Sarandë & Ksamil Island, Albania

Once again I end up at a new place, new views, wonderful weather, no plans, no ideas even. Would you trust me if I say, I cannot remember how many times I’ve found myself in a new town or place somewhere in Europe and thought, ”Jeez, I’m here?! How did I even make it here? And now what?”. I clearly remember arriving in Sarandë  facing the sea and thinking exactly this, again.

I bought myself the cheapest ice cream I’ve eaten yet and sat down, looking at the sea, eating it in peace in the scorching sun. Then I considered what to do, I hooked to a local WiFi and decided I’ll get a hostel for two nights.

After checking in, I went to a local shop and stocked up on fruit – gorgeous figs and bananas, then went to the beach and spent the rest of the day there, sunbathing, reading my books and listening to radio podcasts. Heavenly! Just like in Ohrid, Macedonia I felt like I can do this for a whole month before I get somewhat enough of it hahaha.

I found Sarandë to be a little too touristy and fairly in 21 century, looking at the buildings and the shopping stalls etc. And as I learned later Sarandë  has been build fairly recently, for the sole purpose of driving and accommodating more tourists. I did not feel interested in exploring the city, so later on in the evening I headed back to the hostel, where I stayed up late socializing with the other guests. We had some interesting debates and was pretty nice.

On the next day I headed to Ksamil Island, the bus stop was just 5mins away from my hostel and was easy to find, but figuring out which bus was to Ksamil Island was slightly more difficult. After much delays a bus to Ksamil Island finally arrived, yet it was impossible to get on, as it was already crowded and interestingly people kept on pushing in, until the door finally closed tightly behind the last passenger’s back, who managed to get on board, standing on the steps.

Many of us were left behind to wait for another hour, before the next one was due. I ended up chatting with a Polish family and we considered getting a taxi together, but the drivers decided they’d offer us a kind rip off, as all tourists deserve, so we declined. Instead we sat down for coffee at the coffee shop near the bus station and spent time getting to know each other. When it was time to get on the next bus, a mini bus arrived, no labels, no info, so we asked if they’re driving to Ksamil Island and as luck has it, they were. Oh the rush to get on this thing haha!

Half an hour later we were in Ksamil and decided to stick together and explore the island, but first, we went for lunch at a restaurant with a beautiful view of the sea!

After lunch we went for a walk round to see the different beaches and find a pedal boat to go into the sea and reach any of the little islands. We walked from place to place and saw some really good coffee shops and restaurants, and absolutely gorgeous views!

It was really nice spending the time with them, I felt like I was adopted for a day and had a new family! We exchanged contacts and we are staying in touch!

In the evening we were lucky to manage to get on the bus back to Sarandë, as it was the last one and the bus stop was very crowded. Interestingly there was a tiny girl who made her way through the stuffed bus collecting money for the tickets.

As we approached Sarandë, we entered a massive traffic jam, moving sluggishly and getting claustrophobic in the suffocating environment of the crowded bus, when it finally opened doors, in the middle of the road, stuck in the traffic, we and many others  decided to get off and walk to town. We walked through town, and had a warm goodbye, before we headed our separate ways for the night and the journey too, as I was travelling to Corfu the next day.

Here are some more pictures of the beautiful adventure I had with my adopted family!

 

 

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