Arriving in Saranda, I had some difficulties finding the guesthouse where I would be staying, but I got some help from a woman at the café next door. The owner, Leo, was on vacation, so I was checked in by his parents who don’t speak any english. It took some time, but eventually they communicated everything I needed to know to get settled in.

My first order of business in Saranda was to just slow down. I had been travelling at a breakneck pace for the last two months, so I took some time to relax and enjoy the holiday season. For new years I took a bus to Tirane, the capital. It was a good time, and I met some really nice people at the hostel.

Once I had had my rest, I started making day trips to the various attractions around Saranda. Leo does a lot of hiking, so I joined him on some of his excursions. I also bought a motorcycle, so I’m able to get myself to places not accessible by bus. With my new bike, I visited some beautiful places farther from civilisation.

In particular, the hot spring in the south of Albania was excellent. There were many locals visiting to enjoy the warm water. Some of us built a fire, and it was very nice to sit and share food and rakija around the fire. I took many other small trips, and I documented them more thoroughly on my Polarsteps.