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Your Words - We tell it like it is! Holiday Reviews by previous Exodus travellers  

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  • Reviewed June 2019
    John Wallace

    A wonderful country - but an indifferent leader

    The journey, the country, the route, the accommodation, the food and drink - all faultless. However, one relies very much on the tour leader to provide insights, explanations and observations of their native country, in order to bring that country to life and bring greater richness to the experience than mere observation, as a visiting stranger, can rovide.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Cycling amidst spectacular scenery redolent of Middle Earth in a time of innocence.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Poor. He did what he had to and no more. He kept a distance from the group, erecting an impenetrable wall comprising his mobile phone and an attitude that clearly communicated that it would be best for us if we didn't trouble him by talking to him more than absolutely necessary. He had no contact with me throughout the trip, and I felt too intimidated to dare to ask him any of the many questions I had about his wonderful country. I have been on many other Exodus trips on which the leader become a friend, adviser, support and encouragement - and all-around hero.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Ensure that they get an Albania guide who truly loves their job - most of the Exodus guides I've encountered have given their hearts and souls to the execution of their duties.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I hope the gentleman in question can be persuaded to give more time to his paying guests and less time to his mobile phone.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Helen Clark

    Amazing Albania

    So many 'oh wow' moments as I was riding through Albania. Beautiful country to cycle through with the first half of the trip more rural, snow capped mountains, lakes, gorges, warm friendly locals giving you a wave as you them passed by, through to the second half of the trip being more coastal, spectacular views of the Albanian Riviera across to Corfu, pretty coastal towns and the stunning blues of the Mediterranean Sea. Albania is definitely not flat but each day was different and equally enjoyable. The quality of the food was a real delight - delicious!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Completing the last and most challenging day and enjoying the camaraderie of the group. We had lots of fun and laughs! Really enjoyed the afternoon at the hot springs as well, incredible setting.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Erlis and Tani were both exceptional. Very supportive, knowledgeable, helpful and above all fantastic at their job! Very impressed.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just go! But get in some training before you go, ideally a few hills so you are saddle ready.
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Henri Kennedy

    Thanks for a fantastic trip

    I loved every minute of this adventure. Albania is somewhere I've not been to before, nor had any of my friends, and it did not disappoint. It is a beautiful country with welcoming people and cycling is the best way to see it. It's as yet unspoilt by too much modern development and is like stepping back in time but in a good way.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The sense of achievement of cycling up the ascents and the beautiful views all the way up and from the top.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Erlis (Rizvanolli) was a phenomenal leader. He had the perfect balance of being caring and being chilled. I think he is one of life's genuinely really lovely human beings. What an asset he is to Exodus and a fantastic ambassador for his country which he clearly loves.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I took my own pedals and cleats which I think in hindsight was a mistake. The bikes provided aren't road bikes, they're hybrid bikes by necessity and I fund my chain sometimes came off unexpectedly, so its a bit dangerous when you're clipped in as you could fall before you can release your feet. I changed the pedals back to clipless after a bit and found this a much better and safer arrangement. Also take layers as it can get chilly as you climb. Take a few energy gels or bars as I got a bit hungry.
  • Reviewed May 2019

    Amazing Adventure

    This trip more than satisfied my curiosity and interest in Albania. We cycled in lots of different regions facing different countries and seeing Albania in all its beauty. Each day offered a different type of ride, the scenery forever changing and the views always spectacular and breath-taking.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing just how beautiful Albania is on so many levels. I felt honoured to have been able to get a glimpse of a country that has just opened its doors to the outside world. Everything from my perspective looked unspoilt and natural. People were really friendly and cheered us on along our journey.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Erlis was an amazing group leader and had a lot of work to do making sure we were all OK. I loved the way he spent time explaining things and helped me to understand the history of Albania from his own perspective and how it had affected his upbringing. Both him and our driver were really supportive and helpful at all times making sure we were OK, had enough to drink and kept us entertained especially when we or rather I struggled up some of those continuous hills that never seemed to end.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go as soon as you get the opportunity. Make sure you have a good pair(s) of shorts as you will be in the saddle for a long time. I brought a pair for each day of cycling and was happy they were well padded as I really needed them to be for the sake of my sanity!!!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The food was lovely and varied. I don't eat meat or fish but found that each meal we ate was cooked differently and there was not a lack of variety. Lots of meals were shared so we all just dug in and ate what we wanted from what was on offer. The plates kept coming out laden with tasty dishes. The chips I think were the best I have tasted even better than our UK ones!
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Nick A

    Fantastic

    A fabulous trip that surprised us from day one. Great food, wonderful people and fantastic scenery. Albania was the winner and we will all recommend going there as soon as you can.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Riding the pass on the last day.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Erlis(the leader) and Tani(driver) were fabulous, taking care of every detail for us before we even knew it had to be taken care of. They even managed a complete bike change one night for one member of the group without them noticing.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go now. Don't hesitate.
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Sarah Wichman

    Best Ever

    Every part of this trip was wonderful, from the people, to the rides, to the organization, to the food, etc. I loved it.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It's hard to choose one, but maybe getting to the top of that looong climb on the last day. I also really appreciated the history and cultural info that Erlis imparted to us throughout the trip.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Erlis was an amazing group leader! I had put in place a lot of structures that made our trip as easy and smooth as it could have been. He shared a lot of history and cultural information that really enhanced our travels and understanding of Albania. He was kind and patient and funny, and the trip would not have been as incredible without him at the helm. Tani, our driver/mechanic/snack procurer/hydrator was also an integral part of the group. He was incredibly thoughtful and accommodating, and anticipated needs we didn't even know we'd have.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go on this trip! The trip notes and packing list covered everything very thoroughly.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The trip was very well run, and truly excellent. I cannot say enough about how great Erlis and Tani are - they really made this trip this wonderful. I would highly recommend this trip to anyone who can handle some challenging cycling.
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Francesca Wiseman

    Cycle Albania

    Albania is incredibly beautiful. It has some of the most spectacular mountain scenery that will forever be etched in my memory. Cycling is a fantastic way to see a country and visit lesser touristy places and this trip was certainly no exception. The people are very hospitable and the Cycle Albania team were simply amazing. The food was a fusion of Mediterranean and Turkish meze style and every meal was a feast in itself!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Reaching the top of Llogara pass was one of the most powerful moments of the trip. The climb itself is not too hard - it is long and steady - but the hills on the way to the pass make the climb more challenging.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader was Erlis Rizvanolli. Erlis was incredibly trusting towards us from the word go: Every day we got a map with a description as part of our briefing which was a nice detail which I have not seen on other cycling tours. Erlis let us ride at our own pace and we would re-group at regular intervals and he did not feel the need to control us and always be in the lead - I really appreciated the freedom to ride how I chose, this is not something I have experienced on other Exodus cycling tours and it made this trip stand out from the others. Due to the meze (sharing) approach to eating, Erlis would pay for every meal and trusted us to record the cost of our food and drink and did not take any money from us until the end of the holiday. Erlis was well organized and the tour ran slick. Erlis went the extra mile to ensure we had a fantastic holiday and even got in the kitchen on the final morning to make our breakfast because the chef was hospitalized in a vehicle accident on his way to work.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Albania is not flat - be prepared to cycle up some hills. The Albanians also love cheese, there is usually one cheese dish per meal (sometimes two) but there was an abundance of food so if you are lactose intolerant do not worry!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Our support driver, Tani Kurti, was instrumental to the smooth operation of the cycle tour. Tani is a kind and patient soul, who looked after the back of the group and ensured no-one was left behind. Not only was Tani a careful and considerate driver, but he did whatever was needed to look after the group: he was our bike mechanic, driver, first-aider, waiter, group photographer and he always made sure we were well fed and hydrated whilst cycling.
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Vicky Green

    Fabulous trip

    Beautiful country with a mixture of forest, coast and mountains. Our group bonded really well; we had lots of laughs and lots of encouragement for each other up the hills. Food was good; mezze style shared between the group which worked really well. Lots of snack stops to keep us fuelled.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Making it up the Llogara Pass which was hot, very hilly but well worth it!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Erlis was fantastic. Very easy going, knowledgeable about the history of Albania and nothing was too much trouble for him.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do some hill practice before coming, as the first day starts with some tough hills. Visit now before word gets out about how fabulous Albania and its people are.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Brilliant holiday - book it now and make sure you try the raki when you get there!
  • Reviewed October 2018
    paul cullen

    Cycling Albania

    A fantastic way to see this wonderful country. The first part of the trip is mainly inland in more rural mountainous areas and the second part along the Albanian riviera. Great hospitality and food, considerate drivers on the roads and friendly people as we passed through the smaller places. The cycling has some challenging climbs on the first and final days but is as described on the trip notes and classification. Nice to have some shorter cycling days to be able to do the tours in Gjirokaster and the Roman site at Butrint.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Roman city of Butrint.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Great service by our group leader Dimitri especially in managing and organising the coffee stops, lunches and evening meals.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you try the Iced coffee in cans. Lunches were lovely but maybe too much for lunchtime whilst cycling, show self restraint!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Exodus and Cycling Albania (local company) delivered another excellent cycling trip.
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Dinah Gibbs

    Great opportunity to see, hear, taste and truly experience Albania

    A week in which you will challenge your fitness, enjoy delicious and healthful food, meet welcoming communities and see the beauty of unspoilt countryside.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Alberian people were kind and generous. All interactions we had were totally positive. We felt welcomed everywhere we went. Both mountain and coastal areas were wonderful, very different in architecture, scenery and culture.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Dmitry was totally professional. Nothing was overlooked. He was very well prepared, kind, humerous and tireless. Our driver was on the ball with roadside bike adjustments, helping with baggage and a fabulous in- vehicle Playlist. His energy level was impressive.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Train,train, train. You will be glad you did. If in doubt of your desire to cycle like a fiend for a week; consider an ebike. Don't underestimate the hills. There is good reason that your guides supply snacks at every turn!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The first and last days are hard. However the bikes are perfect for the job, the roads surprisingly good and the guides know how to support you. Some of the middle days are less demanding, so it's nicely paced. The experience IA worth the tired legs.
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