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the Degree Confluence Project
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Albania

1.5 km (0.9 miles) SW of Shtërmen, Elbasan, Albania
Approx. altitude: 87 m (285 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest Multimap world confnav)
Antipode: 41°S 160°W

Accuracy: 10 m (32 ft)
Click on any of the images for the full-sized picture.

#2: Main Road in Shtërmen #3: GPS Reading #4: Confluence Hunters #5: Ground Zero #6: Tirana Coming Back from the Impassable Pass to Elbasan #7: View to the South #8: View to the West #9: View to the North #10: View to the East

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  41°N 20°E (visit #4)  

#1: The Confluence

(visited by Rainer Mautz and Elionora)

25-Mar-2008 -- The story starts from 41°N 23°E. This is the last out of a series of four confluences that we visited on a 5-day trip through Northern Greece, Macedonia and Albania during the Easter Holidays.

When we arrived in Tirana on 23rd of March, everything was pleasant: great mountain views, beautiful warm and sunny weather, lots of opportunity to take wonderful pictures of Albania’s amazing landscape and one-of-a-kind people. In the evening we treated ourselves with tasty Albanian specialities in an upper class fish restaurant and afterwards we had to finish this great day with a cup of coffee in one of Tirana’s zillions of cafés. The next day however, would bring the good time to a sudden end…

We woke up and it rained buckets. Then, Elionora asked me where our camera was. Well, it was not in our hotel room. An extensive search did not change that fact. We concluded that we must have left the camera in the fish restaurant. We went quickly back to the restaurant, but found ourselves in front of a closed door – which was no wonder considering that it was 7 am. Actually, we had to move on that day in order to catch our flight in Thessaloniki the following day. But now we were stuck in town trying to get back our new digital camera with hundreds of pictures in it, that we had taken not only for our memories, but also for confluence postings and reports in magazines.

We spent the whole day with returning several times to the restaurant – on the third approach the cleaning women couldn’t help us, on the fourth time the early shift didn’t know anything and referred to the late shift that would come at 5 pm. So we waited again in the rain until the late shift arrived. Unfortunately, they hadn’t found a camera, but told us to our surprise, that the restaurant is under video surveillance and we could see ourselves in yesterdays recording if we wanted. Of course we agreed. Altogether we went to a ‘secret’ building with a room that was clearly over-equipped with monitors and high-tech surveillance devices. The expert quickly found the correct video file and to our surprise we did take the camera with us when we left the restaurant! Embarrassing as it was for us, we apologized several times. Probably, the camera was stolen in the café. We don’t know, since the café didn’t have such a video surveillance system. Well, it was already late evening so we had to stay another night in Tirana trying to make the 11hour drive to Thessaloniki the next day.

We started at 4:30 am – it was still raining cats and dogs – in order to catch our flight. But we soon would encounter another problem: after we had left Tirana, we had to cross a mountain pass towards the city of Elbasan. Soon the rain turned into snow, a serpentine later the road was already covered with snow, and another serpentine later we got already stuck. In front of us was no indication of other cars that had attempted to go over the pass. Clearly, the pass was closed. Now, we not only had lost our camera but also our flight, and had to cancel our commitments at work the next day.

But local people in a nearby café had an idea: if we would go back to Tirana and then continue all the way to Durrës at the coast, we could go around that pass. Well, that turned out to be possible. And this 4-hour detour directly brought us within 1 km of the confluence, shortly after passing through the village Cërrik. Actually, we did not have time to waste – but a wholehearted confluencer as I am could not resist a quick visit – even in this tight situation.

It took us less than 10 minutes from the main road to the confluence and back. We stopped the car at a distance of 23m from the confluence point. I quickly got out in the still heavy rain and took the pictures with our residual camera that I normally use for confluence documentation.

The area around the DCP is one of the few less interesting places in Albania. It is situated in a flood plain of the river Devoll in a populated area and squeezed between overhead powerlines and huge antennas. The bad weather added to the meaningless of the pictures. Well – a confluence point is as it is. The idea of the project is to show how things are and not how we hope they are. So, here are the pictures.

One final remark: after documentation of the confluence, we continued on the road via Gramsh to Gobesh. Here, the road was not sealed and under bad condition. We wondered why no other cars took this route – until we found out: a land slide had blocked the road! We had to go back again and try another huge deviation via Elbasan. We reached Elbasan at 3 pm – after 10 hours continuous driving we had covered 20 km beeline distance from Tirana! The miracle, that we nevertheless caught our flight in Thessaloniki is owed to the new and perfect road from Elbasan all the way to Greece.

CP visit details:

  • Time at the CP: 10:20 am
  • time: 10 min (including documentation)
  • hiking distance: 0 m
  • Distance to a road: 23 m
  • Distance to a track: 23 m
  • Distance to houses: ca. 800 m
  • Topography: flatland, flood-plane, in all directions mountains can be seen.
  • Minimal distance according to GPS: 6 m
  • Position accuracy at the CP: 5 m
  • GPS height: 89 m
  • Vegetation: grain field with young sprouts.
  • Weather: sunny, 4° C (felt temperature)
  • Description of the CP: In central Albania, on the flood-plane of Devoll river. Unspectacular location between crop fields.
  • Given Name: The 10-hour Deviation Confluence


 All pictures
#1: The Confluence
#2: Main Road in Shtërmen
#3: GPS Reading
#4: Confluence Hunters
#5: Ground Zero
#6: Tirana Coming Back from the Impassable Pass to Elbasan
#7: View to the South
#8: View to the West
#9: View to the North
#10: View to the East
ALL: All pictures on one page (broadband access recommended)