20.7.2016 for 19.7.2016
On the second day the Italian and Slovenian teams arrived at Podgorica in the wee early hours and took a van to Shkoder where the Austrian team was already expecting them. The arrival was emotional: a new adventure was about to start. 🙂 First, we got to know each other of for those who had been on previous walks to see their companions again. Before taking a much needed nap, some of us took a swim in the beatuiful Lake Shoder, and had a delicious self-prepared lunch by our ”chefs”. Afterwards the Albanian team arrived, who had gone shopping for the last of the needed ingredients for the first few days, and the group was complete!
The campground had a nice patch of grass under some trees that provided shade against scorching sun. We organized activities that helped us to get to know each other better: each presented themselves with via a personal object helping us to remember each other’s name. Just a few examples: a notebook with self-made drawings of breathtaking landscapes made during amazing journeys, a necklace, a guitar and….last but not least the “RAKI”, the traditional Albanian fruit brandy.
Next on our schedule was a guest lecturer Emirjeta, a member of the Albanian organisation INCA, explained the situation in Albania, focusing on hydropower plants. The hundreds of proposed projects are posing a threat that will cause unrepairable damage to rivers. We each got our first look at the Riverwalk brochure and postcards that we are planning on distributing to people we meet on hiking. The goal is to make the locals and tourists aware of the importance of rivers for the future development of the region and of the consequences of the short term gain of using the rivers for hydropower. We are hoping to catch attention of the media.
Picture taking and the fall!
We wanted to make a group picture with our new Riverwalk t-shirts on. And the pier sticking out into the beautiful Shkoder lake seemed like the best spot. Unfortunately, we miss calculated the holding strength of the wooden pier and as we were squeezing together to make a perfect picture we heard the cracking noises of the wood. Before we were able to disperse, the pier gave way under out weight. Together we plummeted onto the ground below. We were in a state of shock, but as a true team we worked together to help the injured ones. It really showed our strength in coping up with barriers, handling the situation calmly. Sadly two of the group had to make a travel to a local hospital to be treated. The rest of us talked and shared our feelings and reactions about the event. Luckily there were no serious injuries, only bruises, scratches and a few badly sprained ankles.
After a difficult afternoon, we shared a traditional Albanian dinner prepared by a mother of one of our Albanian team members. The food was really delicious!
Just before going for a well-deserved sleep, we discussed the last details of our trip.
It was a very long day… More to come!