Polar bear at the Toronto Zoo, Canada.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Ottawa, Canada.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Reuniting with Max in Germany on October 1st.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

4 hours to drive 135 kms (84 miles). But the scenery was worth it...

The guy at the tourist office in Permet had told us that it would take "about 5 hours" to do the drive from Permet to Korca, but we wouldn't mind because we would be too busy enjoying the scenery. And he was right!

But still, it's hard to believe there isn't a more direct route. This part of Albania near the border with Greece is pretty remote. In fact, we were saying that people who live here have to be pretty self sufficient because it's a long drive to any kind of services. 

Good thing we had lots of fuel, because even filling stations were few and far between in this area.

It was overcast pretty much all day.

There was even a 40% chance of a shower, but it never did rain. Unfortunately, no blue skies to go with the mountain pictures though.

Scenery along the way.

It looks like there is a nice waterfall way up there.

Zoomed in.

The Vjosa River.

The first part of the trip goes south to the Greek border. The road follows the Vjosa River, said to be the last living wild river in Europe. Along its entire 270 kms (167 miles) length, from where it begins in Greece until it empties into the Adriatic Sea, there are no dams and all of the tributaries flowing into it are natural as well. There was a plan to construct a hydroelectric project in 2016, but it was met with fierce opposition from both residents and scientists.

Shell Oil purchased a permit from the Albanian government to explore the Vjosa Valley for oil. This is currently causing protests in the area



The whole area should be made into a National Park.

Wow.
Very few tourists ever come here.

Our road.

Twisty curvy road ahead!

Ruth took a video for you while I was driving. Turn up your volume...

Slow going.

And sure, it's slow going and the roads isn't in very good shape. But we're not in any rush. We would do this road in a motorhome, but it would take us three days! We learned when we drove up to the Arctic that bad roads are okay, you just have to take your time.

This bridge needs some work!

Looking across the river to Greece.
Odd clouds in the sky.

The town of Leskovik is kind of pretty.






In the middle of nowhere, we came across this statue.


I translated the plaque for you. It says...

On July 6, 1943 in this valley the first shot was fired against the Germans by the partisan Zomorri Battalion, and about 300 volunteers from the villages of the Leskovik, Dangllise, Panarit, and Vithkuo colonies. The enemy was disarmed and left 60 Germans dead.

I did some further research. Word got back to the Germans who were occupying Greece at the time, and the next day a large German army entered the nearby village of Borova and destroyed the village, killing 107 men, women, and children civilians in retaliation for the attack the day before. It became known as the Borova Massacre.

WWII Memorial to the villagers in the town of Borova.

Korca is a big enough city of 75,000 people. As we got closer, a new road was just finished. 

It seemed like a superhighway compared to what we had been driving on!

We had no problem finding our accommodation right in the center of the city. We're here for 7 nights. It's a little pricey by Albanian standards, at 3,000 lek ($35.75 CAD, $29.15 USD) per night. But again, most of the other options in this area were hotels and guest houses.

Bedroom.

It's on the 3rd floor with a nice balcony.

Our only complaint is that there in no oven yet the photos in the listing showed an oven.
It has apparently been replaced by a microwave. 
We will make do, but I have mentioned to the host that he needs to update the photos.

Living room.

Bathroom.

Great weather in the forecast, with springtime highs of between 21C to 25C (70F to 77F) with blue skies and sunshine for the entre week that we are here.

Yesterday's drive 135 kms (84 miles).

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19 comments:

  1. Fabulous! Gorgeous! Amazing! This is a country of superlatives at least for the scenery! Thanks for the beautiful pictures ... and for the video(s) also. It must be a bit strefful to drive on such roads!

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    1. We totally agree with you Armande, and we still haven't made it to the BIG mountains yet! We love drives like this, and no we weren't stressed a bit. The really nice part about a good majority of this road was that there was very little traffic. :-)

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  2. Wow is right!
    That road looks more like a bicycle path.

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    1. Yep, the scenery was breathtaking for a good majority of the drive.

      Not quite as narrow as a bicycle path, there was definitely two lanes of traffic, we have been on some roads where there is really not much more room than one lane for traffic. They were working on widening the road at the beginning of our drive and then it became a little wider again near the Greece border and then once again when we got closer to Korce.

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  3. Like you said Beautiful Scenery that made the trip worthwhile.
    The lack of tourist could be due to the Virus but it could also be due to the lack of advertising. That could all change with people following your Blog.
    Be Safe and Enjoy the views.

    It's about time.

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    1. Yep, the scenery was gorgeous and we loved the drive. :-)

      No, we don't think the lack of tourists has anything to do with the virus. That southern section of Albania really doesn't have much in the way of towns so other than needing to cross at the Greek border, most people don't need to travel this section of road much. It might get busier in the summer though as there may be more people traveling at that time of year.

      Albania, really hasn't been high on the list for tourism but we think that will change in the coming years. The country is definitely trying to make itself known to the world as a great place to visit. Hopefully our blog will help a little with that. :-)

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  4. Beautiful! I agree, needs to be preserved and made a national park.

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    1. Luckily they do have quite a few national parks here in Albania, who knows maybe someday part of that drive will be made into another national park. Having said that I was looking at the map and most of the section of mountains to our right as we headed down to the border with Greece from Permet has very little in the way of roads so it looks like it will stay pretty natural for a long time yet. :-)

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  5. Many of our secondary roads here in Cape Breton N.S. don't look much better than the one in your video . Nobody is in any hurry to do much needed repairs.

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    1. Lol, we know all about the rough roads in Nova Scotia. Way back in June of 2011 after leaving Cape Breton we decide to take the coastal road back to the Halifax area but it got so bad after Queensport that we ended up getting off it and I even sent an email off to the Minister of Transportation for Nova Scotia telling him how bad the road was that it was deplorable to have roads in that kind of condition and that we would be telling every RVer we know not to take that route, which was a shame because we really were enjoying our drive along that route, other than the road conditions of course. https://www.travelwithkevinandruth.com/2011/06/truro-nova-scotia.html

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    2. I don't think your email ever got to the government . We took the same route last Summer and it was horrendous ! All they do is put patches on patches which have crumbled away. The other day we went for a drive on a small part of the world famous Cabot Trail and parts looked similar to your video road. Since tourism is going to be way down this upcoming season because of Covid , maybe patching will not even get done. Sad state of affairs for local people.

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    3. Lol, oh they got it all right because I got a reply back from them. I know that Kevin had written about it but I can't find that post at the moment. They gave us some song and dance about how they were aware of the issue and were working on resurfacing it but it would be done a section at a time. Sounds like they never got to the resurfacing! I have to say I don't remember us having a problem with the condition of the road when we drove the Cabot Trail it was only after leaving Cape Breton that the road started to deteriorate to a point that we could not drive on it further and instead made our way back up to the main highway.

      It really is a sad state of affairs and I remember how bad we felt for the locals having to deal with it every day! :-(

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  6. Replies
    1. I was wondering the same thing

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    2. Our speed shows up in the picture of the road that I took on the GPS, at that point we were going 36 km (22 mi) per hour. It wasn't like that the whole way though some sections we could go faster but for most of the twisty winding part we were between 35-40 km per hour and there was a lot of twisting winding parts but the best part of the drive is that there was very little traffic. :-)

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  7. Wow, what a gorgeous drive! And your new accommodation looks very lovely and comfortable. Only one question: where is the fridge?

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    1. It was a fantastic drive! We said as were driving along that if we were driving in our motorhome, we would have made that drive into a three day drive, just to be able to stop and enjoy the scenery and go for some hikes.

      Our accommodation isn't perfect but it is serving our needs. Lol, that was my first comment when I saw the kitchen! Kevin had to mention that the fridge was around the corner and not ideal. If you look at the picture of the kitchen, off to the right in the hall you will see a red box, that is the fridge. It is an older Coca-Cola fridge so it has no freezer and is a bit small and a little loud when it is running. We turn it off at night so that it doesn't keep us awake.

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    2. Haha, I see it now. It is definitely fun size! ;-)

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    3. Yep, but it has still served it's purpose!

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