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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

10/3: Gjirokaster to the Hypnotic Blue Eye Spring

One of the most popular day trips from Gjirokaster is to go to a place called Blue Eye Spring or, as the residents of Gjirokaster call it, Blue Point. After a filling breakfast, more so for Steven who likes eggs more than I, we walked very carefully down the steep hills to the new part of Gjirokaster. In town, we got a furgon or minivan that was headed for Saranda, our next destination but got let off 40 minutes later at the turnoff for Blue Eye Spring. From there we had about a 3-4 km walk along a gravel road ahead of us. We were sure hoping that Blue Eye Spring was going to be worth the pretty major effort of getting there!

This cute little church was just off the highway and was the only building we saw before reaching Blue Eye Spring a good 40 minute walk later.

We were more than a tad apprehensive about the threatening clouds and how well they might impact our view of the spring. 

Views of our walk:

It was so odd seeing this mammoth rock right in the middle of the road even taking into account that it didn't get much traffic.
Once again, we saw both American and Albanian flags together. I don't know why they were both visible here, unless there was an economic partnership between the two countries at the sight.

As the Lonely Planet travel guide describes it, 'Blue Eye Spring is a hypnotic pool of deep blue water surrounded by electric blue edges like the irises of an eye.' There is no way I could possibly come anywhere close to express what we saw so poetically.
As exquisite as the colors were of the spring, I loved the pinkish-coral color of the water plants on the edge.

We were so lucky that the weather held while we were there and we were able to get some quite decent photos of the spectacular Blue Eye Spring with the amazing array of colors.

The spring feeds the Bistrica River. I was surprised to learn that the depth of the spring is still unknown.

We tried so hard to take photos that would give a sense of the water bubbling up to the surface here. This was as good a shot as we could take. 

There had only been about 15 other people there which were a perfect number because the viewing platform above the spring was fairly small. We could only imagine what a madhouse the area must be in the height of the tourist season. 
I was surprised that only two other women and I ventured into the water and got wet. I only braved it up to my knees as I didn’t have a swimsuit. That was plenty cold enough for me.

We both took scads of photos hoping we would get at least some decent ones. But there were only so many pictures even I could take of this phenomenon so we wandered around for a bit rather than rushing back. 

There were some cabins for people choosing to overnight there but they appeared pretty derelict to me so I wondered when they had last been used. 

We stopped at one café that had a perfect location on the river and Steven ordered a coke and we sat awhile enjoying the pretty spot. It had been a nice outing, we both agreed.

We headed on the 3 km walk back to the bus stop about 1:30 hoping we’d get there before the heavens opened and that we wouldn’t have to wait 59 minutes until the bus came from Saranda. 
As we walked, we reflected on how lucky we were that the clouds stayed on the other side of the mountain and didn’t mar a nice day trip. Hearing cow bells made me think I was back in Switzerland four decades ago or in the middle of a film about Heidi wandering in the Swiss Alps!
We could hardly believe our luck when the Gjirokaster-bound furgon came along just a few minutes after getting to the stop as there was no timetable and we could have been waiting for a long time.

The furgon station was in the newer part of the city down in the valley. We had originally planned to take the easy way out and get a taxi back up to the upper part of Gjirokaster, which is the older one. 
But we ended up walking back up the hill instead which took about 20 minutes. We were just thankful we hadn't been lugging bags all that way as we had talked to some people who had done that when they didn't realize the distance and steepness of the hills involved.
Lovely early evening views from our B&B:

So many of our travel days, by choice of course, are filled with going from one sight to another all day long with nary a break. Today had been special because it was so unlike our normal routine. And that was refreshing.

Posted from Athens, Greece on October 12th, 2016.


  1. What a wonderful day you had. The Spring is just beautiful. Wish I was there with you. Lil Red

  2. I too loved the photos and descriptions of the Blue Eye Spring -- poetic and visually magical. xoxox Lina


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