Shkodra Bicycle City

We arrived in Shkodra, Albania, after coming out of the mountains of Montenegro. What we noticed immediately was the number of people riding bicycles. They were everywhere, despite the lack of bike lanes or any kind of cycling infrastructure.

Storm drain without grate.
Storm drain without grate.

It’s always a bit of a shock riding into a large city after having been in small towns or riding along quiet mountain roads like we had in Montenegro. There is a kind of sensory overload that happens and you have to really concentrate on everything that is going on around you. Making this even more challenging is the fact that just about all the grates have been removed from the storm drains, leaving large square holes in the road that would ruin your day if you were to ride into one.

The traffic is a bit mad. It’s cars, trucks, buses, mopeds, horse-drawn carriages, bicycles and guys riding donkeys all mixed up together. The rules of the road and the lines on the road, if there are any, are only a kind of suggestion that people loosely follow. But somehow it all seems to work.

Horse and buggy still goes in Shkodra.
Horse and buggy still goes in Shkodra.

As we’re riding into the centre of this city of 100,000 people, a car slows down beside us and the driver asks if we need accommodation. Turns out he has a hostel and it’s 12 euros per person, including breakfast. Not having arranged anything, we follow him to the Unit Hostel right in downtown Shkodra. The place is 2 months old and lovely. We take it. The guys running it are very nice and accommodate us in every way.

Unit Hostel in Shkodra.
Unit Hostel in Shkodra.

We spent two days and nights in Shkodra. Here are some more images from bike city.

5 thoughts on “Shkodra Bicycle City

  1. As always, I find your posts fascinating, both the subject and the way you portray all your adventures. When I travelled the world for many years with a backpack, there were no McDonalds (outside the States) and no internet. What a difference!

  2. Love the photos and commentary – a nice balance to below zero temperatures and a foot of snow in BC’s Central Interior.

  3. Paul — I had no idea you were doing this until Bird forwarded one of your posts. How great! I am so so envious. I didn’t know you had been living in Vancouver either … I was there too for a while. It would have been great to connect with you and Jan! So, am delighted to be following your route. Wondering if your plans include Greece? I’m off to Bilbao for work up to xmas, but am thinking of taking my bike to Greece (southernmost would be most likely) from xmas until mid-January. Let me know if you have plans to be through there just in case I settle on that for my holiday. Still scheming… happy travels!
    Joni Cooper

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