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Europe » Albania » North » Shkodër July 18th 2014

Hi everyone April here. Following what happened with Si's passport we decided to stay at Lake Shkoder much longer than planned. For Si's birthday, we arranged a two night stay in the mountains to trek the Valbona Pass in the Albanian Alps. Day one was spent getting up very early to go by boat down the Komani River. It is known as one of the world's greatest boat trips and the views were breathtaking! We sat up the front of the local commuter ferry. I say local commuter ferry, the ferry would drop locals off and they would have to walk 3 hours back to their village carrying watermelons and sacks of tea (not very local). Sometimes they had mules/ horses to help them. We spent one night at a place called Valbona which is famous ... read more
The Komani Ferry
The Komani River
Komani River

Europe » Albania » West » Elbasan July 12th 2014

Hiya, We have been here for 10 days now and it has been action packed. We have been staying with The Purver family who have been very hospitable to us. Thank you Dawn, Tim, Aaron and Phoebe, you allowed us to see the "real Albania". Simon: When we crossed into Albania, we immediately had to buy car insurance from a small hut at the roadside. While I (Simon) paid, April was rather mobbed by begging children who swarmed around the van and tried to climb in the windows. An early reminder of the poverty which is present. We then ventured on with a little trepidation after what we had read and been told about the Albanian driving. On a main road, the driving style soon became apparent. Go at whatever speed you want and don't let ... read more
View from one of the worlds most dangerous roads - Tirana to Elbasan!
View of Albania from a mountain pass
View from the mountain

Europe » Albania » South » Himare June 29th 2014

Albania Beautiful, Exciting, Extreme and Dangerous to Our Health Looks like this statement is going to need a bit of explanation. We had never been to Albania and kinda thought we might not get there this time given our change in ferry destination and a desire to go to a national park in Macedonia. All that changed when, after debarkation from the Greece Ferry, we drove for about 2 hours, planning to head for Macedonia, when we both became very sleepy (not much sleep the night on the ferry). We stopped in a pull over on the road and tried to get a bit of shuteye. After 45 minutes of sleep it became much too hot to stay there and we started to see if we could find a camping area near us on our way ... read more
View of coast from 2000 meters up
A better coastal road
The coast

Europe » Albania » West » Tirana May 8th 2014

6.15 Frühstück, 7.00 Abfahrt, da weiß man gleich, was bevorsteht: eine lange Strecke, die auch noch schwierig ist. So war's denn auch. Der Tag begann mit dem Abschied von Tony Mac. Er war von London aus mitgefahren, hatte die ersten beiden Tage nur gefroren, aber weil er ein Mann ist, ist er nicht auf die offensichtliche Idee gekommen, dass er irgendwo anhalten könnte und sich was Warmes zum Anziehen kaufen könnte...... Am dritten Tag ging's ihm noch schlechter und ab Bled war er dann im Van mit einer schweren Erkältung/Bronchitis. In Trogier wurde er zur Untersuchung/Diagnose ins Krankenhaus gebracht, am nächsten Tag in dubrovnik nochmal. Von dieser schweren Erkältung war sein Herz angegriffen und er entschloß sich, das MR im Hotel in Dubrovnik stehen zu lassen. Er selbst flog heute Abend heim nach England. Plant aber, ... read more
Fähre
albanischer Bunker

Europe » Albania » South » Gjirokaster April 21st 2014

After leaving a fantastic stay in Dornberk, we went to the cave in Postonja, Further on to Ljubljana where we had a nice visit to the old town (Starigrad), we finally learned what it means. then we set off for Bosnia-Herzegovinia. We entered the country from the north west and drove throughout countryside without to many things to see We stopped at a petrol station with ccv surveillance and slept. Next day we arrived in Scit Rama. at a private house and restaurant in the middle of a lake. Fantastic food nice people and a breathtaking view. Next stop was Sarajevo. A city that was hard hit during the war. There were still a lot of marks on the buildings. Windows had been replaced, and just enough for the houses to be habitable. There is still ... read more
Train into Postonje Cave
Postonje Cave
Postonje Cave

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Europe » Albania » West » Tirana September 4th 2013

Albania via Pogradec > Korca > Erseke > Leskovik > Permet > Gjirokaster > Livadhja > Butrint > Ksamil > Borsch > Dhermi > Vlore I’ve been reunited with Dragana (the bike) and have to say my heart skipped a beat on seeing her. And now we’ve been together again for just over a week it’s like no time has passed between us. Actually, that’s not totally true. After an absence of bike riding for over a month, whilst I still knew how to still ride a bike, the going was er, a little tough. Riding along Ohrid Lake was nice enough but not like the gorgeous road around Skardar Lake in Montenegro. But as first days back in the saddle go, this wasn’t a bad one. And the monastery of Sveti Naum, just near the ... read more
Summer's over at Pogradec
Playing Dominos at Pogradec
The Road to Korca

Europe » Albania » West » Tirana August 25th 2013

Ah yes, my first day in Albania has come to an end. Where do I begin? Well for starters my girlfriend was less than happy that I was being dropped in the middle of Albania at 4am without a place to go. The bus was less than exciting, hot with no air conditioning but with an assortment of drunks. Even so I eventually fell asleep and in doing so ended up in Durres instead of in Tirana. The bus company was kind enough to get me right though. The benefit of this was two-fold, for one I arrived at 8am instead of at 4am. Secondly wasthat I got to asee a beautiful sunrise over the Albanian mountains. On the bus I got in touch with Cleon who offered to host me. We decided to meet at ... read more
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Europe » Albania » West » Tirana August 24th 2013

Berat to Tirana - out we went on the same roads we came in on until we headed off to Tirana, the capital city of about a million people. There are some highways built in Albania so we had quite few k's of smooth riding on four lane motorways in between the lesser roads so a better ride than yesterday. Tirana is bustling, busy, bullish - on the surface anyway. We got the impression of a city in a hurry but still with too many men looking as if they had no job to go to. There are some impressive buildings in a style different to western eyes - almost a mix of eastern, western, communist and capitalist ideas struggling for supremacy. The mausoleum that Enver Hoxha, the communist dictator , had arranged for himself in ... read more
Unfinished houses
Rural Albania
Kotor

Europe » Albania » South » Sarandë August 22nd 2013

We're here and we are chugging along quite nicely. Leaving Corfu was a breeze. Up early, grabbed a taxi to the new port with our tickets in hand, through passport control and onto the ferry. The boat was a hydrofoil, I think that's what it's called, and it raced across the short channel between Corfu and Sarande in no time - about 30 minutes. Our first view of Albania at Sarande was of a bland townscape, many low multi storey and apartment blocks over looking the port and climbing the hills behind the port. The usual "don't mess with me" types walking the wharf. Port workers seem meaner somehow but I am a bit of a wuss. We could see our van on the other side of fence. We had to go through passport control again ... read more
Balkan Road Trip
Butrint
Roads

Europe » Albania » West » Krujë July 11th 2013

Lezhe to Albanian Border near Blato Macedonia Ugh, I can’t believe it. I’ve just looked at my day diary and see that it’s only been 2 ½ weeks since I left Albania when it feels more like 2 ½ months. How does time manage to do that with one’s senses. And given that it’s only been 2 ½ weeks I really ought to remember what I did! Oh dear. Here goes…this little goldfish will try. And it's a bit of a long one so apologies in advance. Last time I wrote I was in Lezhe. A small town, not much for a tourist to see (or rather, it’s probably best to say I didn’t see much). There is a castle, a memorial to Gjergj Kastrioti Skënderbeu, a national hero and a couple of churches, ... read more
Birds in Kruje
Bazaar in Kruje
Albanian Traditional Costume




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