Yes folks finally a less than pleasurable afternoon. That's a grand total of two single bad experiences in seven weeks of travel so I can't grumble too much can I. (The first being THAT time in Cyprus of course).
So the day started off reasonably bright and sunny enough for us to not feel cold or think we would need rain-proof weather. You see where this is eventually going...
As a town, Berat is nearly 2500 years old and you may recall me saying in a previous post that it offered a third and final UNESCO site in all of Albania and so it would have felt incomplete to have seen the other two and not this one. Besides, I still have the Dutch-warrior Therese as a travel companion and there was no chance she was gonna let me skip this last one. Three guesses though as to what the UNESCO site was though...
Yes, another darn castle but to get to this one we had to walk some seriously steep pavements. Well, I use the term pavement quite loosely. Check out the gradient - even the dog is exhausted! :-) (Don't worry, the dog is alive and kicking and just resting).
And that is all the castle picture you're getting but that's not through choice!
I did manage to snap an insect and a reptile at close-up though. Cool huh?
If World War 3 ever broke out, Albania would send those massive ants into battle!
So we only managed to see a small portion of the castle much to Therese's disappointment although we did manage to get in these two pictures highlighting the contrasting city buildings way below us and just how long a persons legs can actually be. She should insure those pins.
Then quite literally two minutes after those photo were taken all hell broke loose and heaven opened its floodgate and so it rained and rained and rained. We took shelter under an old and perhaps abandoned gazebo where we remained for what felt like an eternity!
In reality we were there for no more than an hour but believe me that is a long time when you're sat doing nothing slowly getting colder and colder. Honestly this proved to be a really tough experience and I had to 'dig deep' on multiple occasions.
No Mother, I didn't bring with me my rainproof jacket or trousers as I hadn't foreseen this downpour. The next day I would ask one of the hostel staff about the torrential rain from the day before and they said: 'It hardly ever rains in Berat, let alone most of the day'! Typical....
This was us roughly 30 minutes into the ordeal genuinely wondering if we would be stuck here for hours doing nothing starting at the dull grey mountainous abyss that had unfolded before our very eyes.
That's a rare shot of the energy draining from my fate-accepting face. I can honestly say that Therese and I didn't get grouchy with each other once during this hour which was testament to us both as things got much harder as our conversation, humour and energy all naturally slowed and our shivering intensified.
When the rain slowed, we bounced up from the woman-made seating area Therese had cleverly formed from some old canisters and so we began our descent down the treacherous, slippery, steep and uneven pavements. We miscalculated how long it would take us to get back to the hostel in these conditions and therefore no matter how 'little' the rain was, this would eventually result in two seriously wet people. Sadly I didn't get pics of this guys as unsurprisingly this didn't enter my mind until later on until after I was back in the hostel soaking up a hot shower.
Needless to say, I have never been that drenched in all my life so not an experience I'll forget in a hurry. Also, I don't think any Albanian's had seen anything like it either due to the amount of people slowing down there cars once we made level ground. This was not to offer us a lift I might add, simply to gawk. 'Stupid foreigners' no doubt going through their minds.
That evening we were really lucky that the staff would cook as nobody was leaving the hostel that evening to go out and about. Before we knew it, it was bed time and the morning arrived bringing with it some normal Albanian weather. Phew....
It was time to head north to the capital city: Tirana.