Into the wind
We had spent the night outside Fier in a small clean hotel above a restaurant and bar. We had been worried about possible noise but the reassurances of the owners proved correct - we didn't hear any.
In true Albanian style the wind was strong and in our faces. The whole day I stayed behind Sam as he peddaled furiously to keep up a good pace.
At lunchtime we stopped at a small mini-market for some much needed nourishment. The lady spoke no English, but we managed to buy a third of a loaf of bread off her and some cold meat, plus she threw in some cheese.
While we sat on the steps in the shade her daughter came down from the house upstairs. She was a senior about to do her final exams at a Turkish school in the capital. Her lessons were all taught in English so her English was great!
For more than an hour we talked with this bright, intelligent girl about her studies, ambitions and life in Albania. She was hoping to be one of 200 students accepted into the only medical course in Albania, but she was aware that other students cheated. She had written to the Minister about the problem but received no reply. She considered visiting his office but decided not to waste her time as she knew the door would just be shut in her face. She has applied to study in "half the countries of the world", as she put it. But can't get a visa because she is Albanian.
We were sorry to leave our new friend but she had to return to the books and we had to head back into the wind.
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Sam and Shanna Evans are from Melbourne, Australia