Tag Archives: nature

Un Rincon Tan Exquisito

I finally unpacked most of my things into my new apartment and found the chargers to my cameras. Here is a little video of the Blue Eye in Albania, one of the most exquisite little corners of the world.

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Pandora?

Bugs at the Blue Eye, originally uploaded by jhoko.

When we got to the Blue Eye (Syri i kaltër in Albanian, though I have to admit that I am not 100% sure how to pronounce that), there were all these AMAZING bugs flying around, everything was green and lush and the water flowing out of the Eye was the most spectacular shade of blue I have ever seen in nature. I wasn’t a huge fan of Avatar, but I had to admit that I felt like I was exploring Pandora while we were there. And I loved it!

I will add more photos of this incredible spot later and go into much greater detail explaining what it is and why it is so wonderful, but for now here is a photo of one of the adorable bugs that live there, some kind of dragonfly-butterfly guy. I was sitting on some tree roots that were hanging over the impossibly blue water and I honestly just stuck out my hand, dreaming of a Pocahontas-esque, “Colors of the Wind” moment becoming one with nature when it ACTUALLY LANDED ON MY HAND!!! Dream. Come. True.

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Our Secret Beach

Our Secret Beach, originally uploaded by jhoko.

Directions to Secret Beach: Take a bus from Dhermi to Himara, get off at the faded sign for Jal Beach. Keep an eye out for stray goats. Hike one hour towards the beach through olive orchards, past the little white church. Hitchhike the remaining mile or two. Take a break to have a Korça and some fresh fish on the beach. Continue hiking down the dirt road that looks like it leads nowhere. Walk until you can’t hear people or dogs, until you can’t see any more trash or chickens. After about 20 minutes, you will pass a white pebble beach and one big olive tree. Keep going. If you’ve hit the shady old olive orchards you’ve gone too far. Look for a freshly dug ditch on the right. Hike along it until it turns into a narrow old footpath. Keep going until you reach the cliff. Climb down, pitch tent, build fire, go for a swim, repeat.

*update! Some awesome Flickr user named Edi 9/11 commented on this photo on my Flickr page with a GREAT map of Albania that shows exactly where this spot is for anyone who is interested in visiting this beach (called Aquarium) or any other parts of Albania! http://wikimapia.org/#lat=40.1129851&lon=19.7114897&z=16&l=0&m=b

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DEATH

This may be my last post ever. I just went running and I think I might be dying. It is a pleasantly SCORCHING 82 degrees outside and dandelions the size of a man’s fist are releasing their little feathery pollen pieces into the incredibly dry air at a rate so incredibly fast that it is resulting in the creation of fluffy little snowbanks on the sides of all the streets and trails. Last night I went to bed at 4:00am (I think) after a potentially deadly cocktail of beer, HAM, vermouth, Coca Cola, and copious amounts of rum. This morning I woke up at 9, ate some meatballs (obvs), and then played with Bruno for five hours. Somewhere in there I think I drank a glass of water.

That was the build-up to and the meteorological situation surrounding my decision to challenge myself with a run. Now I feel good, now that it’s over, but I think I will be regretting this decision later. Total distance: 4.5 miles/7.25km. With hills!!! Yay me!!

I actually discovered a nature park right next to my house during said run that kind of divides all the housing developments in SanSe from the neighboring countryside (ie rolling hills spotted with wildflowers, oak trees, the occasional goat, horse, or flock of sheep). There was actually one portion of the run (its the branch in the picture with the number 3) that is really high up on the crest of a hill, and from there you can see all of SanSe and the buildings of downtown Madrid on one side and the little towns and villages leading out to the Sierras (which still have a teensy tiny bit of snow on them) on the other. It was awesome! Good thing I found it now, two weeks before I leave 😦

Good news is, maybe I worked off some of that foie. Or some of that jamon iberico de bellota. Or a caña. Or my hangover! Or…oh forget it. At least I got a tan.

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