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.

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.

And then we headed for Albania. 

There are two different routes available. Almost everyone takes the easier lowland route. Of course we're not normal and wanted to take the route through the mountains! We had done the Albania part of this road back in May so we knew that the Albania side of the road was good, and that the scenery was fantastic.

Also, when we had done that route back in May, we had seen the border station from higher up. Always good to confirm (especially in Covid times) that a particular border station is actually open, so I did some research. It turns out that this crossing was built in 2017 as a joint effort between Montenegro and Albania, but they forgot to figure out how to get electricity there and it took another four years to complete because of that. The station only opened in August of this year, so when we had seen it from above in May, it was still not open.

Despite the dull grey day, the scenery was still wonderful.

And because of the new border station, there was also a freshly paved road!

A few people live out here, but not many.

Gorgeous drive.

At the top of that rock slide in the center is our road on the Albania side.

Goodbye Montenegro!

Hello Albania!

Very easy border crossing. Surprisingly, there was one car in front of us when we arrived, but they were soon done with him. The Montenegro exit guy asked for our passports and vehicle paperwork. He took quite some time, and we thought there was going to be a problem, but stamped everything and wished us a safe trip. The Albanian entry guy smiled when we said hello in our best Albanian, and was quick to stamp our passports and send us on our way. Didn't even ask for our Covid certificates.

That's our road up there!

But as I said, the road surface is in great condition.

Heading higher.

A few houses on the other side.

Looking down on Shkoder Lake.

You can see our road heading down the other side.

Big cross on the hillside.

On the outskirts to the city of Shkoder, I had checked out a hardware store that should have what I needed to fix Max's roof vent. Stopped in there and I was the only customer. It was a fairly big store too, so it was kind of surprising. The lady working in there didn't speak any English so I showed her a picture of what I was looking for. Sure enough, she led me to a shelf full of caulking and sealers and I bought a tube of caulking, a calking gun, a pair of cutters to open the caulking, and a proper Philips screwdriver because the tool kit I have is pretty basic and only had a stubby!

I had forgotten just how cheap it is here in Albania. Everything came to 900 lek. But we hadn't been to an ATM yet and didn't have any Albanian currency. I figured it was a big enough store that they might take a credit card, but the lady only shook her head when I produced it. However, I had some euros, and she said that was fine. 900 lek was €7.30 ($10.50 CAD, $8.50 USD) for all of that! It might have been three times that in Canada!

We knew there is a nice campground in Shkoder, but it's fairly pricey and I had found another option that was better for us. A bit of a narrow road to get there, and once we did there was another camper turning itself around at the entrance. He also had German plates and rolled down his window speaking in German because obviously we have German plates too! I explained, and he switched to English, saying that the camping area is a mud pit and they were going to the other place. I walked in to have a look and he was right... the rain over the past few days had made it a real mess.

They would have had no problem getting in and out, but it was really messy.
Max may not have even made it in, and if he did, he may not have made it out!

We made it to the nicer campground and saw the German couple already set up. Nobody else around, but shortly after we arrived, a unit from Sweden showed up, and a van from Belgium and another unit that we didn't see the plate.

Local cat family moved right onto their step.

Max! 

It's a really nice facility, but it's pricey by Albania standards. €17 (24.50 CAD, $19.75 USD) a night plus another €3.50 for electricity, and €3.50 for laundry. (For perspective, that's what we paid for our apartment when we were here in May!) We can do without the electric, but we were in desperate need for laundry. Plus I need to fix the roof vent and they should have a ladder around I can borrow. And, it's the first sunny day we've had for a while so it's the perfect time to do the vent job. We bit the bullet and paid for two nights. 

Supposed to be sunny and 24C (75F) today! Even last night we had the door open until about 9pm! Wonderful!

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Amazon now has its own brand of Televisions. Pretty cheap for a 50" 4k TV!

And in Canada...

8 comments:

  1. Im like you guys, love the mountain twisty roads.

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    1. It's nice to know that we aren't the only ones! We haven't been on a mountain road road yet that hasn't been a scenic one, and they definitely won't let you fall asleep at the wheel.

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  2. Yes, we love the twisty mountain roads too! I zoomed in on some of the photos to check out the houses/ buildings. Of course, being a cat lover, got a kick out of the cat family making themselves at home!❤️

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    1. I still remember the beautiful twisty winding roads in Pennsylvania that we drove on when we left your place last time. They were so beautiful

      The cat family is very friendly, they like hanging around and are very calm and quiet. You would love them Connie! :-)

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  3. Last year I didn't like Albania at first. This year I love Albania immediately :-) I don't know why but it feels safe, clean, and warm. Safe travels. Excited to see more.

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    1. Lol, maybe that's because we haven't shown you pictures of the trash or the bunkers yet! Really, it is a beautiful country and we are so happy to be back here and this time to be able to travel around with Max. :-)

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  4. We enjoy this kind of weather, a little rain, overcast and chilly.

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    1. We don't mind a day of that every once in a while but we would prefer sunshine and blue sky! We don't even mind if it isn't hot as long as it isn't cold. :-)

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