Direction Vermosh

Details

Location: Road Gusinje - Vermosh (1036 m)      by: Pedrotti Alberto
Area: Albania      Date: 29-08-2013
I think that everybody knows about the nearly 700.000 bunkers that the Albanian dictator Enver Hoxha let build in his country to protect it from attacks by the rest of the world (...).
Of course today we have Wikipedia, and it is meaningless to do lengthy cut-and-paste transfers of information from there:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bunkers_in_Albania
Let me only add a further piece of information, namely, a link with a self-explaining name
www.bunkertrails.org
It was very valuable for me when I was searching for GPS maps of Albania. Moreover, I do not know how much here on PPH, but surely on www.panoramio.com/photo/99022743 you will be able to recognize a red-and-white Bunker Trail mark on one of the bunkers.
Before leaving for my Balkan tour, I had asked an Albanian girl "Do you think that a cyclist alone can travel safely through your country?" Her answer was: "Be aware that if you go in Northern Albania the roads may be very isolated and thus unsafe... you can still find some thieves behind the bushes".
Quite instinctively I answered: "I absolutely want to visit a country where thieves still live behind the bushes, instead of sitting in Parliament or Government buildings, like in some countries of my knowledge..."
Actually, I had only one day left to have a glimpse of Albania and of its thief-filled-bushes. As a consequence, I cycled no more than 100 kms therein, and I stand away from claiming to be an expert of this country. But they were enough to have plenty of bunker experiences. I took several images of houses with a bunker directly in their courtyard, such in picasaweb.google.com/albertopedrotti/Balcani_2#5920090495823425874 Actually, it is said that removing one of these nearly indestructible buildings would have prohibitive costs.
The bunker photo that is by far my favourite (www.panoramio.com/photo/98451471) was taken not far from here - I have even marked it in the panorama. As one may expect, this northern corner of Albania, surrounded by the former Jugoslavia, is especially rich in bunkers.
Coming from Montenegro, few kms before this wide meadow you cross the border: the Albanian customs consist of a little building with a single room, hosting the customer, his bed, and a little desk. The customer writes down by hand your name and passport number on an old notebook. Short after the meadow you cross a little bridge on the Vermosh river, flowing towards the Plav lake. On the other side, short before the "ABC stadpoint", you find a fork: right you shortly reach Vermosh, the northernmost village in Albania. Left, with a certain fear you see a rough blank road starting with the mark Shkodër, the big town which lies at approx. 100 km. Do not trust, however, frightening Internet reports speaking of terrible holes on the road slowing down even 4WDs at less than 10 km/h! Otherwise, I have to believe that my bike runs faster than a 4WD, at least in Albanian territory. More realistically, I think that more than one "adventurer" of nowadays inclines to saturate a bit the colours of his adventures in order to enhance his "adventurous" aura...
More or less adventurously, however, you first reach Lepushë, the highest village in Albania. Next, crossing the Qafe Perdolec pass, you enter the wonderful Cem/Cjevna valley, heading towards the no less wonderful Shkodër lake.
Crop from a 360° view made of 14 vertical images, 38 mm (x 1.5), 1/200 sec, f/13.

Comments

Very interesting story about Albania! When i watch your panorama i remember, that i've seen a lot of this typical bunkers - first in 1995 during the way from Rinas to Tirane - and later in the country too! LG Hans-Jörg
2013/11/16 21:10 , Hans-Jörg Bäuerle
Forse questo genere di panoramiche di carattere documentaristico vengono un po' sottovalutate.
2013/11/17 22:59 , Giuseppe Marzulli
HJBäu: surely you have spent in Albania more than the few hours that I have spent in it!

Giuseppe: non so neanch'io cosa dire... probabilmente la "bella foto di paesaggio" sta meglio in piedi come oggetto isolato, quella che tu dici documentaristica forse andrebbe inserita in un contesto.
Detto questo, senza i bunker questa foto potrebbe essere in odore di insulsaggine; tuttavia, oserei dire che se ne vedono in giro di non meno insulse!
2013/11/18 10:41 , Pedrotti Alberto
Interesting view of an unknown country. Enver Hoxha's heritage is still alive.
2013/11/18 22:13 , Matthias Stoffels
Always great to read your texts - this time you only stopped short of revealing what you really found behind the bushes. The pano is also very nice, I espacially like the structured grey sky. Cheers, Martin
2013/11/24 20:41 , Martin Kraus
Ja, es war wirklich leer hinter jenen Sträuchern... Vielleicht sollte man einige Räuber und ähnliches Material aus Italien dort bringen: wir haben wirklich eine Menge von denen! Ich weiß aber nicht, ob dann die Italienische Räuber im Schatten der Sträucher Albaniens überleben wissen...
2013/12/04 14:14 , Pedrotti Alberto

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Pedrotti Alberto

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