Balkans ro/eng

August 19, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

(RO)

Ganduri amestecate :
Bucuresti, Vidin, Novi Pasar, Durmitor, Kotor, Dubrovnik, Budva, Tirana, Berat, Qeparo plaja, Ohrid in Muntenegru, Ohrid in Albania, Skopje, Sofia, Veliko Tirnovo, Bucuresti = 3600km = 13 granite = 2 saptamani de transpiratie si naduf, praf si halucinatie, ce ramane de povestit fara atmosfera si nici in ordine cronologica.

Peisaje in Muntenegru, familiaritate in Albania, femei frumoase in Bulgaria, multe tatuaje, nationalism in Macedonia, tulburari politico-etnice ce rabufnesc pe placile de marcaj ale oraselor sau statelor, venind dinspre Grecia, urmatorul e FYRM, placi de marcaj razuite sau impuscate, emana conflicte mocnite si mandrie locala; mancaruri specifice, se repeta intr-un periplu balcanic.

SKOPJE: Dar am ajuns devreme, ce bine ca mai putem vedea ceva din oras: ora 12:00 bulevard larg, intrarea in oras e clasica cu multe semafoare: nimeni pe strada, nici pe trotuare. ce’i drept e duminica, dar sarbatoare crestina si musulmana in acelasi timp ce sanse sunt? am gasit hotelul in centru, langa 2 pietonale, o piata centrala si raul Vardar. Hotelul, o cladire de birouri din 1960 dezafecatata, ultimele doua etaje transformate in hotel, ofera o perspectiva neclara catre afara, dar cat mai repede: receptionerul ne asigura ca nu avem ce face si am  gresit destiantia: muzeul inchis, statuia Maica Theresa poate fi admirata si de la exterior, altfel inchis, inchis, orice figureaza pe harta turistica e pur si simplu : INCHIS! Vizitam orasul duminica ora 3, la 35 de grade, uscat,fara costume si casca negre, cu un avanpost pentru adapare: bere, nimeni, bere, 3 muste urbane  in aceste zile de sarbatoare: deznadejde. o luam la pas, trecem podul si ne minunam de  minunile simbolistice ale Macedoniei reunite la skopje in 500 m, toate! Un vanzator de suveniruri, ne vinde si un pont pe langa pandantivul cu numele de alint. dupa 8 se incinge peterecere! mai e o speranta! trebuie doar sa rezistam pana atunci: dormit pe banca la umbra lui Chiril si Methodiu, mancat pizza, singura deschisa inainte de Ramadam unde am baut si vin daca tot era cu muzica live la ora 3 la pizzerie; e deja noapte, oameni multi, apar de nicaieri imbracati de sarbatoare, fac poze cu simbolurile, dupa care se intorc la petrecerea lor, unii cu ceai si manele(traditional) sau electronice, da, exista, altii cu whiskey si jazz..

Skopje inainte si dupa Ramadam  musulmani si crestini ca doua specii care uneori interfereaza intr-una singura, jazz pe strada tot la Skopje intr-o atmosfera de bairam generalizat, zgomotul  tobelor specifice manelelor atat de hulite, la origini suna foarte bine, tot pe strada. asa trebuie sa fi fost si in perioda califatului, pentru ca si acum apartenenta religioasa e separata geografic de raul Vardar, pe de o parte casele, strazile, old bazar, pe cealalta parte zona reprezentativa reconstruita dupa un cutremur, intr-un exces de lumina, culoare, fantani, o identitate reinventata, fundal pentru fotografii de ocazie pentru cei de pe partea celalta a raului, conservanti ai  traditiilor....

Murici - la limita intre Muntenegru si Albania, venind dinspre Muntenegru e lacul Skoder si  alpii albanezi:  drum accidentat la inaltime, arid, cald, pe jos pietris, cateva case sunt raspandite pe munte fiecare cu aleea de acces de aceeasi categorie cu drumul principal,  astfel ca pentru a ajunge la lac e nevoie de intuitie si mult fler, ca intr-un labirint. fara parapeti, pe o rampa in care siguranta nu e esentiala, ajungi la lac, dar pare mai degraba o mare daca nu s-ar vedea muntii albanezi, de la inceputul sau sfarsitul lumii. o plaja, un camping, si oamenii care lucreaza acolo. Un chelner sarb vorbeste romaneste pentru ca femeia lui e de la Slatina si vrea sa vina in tara sa-si vada copilul, ca are si un copil cu ea, si a facut 3 ani deja, dar nu l-a mai vazut, iarna e la Innsbruck la un bar, iar cu drumurile proaste in Romania.... nici Murici nu mai e asa indepartat.

Qeparo - sat neatacat de turismul de masa, cu case pe plaja, sau cocotate pe munte, intretin  forma fizica a localnicilor, zglobii indiferent de varsta. un golf populat de un hotel mai scapatat, de 5 stele, in care proprietarul asigura un rol de amfitrion inlocuind stelele lipsa cu o ospitalitate debordanta. pe serpentine de sus o plaja unde 2 albanezi batrani joaca sah pe la pranz cu o sticla in preajma, iar jocul se incheie cu o baie in marea inrosita de soare.

Gazda prietenoasa ca o ruda indepartata pe care nu am vazut-o de mult, fiica ei care odata cu micul dejun, vine cu zambetul larg si o  dantura perfecta trezeste dorinte ascunse, sau cealalta fiica cu engleza impecabila participa la afacerea familiei. Mai sunt turisti, un grup de studenti cehi cazati cu cortul chiar in parcare, familia de albanezi cu mama tata ca parte a sistemului, politie si justitie, cu fiul lor care fumeaza tigari de contrabanda la care a participat, a facut arhitectura in germania si actoria la Tirana- motiv suficient pentru a-si practica talentul cu oricine e disponibil.

Albania. Localitatea Orikum ar putea fi o destinatie. Chiar exista !!

Muntenegru - inconjurati de atatia munti si verde, tuneluri, drumuri serpuite, raul care ne insoteste si canionul, pare un taram fermecat, intrusi intr-o alta lume. daca pana acum am mers cu rasuflarea stransa aici s-a taiat, la canionul Tara, si pana la Durmitor care ne e si dormitor,  tot asa taiata a ramas. Prin natura evenimentelor am refacut drumul inca de 2 ori, de data asta la apus, la care a contribuit   noaptea si frigul.

Mai sti cand ti-ai “pierdut” telefonul pe marginea apei, de fapt asa am cezut odata ajunsi la dormitor, ne-am intors pe acelasi drum sinuos de data asta si mai in viteza-aici se vede  talentul -fiecare serpentina ar putea fi ultima, adrenalina pura.

Sau cand am plecat o fuga pana la Dubrovnik, in slapi, si costum de baie, dar am ajuns in Bosnia, scenografie naturala si pustiu…

Pe drumul spre golful Kotor, prin spatele muntelui, pe 2 roti, neavand vreo asteptare de uimire, cu retina plina de imagini si locuri de pe drumul de la Tara ,urmatoarea serpentina izbeste cu aer cald, munti care ies din mare, pete colorate pe care le banuiesc a fi localitatile de pe mal, vapoare mici ca-ntr-o macheta, marea, incerc sa'nregistrez momentul.

Pe locul intai in topul celor mai mici bugete, concurand doar cu statul acasa.

Politia e cu noi!

Cu riscul de a nu fi inteles nimic, tot timpul pe fuga, cu repere, preconceptii, am ajuns intr-un final. ALBANIA.  “nu te duce !!” , “e periculos !”, “dar de ce ?”... isi gasesc explicatia foarte repede, prima intalnire la apus, soselele nu par prea sigure terminandu-se brusc…

Ca strain, dupa ce compari cu ce sti si ce te asteptai sa fie,  judecata e si mai aspra, tine de frig, foame, oboseala si necunoscut. totul pare amenintator pe cat pare de sigur. Suntem aceeasi specie: depasiri am mai vazut, carute pe autostrada,..caini sigur, tarabe dezafectate dupa comertul din timpul zilei, benzinarii inchise, bezna, duhoare…

La granita ne-au  invitat calduros, am mers deasupra tuturor, intrand primii pe la pietoni dupa o coada de cativa km, albanezi francezi sau elvetieni se intorceau acasa, pentru ca turisti ca noi erau doar cativa pe care i-am regasit pe drum.  

La Tirana, noaptea,  in mijlocul unei gloate furioase, trecand prin suburbii intunecate si pustii, gloata nu era de fapt furioasa doar bucuroasa ca invinsese echipa preferata... in cel  mai luxos hotel, se cara bagaje...curg muste si sudoare, ochii sunt rosii de la praf sau pentru ca nu exista faza scurta a farurilor in Albania ?...  capitolul servicii calitate pret pare cel mai bun aici de pana acum, venind dinspre Muntenegru si Serbia ...

Tirana ca orice oras post comunist pastreaza repere ale arhitecturii sovietice sau realismului socialist imbinat cu provincialul fatuit, bulevarde largi, un canal in centru, piata centrala, un nod de circulatie haotic, biciclisti, piteoni, dube, motoare, mercedesuri cam ca la Universitate, doar ca fara nici o regula de mers.  

In spate, o strada cu baruri si terase, la parterul blocurilor sau amenajate. fervoarea se simte; masini scumpe, geamuri fumurii, muzica duduie, miroase frumos;  fetisul pentru masina si statut.  

Dorinta de a interactiona e mare, ca turisitii adevarati, cu bagaje, costume si casti nu e greu sa iesi  in evidenta. un dialog interesant cu cei pe care-i intalnim pe drum zicand pe limba lor ce si-ar putea imagina a fi o conversatie.se ofera tigari in semn de prietenie, desi prietenia e separata usor de gen..

La  lumina, din nou in caldura, praf de la Tirana la Berat … praf !

Spre mare, fara rezervare, cu un contact virtual in buzunar, destinatia e cunoscuta, drumul de coasta cu marea in stanga, masini grabite in vacanta pline de oameni si bagaje, serpentine stranse, saltele gonflabile, invazie. din varf direct in mare, pe 2 roti,  vantul, briza, buncarele, pacla albastra, si bucuria.

De la Vlore la Qeparo  e drumul recomandat, la Top Gear era insa gol.

De apreciat neimplicarea religioasa a albanezilor care consuma alcool si il si servesc, spre deosebire de Skopje sau Novi Pazar unde religiozitatea se simte direct in uscaciunea gatului  insetat. dar la Novi Pazar noroc cu crestinii  care sarbatoresc cum se cuvine o nunta, sarbeasca, cu atat mai bine. Dupa exilarea in salonul privat al hotelului,  am fost intampinati sa petrecem iar dupa a 3-a bere alamuri, plictiseala sau dezmat; Kusturica nu exagera !

Ca sa pleci in jurul lumii trebuie sa incepi de undeva, un posibil poligon ar putea fi Albania.

La final un multumesc unui chelner din Veliko Tarnovo care arata precum un fan Hetfield, da da ala de la Metallica doar ca mai tatuat, a fost un adevarat gentelmen toata seara doar ca la plecare nu ne-a lasat sa iesim din carciuma fara sa ne imbratiseze si sa ne multumeasca... evident in romana :). ROCK !!

In afara de socul traficului albanez depasit intr-o ora toate bune... aaah niciodata sa nu mergi vara in bagaje cu mesadele ...

(ENG)

Mixed up thoughts:

Bucharest, Vidin, Novi Pasar, Durmitor, Kotor, Dubrovnik, Budva, Tirana, Berat, Qeparo beach, Ohrid in Montenegro, Ohrid in Albania, Skopje, Sofia, Veliko Tarnovo, Bucharest = 3600 Km = 13 state borders = 2 weeks of sweat and heat, dust and hallucination, everything else has no feeling and also no chronology.

Views in Montenegro, familiarity in Albania, beautiful women in Bulgaria, lots of tattoos, nationalism in Macedonia, political and ethnical unrest which breaks out on the city limit indicators on the way from Greece, next is FYROM, city limit indicators scraped or shot which radiate smouldered conflicts and local pride, local dishes, everything repeats itself on this Balkanic trip. 

SKOPJE: We got here early, so it’s great that we can still do some sightseeing: 12 o’clock in the afternoon, large boulevard, the typical city entrance with lots of traffic lights, nobody on the streets. Actually it’s Sunday and a religious holiday for both the Christians and the Muslims; what are the odds? We found the hotel in the centre of the city, next to two pedestrian areas, a central square and the river Vardar. The hotel, a refurbished 1960s office building, with the top two floors transformed into a hotel, offers an unclear perspective, but in no time the receptionist assures us that we have nothing to do and we got in the wrong place: the museum is closed, the statue of Mother Theresa can be admired also from the outside, otherwise it’s closed, closed, everything on the touristic map is just CLOSED! We go sightseeing Sunday, 3 o’clock, 35 centigrades, dry air, no suites and black helmets but with a stop for refreshing: beer, nobody, beer, 3 urban flies on these religious holidays, desperation, we go strolling across the bridge and we wonder on the symbolist treasures of Macedonia, all piled up in a 500 meter area. A souvenir merchant sells us a tip beside the pendant, after 20:00 there will be a party, so there’s hope! We just have to hold on until then: we sleep on a bench in the shadow of Kiril and Methodiu, we eat pizza in the only open restaurant before Ramadan, where we also drank wine since there was live music at 3 o’clock. It’s already night time, many people appear from nowhere dressed for party, take pictures with the symbols and then go on with their party, some with tea and traditional or electronic music, others with whiskey and jazz.

Skopje, before and after the Ramadan with Muslims and Christians as two species that sometimes merge into one, jazz on the streets in a party atmosphere, the sound of the drums specific to the gypsy music that sounds so good originally. That’s what it’s supposed to be back during the Caliphate days ‘cause even now the religions are physically separated by Vardar river, on one side the houses, streets, old bazaar, on the other side the representative area, reconstructed after an earthquake in an excess of light, colours, fountains, a reinvented identity, a background for pictures taken by those who live on the other side of the river, the tradition keepers.

Murici – on the border between Montenegro and Albania, coming from Montenegro is lake Skoder and the Albanian Alps with an unpaved mountain road, hot air, stones on the ground, a few houses scattered on the mountain each with a driveway in the same category with the main road, so, in order to get to the lake one needs a lot of intuition and flair, just like in a labyrinth. The road has no rails and by crossing a ramp where safety is not essential you get to the lake which looks more like a sea if there weren’t the Albanian mountains from the beginning or the end of times. A beach, a camping and people who work there. A Serbian waiter who speaks Romanian because he’s married to a woman from Slatina (Romania) wants to come to Romania to see his kid who’s already 3 years old, but he hasn’t seen him because in the winter he works in a bar in Innsbruck and the roads in Romania are so bad... even Murici is not that far away.

Qeparo – a village not overcome by mass tourism, with houses on the beach or up on the mountain which keeps the locals in shape and joyful regardless the age. A golf where a 5 stars hotel, a bit on the down side, where the owner is also the greeter replacing the missing quality stars by an overwhelming hospitality. Down the coiled up road, a beach where 2 old Albanian men play chess with a bottle next to them and the game ends with a bath in the red sun colored sea.

The host, friendly like a distant relative who you didn’t see in a long time, her daughter who brings together with the breakfast a wide smile and perfect teeth and who stirs hidden desires, or the other daughter who speaks perfect English and helps with the family business. There are other tourists as well, a group of Czech students that camped right in the parking lot, the Albanian family where both parents are part of the system, police and judiciary, and the son who smokes smuggled cigarettes, he himself a smuggler, and who graduated Architecture in Germany and Acting in Tirana, reason enough to exercise his talent with anybody available.

Albania. The village of Orikum could be a destination. It really exists!

Montenegro – surrounded by so many mountains and green, tunnels, windy roads, the river that keeps us company and the canyon, it seems a magical realm and we intruders in another world. If until now we have travelled in owe, now we’re astonished and from the Tara canyon until Durmitor, which will be our bedroom, we stayed that way. As things went on, we retook this trip twice, this time at dusk with the cold and darkness to enhance the feeling.

Thinking we have “lost” a phone on the beach we went back from the city on the same winding road, this time with even greater speed – this is where talent shows – each curb threatening to be the last one, pure adrenaline.

Or one time we took a quick trip to Dubrovnik, in bathing suits and flip flops, but we ended up in Bosnia, nature and emptiness...

On the road to Kotor gulf, behind the mountain, on 2 wheels, expecting no astonishment, with the eyes full of images and places picked up from the road from Tara, the next curb slaps us with hot air, mountains that pop up from the sea, coloured stains that I suspect as being the beach villages, small, mock-up like boats, the sea and I trying to record the moment.

First place for low budget travelling, similar only to staying at home.

The police are on our side!

Risking understanding nothing, always on the run, with guidance and preconceptions, we finally made it. ALBANIA. “Don’t go!”, “It’s dangerous!”, “But, why?” find their reasons very quickly, on the first meeting at sunset, the roads don’t look to safe as they end up suddenly...

As a stranger, after you compare with what you knew and what you were expecting, the judgment is even harsher, influenced by the cold, the hunger, the exhaustion and the unknown. Everything looks as menacing as it appears safe. We’re the same species: we all saw vehicles pass by other vehicles, horse wagons on the highway, stray dogs of course, abandoned selling booths after the day’s commerce, closed gas stations, pitch black darkness, stench...

At the border they invited us politely to pass the kilometre long queue, so we went in the country the first, as pedestrians, passing Albanian French or Swiss citizens which were on their way home, because tourists like us we reencountered just a few further away.

In Tirana, at night, in the middle of an angry mob, passing by dark and empty neighbourhoods, the mob wasn’t actually angry but happy that the favourite team had won the game... in the most luxurious hotel luggage is being hauled... sweat is dripping and flies are buzzing, the eyes are red from the dust or just because in Albania the cars are driven with their headlights off?... The value over money for services seems to be the best until now since Montenegro and Serbia...

Tirana, just like any other ex-communist city keeps the communist architecture or the socialist realism mixed together with the polished rural, large boulevards, a canal in the centre, the main square, a chaotic traffic point, bicycles, pedestrians, vans, motorcycles, Mercedes, just as in the University Square in Bucharest but without any traffic rules.

Behind, a street with bars and terraces at the ground floor of apartment buildings or else. You can feel the fervour, expensive cars with dark windows, loud music, nice smells; the fetish for cars and status.

There’s a big desire to interact, as it’s hard to get unnoticed as tourist, with luggage, motorcycle suits and helmets. We have interesting dialogues with those we pass by as they speak their local tongue in what they imagine as being a conversation. Cigarettes are being offered as a sign of friendship, although friendship is a bit segregated by gender...

In the light again, the heat again, dust from Tirana to Berat... dust!

On our way to the sea side, with just a virtual contact detail in the pocket, no reservation, known destination, the sea side road with the sea on our left, cars in a hurry full of people on holiday and luggage, tight curbs, inflatable water beds, a true invasion. From the top directly to the sea, on 2 wheels, the wind, the breeze, the bunkers, the blue fog and the joy.

The recommended road is from Vlore to Qeparo, which on Top Gear was not busy at all.

The Albanian religious ignorance is to be appreciated when it comes to serving and drinking alcohol, as opposed to Skopje or Novi Pazar, where the religiousness is felt mostly in the dry thirsty throat. In Novi Pazar one may get lucky with the Christians that properly celebrate a wedding and even better a Serbian wedding. After being exiled in the hotel’s private hall, we were invited to party and after the third beer you get either boredom or mayhem, sign that Kusturica wasn’t exaggerating!

To start travelling around the world you have to start somewhere and Albania could be such starting point.

In the end I would like to thank a waiter in Veliko Tarnovo who looked just like a Hetfield fan, yes, the one from Metallica, just with more tattoos. He was a real gentleman all night and when we left he wouldn’t let us leave the pub without a hug and thanking us... in Romanian, of course :). ROCK!!

Aside from the shock caused by the Albanian traffic, which we overcame in one hour, everything went smooth... oh, never travel in the summer with your coats in the luggage...

 

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