Miravet Castle and the village of Miravet, Spain.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Near Vinaros, Spain.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Heading south west in Spain towards Gibraltar.

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Moving day... and tire damage update

We said goodbye to the Albanian Alps yesterday after a fantastic week in such stunning scenery. We weren't going very far, but it was going to take a while to get there. 

First, we drove back to the city of Shkodra to get our flat tire problem fixed up. The other day, I had backed onto the shoulder of a narrow road in order to let another vehicle pass, and in the process a rock cut into the sidewall of the tire. I knew that it was not repairable, and I figured that we were going to be on the hook for the price of a new tire.

So we went back to the Go Rent Albania office in Shkodra where the friendly people there took the car to their garage while Ruth and I went for a walk.

Chickens for sale at the side of the road.

Traffic in Shkodra can be a bit hairy.

There are a lot of bicycles on the road in Shkodra, more so than we have seen in any other city here in Albania. But between the bicycles and the double parked cars, it can get a little congested!

Bicycles in Shkodra.

It was a nice warm day, and we sat in a park and had some lunch. Afterwards, we stopped at an Italian ice cream place and had a treat. Delicious smooth creamy ice cream....

The cost was 80 lek ($0.96 CAD, $0.79 USD) each.

We got a whatsapp message from the car rental place saying the car was ready. So we walked back to pick it up. I asked how much we had to pay, and they said to go ahead and take the car and they would figure it out later. 

I got another message from them about an hour later saying that we didn't owe anything for the tire because we had the full insurance package included with our €210 per moth rental fee. 


And I knew that we had the full insurance, I just didn't think that tire damage would be covered.

By the way, I had checked our insurance through the credit card and tire damage is not covered through that particular card unless it is as a result of an accident with another vehicle.

So, with all the tires now in good shape, we were off to the village of Koman.

Komani Lake.

Ruth, enjoying the view.

Fish farm.

The road is a little rough in sections.

The northern section of Komani Lake is more of a river than a lake. 

The last 5 kms (3 miles) were a little rough, but fine if you go slowly.

We had booked in for a three night stay at the Hotel Villa Franceze. We arrived, but it almost looked like the place was locked up. Not a vehicle in sight. But the gate was unlocked, so we walked up the entrance steps, and the front door was unlocked as well.

We eventually found a girl who asked if we had a reservation, which we did. She showed us three rooms and gave us our choice.

The building is about 40 years old and was built as a residence for the engineers of the French construction company who built the nearby hydroelectric dam. It has been recently renovated with new windows and electrical and plumbing. It's also spotlessly clean.

For 3,000 lek ($36 CAD, $30 USD, €25) per night including a very full breakfast I think we're going to be quite happy here! In fact, we're already thinking of extending our stay!

Also, we have learned here in Albania so far, that at these hotel guest house places, you don't pay until you are ready to leave. And there are no credit cards.. they are mom and pop operations.

Our room.

Bathroom is tiny, I couldn't even get a decent picture of it.
But again, spotlessly clean and new.

And of course we don't have a living room or kitchen, but they have some nice common room facilities here and we found out this morning at breakfast that there were only two other guests last night...a couple of young Armenian guys who live in Sweden.

View out our bedroom window.

We sat in the common area and used our laptops for a while. They have a bar, and the girl asked if we wanted anything, so I had a beer. Later, I decided I wanted another one, but the girl wasn't around. But the fridge was right there, so I helped myself.

Later when we met the owner, I mentioned about taking another beer from the fridge and asked how much to pay. She said "that's okay, you just keep track and we can settle up at the end"!

They have a restaurant here at the hotel, but other than breakfast they are not prepared to serve meals yet. It's still early in the season. So the owner recommended a place down the road, so we set off on a ten minute walk to find ourselves some dinner.

Donkey watching us from above.

We found a little local pub and stopped in there. No menu, and no prices. They spoke some English though. We ended up with a bowl of soup each and a mixed plate for two. And two big glasses of local wine.

Chicken soup for me, and goulash for Ruth.

Mixed plate for two.

Total for both of us including tip was 2,000 lek ($24 CAD, $20 USD, €16). A little more than we thought it was going to be, but the location is a bit out of the way, and it's a bit of a touristy area.

Speaking of which, that is why we are here. To do a different type of boat trip up the lake. More about that tomorrow!


And in Canada...


  1. We love all your travels, but thanks for showing us Albania. I had no idea it was so beautiful.
    Thanks from an Armchair traveler!!

    1. We are happy that you are enjoying our travels, especially here in Albania. We knew that we were going to love it here, we just didn't realize how much we were to love it here. The scenery truly is beautiful. :-)

  2. At first I didn't think I'd like Albania due to all those crazy bunkers at the beginning. But, I changed my mind quickly as you traveled further around the country. It's a beautiful country with lots of fresh water and love the people you met...especially the man you met while hiking and asked you to follow him.

    1. We have learned through our travels to never be too quick to judge a place, whether it is a country or even a city or town. There may be some things that don't impress us but there are way so many more that do.

      The bunkers are part of the history here but they really are only a small part of Albania. The scenery is gorgeous and yes, the people are very friendly and welcoming. We enjoyed our time with Berte that day, it will certainly we a memory that will stick with us. :-)

  3. Haha...those little ice creams will set you back about $3.50-$5.00 each, here in Southern California

    1. Yep, they would have been about that much in Canada or more as well!

  4. You two find some great places! We would like to go there! You have shown us the best of places! Take care, Rawn

    1. Yes, we certainly do seem to find some beautiful places in our travels. There never seems to be a lack of places to explore, you just have to get out there and do it. :-)

  5. The foods you've shown look like pretty good eats. Good news on the tire, sometimes that insurance comes in handy. The room is fab with the included breakfast.

    1. The food has been really good and tasty but still not a good as Mexican food but they do use nice fresh ingredients, just like they do in Mexico. :-)

      We don't normally buy the insurance package when we rent a car because our credit card would cover most normal damages but when they quoted us the monthly price we thought it was a great price, we didn't realize that it included the insurance as well! Guess it worked out for us.


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