Ruth and Max enjoying a beautiful rainbow at the Natyra e Qete Restaurant & Camping near Berat, Albania.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Berat, Albania.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? South towards Greece.

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Best rainbow ever?

We belong to quite a few travel groups on Facebook. One of our favorites is called Senior Nomads. When we first started out, we wouldn't have felt that we met the criteria to join a group like that, but I guess we're getting to the point where we fit the bill!

Anyhow, an interesting comment came up yesterday regarding how far in advance people are planning trips. Given the Covid situation, I was surprised at how some people already have so much booked.

Monday, November 29, 2021

Just about time to head further south!

It's a bit of an anomaly, but there are actual snow flurries in the forecast for Berat, Albania on Tuesday night with an expected low around the freezing mark. Still, average temperatures for this time of year are highs of 14C (58F) and lows of 8C (47F) and it is supposed to quickly return to that on Wednesday.

But, it is just about time to be heading further south which is exactly what we will be doing as soon as our package arrives and we finish with the dentist. Hopefully by the end of this week.

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Ruth's birthday turned out better than expected... and what a finish!

Pouring buckets when we woke up yesterday morning, but by 9:00am or so it had stopped. The forecast was for more rain though. Ruth had an 11:00am dentist appointment so we weren't sure whether we should drive into town but by 10:30 it still wasn't raining so we decided to hop on the bikes.

That turned out to be the best choice. Didn't really want to move Max the motorhome if we didn't have to.

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Future plans

Yesterday was a rain day! I only got outside twice... once during a 15 minute dry spell so that I could empty our toilet tank, and once so that I could take a few rainbow photos.

Otherwise, it was a computer day and we got quite a lot accomplished. And we heard back from the dentist again and Ruth has an appointment at 11:00am this morning to have the molds and scans taken for the invisible braces for her lower teeth.

Friday, November 26, 2021

Ruth's dentist update, and does anybody know what these are...?

There's a lot of rain in the forecast for the next four days, so we figured we had better get out and enjoy the day. It's a great area for hiking and biking, and we had not yet taken the bikes heading south along the road outside the campground.

Also, we heard back from the dentist regarding straightening Ruth's lower teeth. She has nice teeth and they are all her own, but we have noticed over the last five years or so that the front lower ones have become a little crooked. We would not be able to justify spending the money that it would cost in Canada or the U.S., but we figured our dentist here in Albania might come up with something more cost effective.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Just another day of Motorhome life in Albania.

The plan was to do a bike ride into town in the morning to pick up some groceries, then another one in the afternoon in the opposite direction just for pleasure. 

So we set off to do groceries around 10:30am. It was a nice blue sky day. We got to the butcher that we have used in the past. He speaks zero English. But we got across to him that we wanted some fresh ground beef. He held up a slab of beef and made gestures like he was going to cut it. But we pointed at his meat grinding machine and he shook his head. It took us a few seconds to figure it out, but it turns out the power was out!

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

This campground will do just fine for the next few days

The weather has been better than we expected it to be. However there is some rain supposed to be arriving by tomorrow afternoon, and showers throughout the upcoming weekend. And I've got some computer work to get done during that time so it made sense for us to look for a campground where we can have electricity and WiFi. Also, we are waiting for the dentist to get back to us about straightening Ruth's lower teeth.

We didn't plan on staying in Berat this long, but then we really don't have any kind of schedule, so it doesn't matter! And, as I've said before, we really like the area.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

We love going to the dentist!

Said no one. Ever.

However, when you can go to the dentist and are confident that you are getting good value for your money, it makes the whole experience a little more enjoyable.

I had been to see a dentist in Albania back in the springtime. I had a bridge that had come loose, and it turned out that one of the anchor teeth needed to be rebuilt. I had four different appointments and the final bill was so inexpensive that I thought he forgot to add a zero or two!

Monday, November 22, 2021

We could easily live in this area.

We woke up Sunday morning and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. And it stayed that way all day! Just perfect. We didn't want to waste a day like that, so we set off on a hike up the road past the village of Drobonik. 

This is an interesting road because if you look on Google maps it is marked as a major route south. And between Berat and Drobonik the road is freshly paved and in beautiful condition. But after Drobonik it deteriorates quickly into a dirt road and apparently there are areas where it would be wise to have a high clearance vehicle, if not 4WD.

Sunday, November 21, 2021

What a great day we had!

Yesterday we did our guided hike and picnic lunch into Albania's Tomorri National Park. We had tried to go up to this area when we had a car rental back in early April but we just had a small 2WD car, and we learned pretty quickly that you need a high clearance 4WD in order to go to where we were trying to go.

We met our guide Arti from Albania Rafting Group at 9:00am, and hopped into a 4WD Land Rover. Arti a young guy, 24 years old and Berat is his home town so he knows the area well. Nice guy, and we enjoyed his company.

Saturday, November 20, 2021

It's a bit of a treat for us...

First thing we did yesterday morning was to put on a load of laundry. Mostly bedding, so we wanted to get it in early so that it would dry by the time we left. There was no stated checkout time, so we asked the lady if we could stay a little longer, and she didn't have a problem with that. We had already unplugged, and it's not like there was a lineup of people waiting for a spot.

Friday, November 19, 2021

We kind of got sidetracked... and ended up at the dentist office!

We got a decently early start for our drive to Berat. They were calling for showers in the afternoon, so we wanted to get to the River Side Campground early enough to get a load or two of laundry done. Our plan was to have a one night stay at this campground in order to do laundry, have showers, fill and empty our tanks, and fully charge our batteries. 

This way, we will easily be able to spend a few free nights at the hotel parking lot where we know it is shaded and don't know if we will be able to plug in.

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Out for a bike ride, and problems solved!

Change of plans! We decided to stay put for one more night. It turns out that the castle we were hoping to visit now charges a €10 fee to overnight there, and it's not that important to us. So the only other option in that area was beach camping at a restaurant. We decided that if we are going to beach camp, we've got it pretty good right where we are!

And with some rain in the forecast, we didn't want to be stuck (literally!) in soft sand or on a muddy road.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Yet another problem...

Cloudy with sunny breaks yesterday. High of about 20C (68F), so it was quite pleasant.

Right beside where we are parked, there is a water faucet that actually works. So we took the opportunity to do some chores. Laundry is always an issue... it's difficult to find laundromats. They do exist in the larger cities, but they're not always convenient. So we do smaller items by hand when we can.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Problem at the grocery store

With fully charged batteries and no rain in the forecast, we set off from the free motorhome hookups at the highway truck stop at around 10:30am. We didn't have far to go... about 50 kms (30 miles), but driving through the small city of Durres is slow going so it took us about an hour.

Taking this route allowed us to avoid the big city of Tirana. We spent more than a week in Tirana when we visited back in the spring and although we enjoyed the city, we don't feel a need to return.

Monday, November 15, 2021

Max's batteries... and a lazy rain day.

Max has two 100 AH 12 volt AGM deep cycle batteries. He also has two 100 watt solar panels to keep those batteries charged.

For comparison, our North American motorhome Sherman had four 225 AH 6 volt wet cell batteries, and three 80 watt solar panels.

That's quite a bit of difference. Our usage is quite high given that we are on our laptops a lot. 

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Lots of good free camping spots

Saturday was a beautiful day. Sunshine, with a high around 20C (68F). Above average for this area at this time of year. So we got the bikes off and went for a bike ride.

First we went south along the beach road as far as we could go. Lots of good free wild camping (boondocking) spots. Only one problem though. Mosquitoes! There are a lot of marshy areas, and that usually means bugs. Bugs and I don't get along!

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Off to the beach!

It was time for a change of scenery, so we did the short 44 km (27 mile) drive to the coastal resort town of Shëngjin. 

Wasn't quite sure what to expect as we hadn't been here in the spring. It turns out that Shëngjin has a really nice beach. There is also a small shipping port. But it's a growing resort area, with a lot of hotels and rental accomodation.

Friday, November 12, 2021

This lifestyle is not for everyone

Katja and Yves came over to say goodbye. We had given them some tips for what to see on their way south through Albania, and they had given us some tips on our planned trip to Norway next summer because they had spent a lot of time there this year.

And then they gave us a tour of their rig.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Views above Shkoder, and evening visitors!

Not much sunshine on Wednesday, but the temperature was a pleasant 18C (66F). In fact, perfect conditions to go for a hike. 

I found a nearby trail that runs up above the hill in behind where we are parked, so we set off just after 10:00am for what turned out to be a really nice hike!

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Have I mentioned that we love Albania?

We spent the morning puttering around and getting Max ready to move across the river. Weather has been nice... highs around 20C (68F) and clouds with sunny periods. We haven't had to use our furnace since we got into Bosnia, although I'm sure some chillier evenings are coming. 

Did all the maintenance chores like filling the fresh water tank, and emptying the holding tanks and then did the five minute drive to our next location! Gotta love short driving days!

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Sometimes things just have a way of working out

When we arrived in Shkoder on Saturday, our original intention was to stay for a full week. We had been traveling almost every day for the whole month of October, and we just needed some down time. Shkoder has a lot of places we could ride our bikes to, and it's just a good place to relax. 

The camping place we wanted to stay at was a reasonable €10 a night and we were prepared to pay that for a week. But when we arrived, it was full of mud from the recent rains.

Monday, November 8, 2021

A bigger job than I thought it was going to be!

Sure enough, as they forecast, Sunday turned out to be a beautiful day! It was so nice to have sunshine and blue sky. It was even shorts and t-shirt weather, with the high temperature going up to 24C (75F). 

Fantastic.

And so, it was a perfect day to repair Max's leaking bathroom roof vent.

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Happy to be back in Albania!

But we're a little disappointed we didn't get to see more of Montenegro. The weather just wasn't cooperating. We saw enough to know that we will need to return and spend more time there, and that's okay too. I can see us doing variations of this north to south (and vice versa) route several times in the coming years.

We went to pay our bill at Autokamp Titograd near Podgorica at about 10:00am, but we really didn't want to leave. The family that runs the place is so friendly and welcoming and of course we had to sit down and have a coffee with them before we left. We will return there for sure one day.

Saturday, November 6, 2021

Heading into Albania today

Yes, Max's bathroom roof vent is still dripping. My quick repair in the dark slowed it down a little, but didn't stop it. I'm not surprised. Fortunately, it drips right onto the floor of our shower, so the water just drains away not really hurting anything.

But we're still confused about how this happened to begin with. I was almost convinced it was a stress crack from the twisting motion of the body caused by putting one wheel on a ramp higher than the others, but when I put it down off the ramp, the gaps on the damaged vent didn't change at all. It's very strange.

Friday, November 5, 2021

Max has a minor problem

We woke up in the pouring rain on Thursday morning in the small city of Niksic, Montenegro. Niksic in an industrial town, and not much to see or do their from a tourist perspective. Still, it would have been nice to wander around and see what there was to see.

But like I said, it was pouring buckets. And the forecast for Friday and Saturday wasn't much better. We decided to head to a campground near the capital city of Podgorica. It had great reviews, and was reasonably priced at €10 ($14.50 CAD, $11.50 USD) a night with electric included. 

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Welcome to Montenegro... country #49. Wow, what a drive!

We did a quick trip back to the grocery store before leaving Foca. Picked up three bottles of wine, among other things. As we're leaving the store, one of the bags slips out of Ruth's hands and crashed to the concrete. Now we only have two bottles of wine! Oh well... no point in crying over spilt wine! Although spilt milk would have been better!

And then we got on the road to the Montenegro border. We knew we were taking the backroads option. Most people would head down to the coast and go the easier route, but we like the road less traveled!

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Stopped by the police in Bosnia

Monday, we left Sarajevo at about 9:30am, and headed south through the hills towards Montenegro. But first, we had to fill up with diesel and top up the propane. I found a station that sold both, and both at good prices. The diesel worked out to €1.18 ($1.70 CAD) per liter which is the cheapest we have paid since we've owned Max.

Then the LPG. Again, it turned out to be an easy experience topping up our refillable tanks. The station attendant had never done one in a motorhome before, so I kind of had to show him how! But we got it done no problem. The LPG worked out to €0.75 ($1.08 CAD) per liter.

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

A few hours in the city of Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina

Sarajevo is known to the world for two things. One, the city hosted the 1984 Winter Olympics, and two, it was badly destroyed during the Bosnian War between 1992 and 1996.

It is not really known as a tourist destination, although there are some things worth seeing.

We set off at just before 9:00am to walk down to the city to see what there was to see...

Monday, November 1, 2021

Drive to Sarajevo

This is today's second post. Earlier today I posted our October expense report. You can read it here if you haven't already.

On Sunday, we did the fairly long drive from Jajce to the big city of Sarajevo. Not really a long distance, but a fairly long time because we took the back roads and probably averaged about 60 km/h (36 mph) or less. 

October Expenses

A little higher than we expected.

We spent a total of $2,182 CAD ($1,762 USD, €1,525) for the month. The unexpected parts were mostly still related to getting our bikes from Canada to where Max was located. But, we also are going to have to up the budget a little for fuel, LPG (propane gas) and campgrounds, all of which were higher than originally planned. Here's how it all broke down...