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  • Writer's pictureMarion Marquardt

Lumi i Shales - Albania's Thailand

Updated: Dec 28, 2021

In some forums we had heard of Lumi i Shales, a crystal blue bay in the middle of the Albanian Alps. The pictures were promising. And with that it was set as destination.

lumi i shales albania komani river
Lumi i Shales

It was now the end of October. The summer season, which didn't really exist in Albania in the Corona year, was over. We were disappointed to find out that the boat transfers, which usually run daily, could no longer be booked. There had to be a way to get there ... by kayak the approximately 20 km were definitely too long. And so we found a contact who organized to bring us there. The evening before, we had to drive to Koman, from where the ferries leave. The journey became more and more adventurous, and so the almost 60 km took us several hours with our van. Once there, it was dark. The accommodation that we had booked seamed to be in off-season mode. Someone showed us the room, but there was no more food and hot water and internet were already turned off. So we went to the only other hotel to eat. The owners have just had dinner themselves and didn't expect guests. As hospitable as the Albanians are, they invited us to join their table. Unfortunately, the two of them didn't speak any foreign language, so we had to conversate with hands, feet and Google Translator. In the end it was a very warm, sociable evening. The two of course also refused any payment. We left them a great Google review for this :-)

The next day we embark the ferry boat. We have our bagpacks and tent with us for overnight. After about 30 minutes, we are the only ones to leave the ferry. A young guy takes us to the estuary in a motorboat. As the water gets more and more shallow, we fear to have to wade the rest of the way against the strong current in the cold water. No way! A nutshell with two guys is already waiting for us on a sandbank. Now the journey's getting adventurous.

lumi i shales komani albania
Boat trip to Lumi i Shales

The space is quite small for the four of us. So what, we drive upstream. In order not to get stuck on the ground, we have to change our positions on command of the captain. We are so amazed by the insane maneuvers that we do not even notice the beautiful landscape. Finally we arrive at Eagles Land, the B&B owned by the captain.

eagles land lumi shales komani albania
Lumi i Shales river embedded in the Albanian alps

Our campsite is across the river on the sandbank. First of all we explore this beautiful piece of earth. With the turquoise-blue water, the sand and the lush green around us, you cannot imagine that we are in the middle of the Albanian Alps. Make your own picture of paradise:

Later that afternoon we accept the invitation for coffee. We are picked up by boat to get to the other side of the river. The coffee is of course only served with homemade raki. Then we head back to our campsite on the self-constructed zipline - that's fun! The captain, who lives there with his mother, has some workers around to help him fix his buildings. He goes out again by boat. Micha and me already make a campfire and prepare our dinner - or at least try to. There are some dogs around. They belong to the neighbors, who are not here out of season. And so they seek for company. One of them is calf sized. It is almost impossible to cook and eat. One of us always has to distract the dogs.

It has been dark for a while and we didn't even notice that our host had come back. Suddenly we hear a noise of a motor accompanied by a scraping on the river bed. This is just unreal. The captain drives by boat in the dark, only with a headlamp. He just comments "Tutto e possibile" (in English: "Everything is possible."). We are invited to some roasted chestnuts and get into the boat. Over there we sit around the fire and enjoy delicious Italian wine. It just tastes much better than the Albanian one. And our host is, as we learn, quite often in Italy, he even has a wife and children there. The conversation in Italian gets better and better. After a few glasses of wine, even Micha speaks Italian. Tutto e possibile :-)

We spend a very sociable evening. Finally we zipline back to the tent in the dark. Woooohooooo :-) Unfortunately, the dogs are still there and besieging our field. One lies spread over the rest of the embers from the campfire. Micha tries to take a few night shots of the starry sky. Despite several glasses of wine and disturbing dogs, it's pretty good, isn't it?

lumi shales stars albania komani eagles land
Our campsite on the river bank

The night is restless and the next morning hard ... breakfast is canceled thanks to the terror dogs. We don't have nerves for that. The head hurts too much for the fuss. Our host soon is waiting for us by boat and off we go. Since we are now driving downstream, it is a lot faster than yesterday. Finally we change to the motorboat that takes us directly to Komani. What a trip! And what a beautiful place. But I can well imagine that it loses its charm in the high season, when several hundred tourists are there every day. We were very lucky that we had this paradise to ourselves.

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Eagles Land
Eagles Land
Dec 30, 2021

wow😍 hope to see you guys soon😊

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