Look, I’ve been to a couple of random spots in my life, but never more random than a fuel stop in Albania, of all places. We were in one of those fortunate positions, where our guests had jumped off for a rare few days. The crew were obviously elated, until we were told we were going to Albania, and then we were just confused.
Call me naive, but I had images of war, barren old buildings and hungry dogs walking around, I’m not even really sure why. Actually, if I was to be 100% honest, the most thought I had probably ever given Albania, was the Albany white toast bread we get at home.
But then, we pulled up at a grey fuel dock, with nothing around it, but cement blocks and weeds struggling to make their living. It was as bleak as what my perception might have led me to believe.
Our Captain told us that he had arranged us a half day tour for those who were interested. None of us had ANY idea what to expect, but when the word Blue Pools popped up, we were all very interested to see what kind of swimming spot this cement jungle might present us with.
So we gathered up our swim stuff and cameras, piled in the very comfie and air-conditioned Viano and drove a very far way through a very run down, dry and eerie landscape. I can’t even tell you where we were, but apart of me was a little uncomfortable. But we slowly started following a meandering river and climbing a green hill, making our way further and further into the tree tops. And then, we arrived at the most magnificent blue water that I have ever seen. It looked like the kind of blue that they use for Chlorine adds. It really must have been Mother Nature’s little gift to this area of Albania (Vlore Country)!
Named The Blue Eye, this natural water spring is apparently a very popular tourist destination. The section where we swam, is a 50 m deep pool, but it is so strange, you feel like you can dive into the Hole, trying to see where the source of the water flow is, but you just get rejected and churned back out. No matter how hard you try to kick upstream.
The water is freezing! As soon as you break the surface of the water, your breath is knocked out of your chest. You come up gasping and giggling, not quite sure whether to be concerned or to love the ice cold treatment of the water. Molly and I braved the cold for an extended period of time, as we lay on our backs and let the water lead us down stream.
We were so excited when we went down to the restaurant and a creaky, old Pedalo was sitting on the banks. The waiter laughed at me when I told him we were keen to take it out. The four of us climbed on and went pedaling further down the river. The water was so ridiculously clear, you could see the underwater forests almost to their roots. What a surprise this little natural marvel was!
Not even two minutes after returning the pedalo and sitting down to a mid afternoon feast, the heavens opened up and a cracking lightning storm broke from above. Most of you know my fear of lightning, and so I nervously retreated back to the van in the hopes that the storm might pass quickly and painlessly. It didn’t. I sat there for a while.
But, be it as it may, Albania threw us a beautiful surprise that day and exceeded all my expectations that I might have had. Goes to show, that my very limited knowledge of the country could probably be trumped at least ten times over.
That’s why you should always #LetLifeSurpriseYou