There’s an expression in Italian that I like so much (among many others). It’s l’attimo fuggente – that split second chance to take an opportunity or lose it forever. That’s what I was waiting for late this afternoon, sitting down on a stone in front a field close to the edge of a cliff at Sari Salltikut, perched high up above Krujë in Albania.
I’d gone up already in the morning, having read somewhere and having been told by the locals that when in Krujë the place is worth visiting. So visit I did, except that when I reached there after a long, steep and winding drive it was completely foggy, so the panorama was invisible.
There’s a shrine of sorts which I went to see, expecting some type of churchy building. Instead, going down the steps I was greeted by the gruesome sight of a freshly slaughtered animal, possibly a lamb, and three people cleaning up the floor. I deduced that the ‘shrine’ was Muslim as there was a notice to remove footwear, which I did only to discover as I went further down still wearing my socks that the steps were wet…! I rushed back up treading on the driest patches of ground, put on my shoes and drove back to Krujë to wait for the fog to clear up.
A few hours and one thunderstorm later I returned, the lower clouds covering the cliff having cleared although there were still other clouds higher up. I could now gaze over an impressively large area, all the way to Tirana in the south west.
I wandered around a bit. There were a few sheep grazing in a field, not far from the edge of the cliff. I crept closer to take a picture that also included an interesting rock formation in the background. Unfortunately, the sun was still hidden, but the clouds were patchy so if I waited for a while I might be able to take a prettier picture.
Which is how I ended up sitting on a stone close to the edge of a mountain, playing Candy Crush while watching over a small flock of sheep. It was so peaceful up there, the only sound being the sound of crickets and the occasional faint boom of an airplane high up in the sky.
L’attimo fuggente never came. A shepherd walked over towards his flock and muttered a few words in Albanian to his sheep, which they seemed to understand perfectly well because they obediently walked away, leaving me alone with my Candy Crush.
A new wave of thick fog billowed up again, and it was all I could do to be able to drive down, both sets of fog lamps on, back to the hotel, where I was rewarded with a wonderful view as I wrote this and the sun (finally!) made a welcome appearance…