"I shouldn't have had that raki last night" I think to myself, struggling to climb the first hill in the morning. "Or maybe it was the beer before?"

Either way, I'm not in the best shape today, that is clear. Maybe dehydrated? After less than 1 hour I already need a break. I enrich my tap water with lemon tea powder for additional energy -- that'll help!

The route today is stunning, once more, and rewards me with fantastic views of the surrounding hills (I'm somewhat regretting I didn't bring a proper camera) and very tasty black berries of which i find plentiful on the road side. Truly worthy compensation for the strenous leg today.

Rolling down into the valley of Elbasan I'm suddenly starting to freeze. Hmmh. That doesn't normally happen...

"Hello. Hello!!!" the kids shout, when I cycle by. The most remarkable thing about the Albanians is probably how friendly and welcoming people are. Arriving in Elbasan city, a young boy, maybe 8 or 9 on an old bicycle sees me.

"Hostel, hostel?" he yells?
In fact, I have a night booked in the "Elbasan Backpacker hostel" and the boy waves me on to follow him. Any attempt in conversation is fruitless though "No speak English" he yells at me, and 2 minutes later I find myself at the place.

The neighboring house is'nt fully finished yet. And probably never will be. Something to be observed quite often in Albania: many constructions were just stopped and people continue to live in half-done houses...

When unloading my stuff I realize that I haven't really eaten anything today since breakfast, except some berries on the road. And I don't even feel hungry. In fact I feel full. Bloated, even. In a very unpleasing way. A few very unpleasant toilet runs later I have certainty: Yup, I got food poisoning. Feeling miserable I crawl into the hostel bed, shivering and covered with my down sleeping bag. 38.3 fever, too.

To make matters worse it's a Muslim holiday and the host invites all hostel guests for dinner. I have to pass -- even the thought of food now makes me want to through up :(

The next day I'm feeling better

But I'm in no condition to continue yet. So I extend my stay by another night and spend the day mostly sleeping, with the host's mother asking me (in Albanian) every hour or so if I feel better yet. Other than that, my rest is only disturbed by the neighbor's sheep (singular) which bleats, consistantly, every 5 seconds...

Another cyclist arrives at night, Alex from France, who is bike packing through the balkans. He is heading in the same direction as me and even though I'm sure I'm not gonna make it all the way to Ohrid the next day we decide to cycle together for a bit the next day.

And so it comes, after a meager 24km I'm calling it a day and our ways part in Librazhd. A good choice after all, as my gut feeling commands me to spend the afternoon on the toilet, once more...