The bus ride down south towards Saranda went slow. As experienced before, there's no chance for cars to go fast on the curvy roads alongside the coast. But that's more than okay. The views are just beautiful and totally worth it to take some time. The bus stopped at a small restaurant half way which gave me the opportunity to refill my water bottle at the hose outside. It's been another hot but beautiful day and of course the bus didn't have air conditioning. Drinking cool water from the hose felt like heaven to my throat and soul.
Another 1.5 hours later I arrived in the coastal town Saranda nearby the border to Greece. Since I started collecting flyers of hostels since the beginning of this trip I also got one of a place in this town. I heard other travelers saying good things about it before. So walked from the bus station towards the city center. The hostel was easy to find but unfortunately it was fully booked. However, the receptionist told me where to find another hostel nearby. Two boys, probably 13 years old, insisted escorting me to the other hostel. I expected them to ask for a tip when we arrived. However, I didn't even have the chance to give them something. Instead, and to my surprise, they just ran away the moment I hit the doorbell. Since the hostels entrance was in a quite sketchy side road I expected something unpleasant to happen now anyways - like getting mugged. I felt some nervousness coming up inside of me and were watching out for someone or something strange around me. However, no one was waiting for me around the corner to mug me. It was just two nice boys who were happy to help me. Shame on me! Just expecting the worst!
This hostel also didn't have a free bed available but the receptionist gave me directions to another hostel just a few minutes' walk away. He said: "It's a new place right at the stadium. I didn't hear anything about it yet, so I've no idea what you can expect there". This is how I ended at Hostel Hasta la Vista. Probably the best hostel in Albania.
Although they didn't have a free bed available for me, I convinced the host that I could just sleep in some niche in the corridor until he would have a bed available. Happy that I finally found a place to stay, I dropped my backpack in the laundry room. I spent the day on the beach just chilling, reading and jumping into the water here and there to cool down. I grabbed some beers on my way back to the hostel and sat down on its patio. Just a little bit later a guy with two huge bottles of beer under his arms appeared and asked: 'Can I join you?' Which I happily affirmed. We started talking about our travels and I realized very quickly that we're on the same wavelength. Nick just traveled all the way from Australia to Albania on his motorbike over the past 1.5 years. We kept getting more beers from the kiosk on the side of the road and throughout the night more and more hostel guests joined us until we had a party on the patio. At some point the host came up to me saying: 'I've got some good news for you. I've a bed for you. Someone didn't show up. So you don't need to sleep in the niche on the corridor.' That was good news indeed. And since I knew that all the fun people were staying for a few nights I also decided to stay longer and kept having a good time and enjoying myself.
I found myself a bit exhausted and tired at the ferry station a few days later and thought: I guess I enjoyed myself a bit too much the last days. But hey, it was totally worth it! I got the cheapest ferry ticket I could find and jumped on the ferry to Corfu.
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