Three of our friends, kayak enthusiasts, went to Albania to paddle one of the last free-flowing, pristine rivers in Europe. Vjosa, which is 270 kilometers long, is one impressive river, with a diverse landscape. Its source is in Greece where she is called Aoos. In the lower part of the river which we paddled, the river opens and enters the valley, where it branches into smaller backwater and in that place the width of the riverbed reaches up to 2 kilometers .
Paddling through this part of the river is an unforgettable experience. We paddled around 120 km. The starting point was the village Petran, where section of class 2-3 starts with short and beautiful rapids. This section stretches for about 60 km and it took us about 7 hours of paddling, at a temperature of about -1 degree Celsius.
In this section, we often encountered with the local population, which was more than kind. It was easy to communicate with people even though some of them didn’t know English. On the second day we did a wonderful lower section of the river before the confluence with the Adriatic Sea. Sandy beaches, broad valleys, untouched nature and numerous small backwaters enchanted us so much that we could easily resist the cold weather and enjoy. We completed the second day of paddling in the bar next to the road, where locals greeted us with their local products.
This expedition led us into the new year. We gave ourselves the task to paddle the entire course of Vjosa river and to try to show its beauty through these photos and words, with the aim to draw attention to how important it is to preserve nature and stop the construction of dams.
Unfortunately, in the lower section we came across dam construction works and we were very sad at the thought how much beauty, life and nature could be destroyed.