In addition to writing very long and rambling emails (sorry!), our services include:
Trip Planning. Less than a tour, more than winging it: We put together programs that let you travel independently as much as possible, but make sure you know where you’re going, have what you need getting there, and get the best and fairest prices possible. (I just added “fairest” because we do try to pay the going rate for local services, since these are usually ridiculously cheap even at full price and desperately needed by local people.) For example . . . . You should know that we do NOT try to be experts on everything, but do try to be experts on experts! We’re the best in Valbona, but in other places we get out of the way, and connect you with the best for that region.
Making Reservations for accommodation in the valley. Although we do our best to give contact information for everyone, most of the guesthouses do not have foreign-language speakers, and many of them have terrible phone reception. You will not be charged a higher rate, nor do we cut into their profit. I’m just hoping they slip us the odd bag of potatoes in winter or something. Honey would be nice . . . Hm . . . .
Arranging Guides for any of the activities listed in this website, or for anything you dream up that we can figure out how to do! Usual rates are 50€ per day for hiking guides (English speaking), 30€ for half a day, 60€ for a horse-and-guide (Albanian speaking only), and 30€ per day for ‘cultural’ activities. We employ only local people, and only people we ourselves would want to spend time with! (Hopefully our idea of charming matches yours!)
Providing Local Transport: If the local minibus to Bajram Curri doesn’t work for you (7 am going east, 3 pm going west), we are happy to drive you, and have good 4WD vehicles. Typical rates include 10€ from one end of the valley to the other, 15€ from Fushë e Gjes to Gjelaj (the real start of the Thethi Trail), 25€ to Bajram Curri, and 35€ to Fierze (to catch the ferry). We’ve been known to go further afield, but we can talk about that in email!
Equipment Rental: Okay, we don’t actually do this yet, nor do we in fact have any equipment (though we’ve always been very nice about lending tents and such), but we were thinking we really should GET some. We were thinking, tents, sleeping bags and camping stuff, as well as may be bicycles. Oh. And Catherine’s mother sent some funny little inner tubes that might be good for playing around in the river? If you let us know in advance, you could kindly prompt us to get on with this!
Or You Tell Us! What we are most excited about right now is planning whole trips for people – either around Valbona and the neighboring valleys, or in association with our, er, associates, for your whole time in Albania. It really is so magical here, but part of what makes it so wonderful is how undeveloped it is. We are happy — thrilled! — to help you plan your whole trip. And unlike other “agencies” (I suppose) – we’ll design it around what YOU want, not give some cookie cutter thing you can take or leave!
Nota Bene: Regarding payment ~ while we’re looking into a way for you to send us payment online, um . . . . we haven’t figured out an ideal method yet. In the past, we’ve always just helped people know what to expect, and then they bring cash and pay when they get here. But of course, if you don’t want to carry cash, you can always arrange a bank transfer, and information on how to do this is available here. Lack of pre-payment of course in no way affects the seriousness with which we take any reservations or plans which we make on your behalf. This is the land of besa after all, and our word is good.