Përmet, Banjat e Bënjës, & Other Adventures Driving Through Rural Albania

by Sam

Driving inland through rural Albania, Durres to Permet to Gjirokastra. Across great green space, over mountains, and along the river. Dangling in open space, wide-eyed and full of wonder to think of how this piece of the world has always existed and will continue to exist when we leave, unnoticed by most.

From my travel notes:

“We began the three hour drive through rural Albania just after breakfast, our destination was the small town or Permet. It was so interesting to see it all. So much land and space. The most beautiful mountains. We drove along the edge of a ice-blue-grey river canyon, over rusty bridges, and past donkeys, sheep, goats, and horses. When we finally made it to Permet, we parked and walked to find food, only to find that it would be harder than we expected to find an open venue. But finally, we prevailed and  found one small shop, from which we ordered two salads and two waters. Before we left, unsure of when we’d see civilization again, we visited a convenience store for cookies and more water. We wondered if we were the only Americans in the entire town at that moment, and if we had ever been anywhere else in the world where that statement would also be true. Then, off to our real destination, the Benjes Thermal Baths, twenty minutes down the road, set under a giant Ottoman bridge. They were practically deserted when we arrived; eventually, we had the entire main pool to ourselves.  The view, breathtaking. Water flowing to infinity, snow-glazed mountain back-drop. It all seemed a little unreal.

We left this secret little corner of the world around 5 pm and began the 1.5 hour journey to Gjirokastra, back-tracking and absorbing what we could.”


Posts from this trip:

Albania #1
Albania #2
Albania #3
Albania #4
Albania #5
Albania #6
Albania #7
Albania / Corfu #8