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Europe » Albania » West » Durrës December 26th 2014

Albania! nope never thought I would be driving in Albania but it is an experience not to be missed. We left our comfortable rented flat in Kotor Montenegro and thought hey why not just drive down to Albania while we are in the area. Albania is a beautiful country but just still a little behind when it comes to roads and everyday life. We spent our first night in Durres, not a bad drive really about 200 km but it takes about 4 1/2 hrs. The border crossing was an experience, line ups where long. Someone, not too sure who he was, border official of some kind, not sure for which country, walks along takes your passport and goes into the booth, in about 1/2 hr you pull up to the booth and they hand it ... read more
Boardwalk

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 » West » Berat July 11th 2014

Today I got a ride with the Norwegians to Berat. It was a really rainy day to begin with, and we left quite late, which always annoys me. But after talking to someone else later on, I found out how lucky I was to get a ride, as there is no bus station in Tirana and it can be really hard to find buses out. Albania has the worst roads ever, so the driving was quite slow. We got to Berat much later than I expected, but luckily the rain ended and days are really long in the summer, so I was still able to walk around a lot and go to the old town/castle and LOVED it. Every moment was picture perfect. Plus, I loved my hotel. I could have stayed forever. Of course, the ... read more
Castle town
Castle town
Castle town

Europe » Albania » West » Durrës July 10th 2014

A day trip. Not so much to see here, in the end, but was proud of myself for finding the minibus here and back. :)... read more
Old amphitheater
Old amphitheater
Old amphitheater

Europe » Albania » West » Tirana July 9th 2014

I was lucky getting to Tirana, as the buses from Kotor to Tirana require several changes, but the hostel in Kotor (another dorm) had a shuttle service if enough people signed up. Luckily, they did. I talked mostly to a Danish couple and a little with a Norwegian couple. This proved key, as they were renting a car in Albania and going in the same direction as I was. Luckily, they offered to drive me, so that was convenient. I stayed at their hotel, since I had no place to go when I arrived. It was already nice to have my own room after the hostel in Kotor. I spent that first day walking around Tirana, the capital. Not such an exciting place, but still good to see it. The next day I went to Durres, ... read more
Another copycat restaurant
In town
Cool national flag

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 » 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 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 » 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

Europe » Albania » West » Tirana July 5th 2013

www.theredquest.com url=http://www.amazon.co.uk/Balkan-Odyssey-Travels-Yugoslavia-oh-ebook/dp/B00DQ6V324/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1372689617&sr=1-2&keywords=the+balkan+odysseyThe Balkan Odyssey Getting to the Albania border was as straightforward as the man in the bus station had said it would be. Ulcinj turned out to be another deliciously pretty coastal town, but all Michael and I saw of it was a cafe in the bus station. With a goal of reaching Tirana before nightfall, we decided to get straight on with the journey. After a quick cup of coffee, we jumped in a taxi to take us the short distance to the border. Once stamped into the poorest nation of the Balkans, we considered our options. There were a few minivans waiting nearby, as well as three taxis. "How much to Tirana?" I asked the first taxi driver. "Two hundred euro,"... read more
Tirana
Tirana
The Balkan Odyssey




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