Rows of motorhomes at the dealer where we met Max in Dulmen, Germany.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Dulmen, Germany.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Not sure yet.

Monday, June 7, 2021

Moving day... back in the big city of Tirana, and Covid update

Well, we are back where we started and our almost three month tour of Albania is coming to an end. We fly to Poland this coming Friday, so that gives us only four full days left here. Today, we don't have much planned... we both need haircuts though, so that will be on the agenda. And we do have a couple of day trips we want to do before we leave, so the rest of the week will go by quickly!

On Sunday, we drove from Koman to Tirana, with a couple of stops along the way.


Here is our drive from yesterday...

138 kms (85 miles).

First, we had to do the slow road that follows Komani Lake...

Komani Lake.





Scenery along the way.

We made it back to the busy main highway that runs between Shkodra and Tirana. Lots of Sunday traffic, and it's only two lanes most of the time, although there is one short stretch of four lanes. Still, it was busy. 

We made a detour to the Gjader Air Force Base. This is another Communist era curiosity where they built 600 meters (2000 feet) worth of tunnels into the side of a hill to store up to 50 fighter jet aircraft. There is a 2 km taxiway from the side of the hill running through farmers fields to the runway.

Unfortunately, the tunnels are still off limits and there are rumors that there are still aging aircraft stored inside the tunnels.

The taxiway is now part of the road system in the village.

This is as far as you can get.

It was all closed off, but there was nobody around. 

I did find this website with photos of the inside that were taken in 2018... interesting stuff!


The buildings are all falling apart.

What remains of the control tower by the runway.

Another abandoned building.

The runway.

This is the hill that has the tunnels at the base of it.

We had some snacks with us, but I had marked off an agro-tourism restauran that wasn't much of a detour. I couldn't remember why I had it marked off, but I guess someone had told us about it along the way.

So we decided to head over there to have some lunch.

We got there, and it was super busy! It was Sunday of course, and the Albanians love to go to places like this for a Sunday outing. I wasn't surprised, but they were even too busy for us to have lunch. You need a reservation, and they were fully booked until after 3:00pm. You could tell they felt bad for us, and said that we were more than welcome to wander the property, and they even gave us a glass of refreshing rose juice.

Ruth with her glass of rose juice.
It wasn't sweet, and actually tasted like roses, if you can imagine that.

It's a really pretty spot.

Lots of flowers.

Communist era bunkers all prettied up.

Outdoor eating area.

The farm train.
Check out the older guy second from the end. Too funny!

Another decorated bunker.

They grow most of their own produce served in the restaurant.

It's too bad, I'm sure it would have been delicious. Then again, it was probably pretty expensive... we never did check the prices!

Then we made our way into the big city of Tirana. We had checked the other two Airbnb's that we had stayed at when we first arrived because we had been happy with them. Unfortunately they were both booked already, so I had to search for something else.

Anything half decent was almost $40 CAD per night. So I started looking at alternatives and found a studio apartment that shares a full kitchen with two other studios. Its maybe a 20 minute walk to downtown so the location is good.

Not bad, for 2,400 lek ($29 CAD, $24 USD) per night.

Bed and desk.

Bathroom.

Couch and our own bar fridge.

Shared kitchen.

It will do for the five nights that we are here.

Covid here in Albania appears to be pretty much over with. As of June 4th, the country is fully open to visitors arriving from any country and with zero restrictions other than the 11pm to 6am curfew that is still in effect. Yesterday, they performed 3,400 tests and only 9 positive results. There have been zero deaths attributed to Covid for five days now. Life is very normal here.

We are headed to Poland on Friday, where the numbers are also very low. So far (although I am waiting for confirmation), we do not need a Covid test to board the plane. An antigen test will be done at the Warsaw airport upon arrival at a cost of 200 zloty ($66 CAD, $54 USD, €45 euros) each and results are given within 20 minutes. A negative test result means you don't have to quarantine. Then, the country is pretty much open for business with masks still being worn indoors or on public transport. Bars and nightclubs are still closed.

We are going to spend a week in Warsaw and then quickly make our way to Germany across the land border. If everything goes according to plan, we should be in our new motorhome by June 21st. Fingers and toes crossed!

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Great deal on this big 2500A Booster Battery Pack

And in Canada...


8 comments:

  1. I hope your plans goes according to plan.🤞🤞🤞

    We are still not allow to leave Ireland.

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    Replies
    1. So do we, especially now that we feel we are getting so close to our new motorhome.

      So sorry that you still can't leave Ireland, it has been a long time now! Do you have any idea when they will open Ireland up?

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    2. Ruth think September at the earliest. Hopefually.

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    3. Our fingers are crossed for you!

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  2. I was talking to a friend who lives in Germany, and explained your adventures. She asks if you could take the train into Germany (since you can't fly in)? Apparently the train system is very good.

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    Replies
    1. We looked into the train from Poland and Germany but they have stopped the service at the moment so that won't work. However, we might take the train from Warsaw to a town/city near the German border if it looks like it will be cheaper than taking an in country flight, we love taking trains. :-)

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  3. Explaining the differences in the Covid experience in various countries and at various times is something that really needs to be understood. Unfortunately now it's mostly an exercise in political finger pointing.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, I'd agree with that. And I agree that it's important to explain what's happening on the ground in the countries that we're in.

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