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Albania: Koman to Fierze boat

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Koman to Fierze boat | Albania | Europe

[Visited: August 2012]

It had been a bad night in Shkodër: just when I was falling asleep, someone knocked on the door really hard, and proved to have knocked on the wrong door; then, there was a lot of noise going on around my room which was just behind the reception (big mistake!). So I felt a little sleepy when I walked a few blocks to where the furgon for Koman was supposed to leave. I was 15 minutes early; to my surprise, the small van appeared, picked me and a few others up, and left again, cruising the streets to pick up more passengers - but it never came back to its supposed departure point. Happy that I had showed up early, we quite soon had our first views of lakes; I had been looking forward to the boat ride that was coming up for several days now and felt excitement running through my body.

Picture of Koman to Fierze boat (Albania): Reflection of early morning light on Lake Koman

We drove through the village of Koman, then through a tunnel next to the dam that holds all the water of the lake; just after the exit of the tunnel, there is a small parking lot with some restaurants. Several people were already waiting, and there was only a small boat; since the opening of the highway to Tirana, the car ferry has been suspended, but I had not expected such a small boat. Then, rumour spread that it was broken down, and we had to wait for another boat - which turned out to be a bus-like structure. When it arrived, it was full of people, who got their things together, but those leaving struggled to get on board to get the best seats, resulting in a chaotic situation. I just stood and watched, and wondered at the curious craft. It looked like the top part of a bus had been cut off, and put on a floating device. Off to another adventure, then, taking a bus-boat. When I boarded, I walked around it; behind the bus cabin, a toilet had been attached; the steering wheel of the bus was still there for the captain of the boat who looked more like a driver. We departed half an hour late, and while the guys of the boat had nervously tried to herd us inside, we obviously stayed out, and I soon took a nice place in front of the boat, where you could sit with your legs dangling down, just above the bow waters of the bus-boat.

Picture of Koman to Fierze boat (Albania): Small waves distorting the reflection of the mountains surrounding Lake Koman

For hours, we sailed over Lake Koman which for all I knew might as well be called a fjord: mountains rise steeply from its waters, which are so still they reflect the scenery above them perfectly. Sometimes it was hard to see where we were going: the lake narrowed, and the driver found a channel through which we sailed, arriving at yet another wider section. We stopped several times, letting off people at places where there was only a small trail seemingly leading nowhere, and no house around, or we would pick up someone silently standing on land, waiting for the bus-boat to arrive. The views were great, and often, spectacular; it sometimes seemed impossible that such a body of water would be perfectly still while the driver steered our bus-boat through it. The only downside was to see people dump their plastic and cans right into the waters, we passed islands of thrash, and it was hard to see how no one would realize that they were spoiling their own beautiful lake. I did notice two guys who collected their trash, and found out they were mountain guys, off to hike from Valbonë to Theth where I had come from just a day before. When we had reached the end of the ride through the fjord/lake, they were kind enough to help me with a furgon to travel onwards.

Picture of Koman to Fierze boat (Albania): People getting off the bus-boat, just in at Koman from Fierze
Picture of Koman to Fierze boat (Albania): View of Lake Koman with water and lakes
Picture of Koman to Fierze boat (Albania): Perfect mirror image of the mountains of Lake Koman
Picture of Koman to Fierze boat (Albania): Wider section of Lake Koman with channel ahead
Picture of Koman to Fierze boat (Albania): Mirrored mountains in the waters of Lake Koman
Picture of Koman to Fierze boat (Albania): Mountains rising from Lake Koman
Picture of Koman to Fierze boat (Albania): The tree-covered mountains around Lake Koman reflected in the quiet waters
Picture of Koman to Fierze boat (Albania): One of the many turns in the fjord of Lake Koman
Picture of Koman to Fierze boat (Albania): Reflection of the mountains around Lake Koman
Picture of Koman to Fierze boat (Albania): Boat dwarfed by the steep cliffs of Lake Koman
Picture of Koman to Fierze boat (Albania): Southern end of Lake Koman with dam
Picture of Koman to Fierze boat (Albania): Interior of the bus-boat
Picture of Koman to Fierze boat (Albania): Driver behind the wheel steering the bus-boat through the fjords of Lake Koman

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