View from our hike near Beauregard-Baret, France.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Saint-Côme-et-Maruéjols, France.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Towards Andorra.

Monday, October 3, 2022

We're on holiday for the next two weeks!

Sunday morning, we were up at silly o'clock (3am) for the two and a half hour drive from Tony and Helen's place to London's Gatwick airport in order to make our 9am flight to Tirana, Albania.

What a great day to be leaving England. It rained most of the way to the airport and was pouring down as we got on the plane.

We arrived at the long term parking right at 6am. It was raining as we walked to the bus shelter. The airport was busy, but we were quickly though security and into the airside terminal. One thing we've noticed is that some airports are experimenting with a new type of scanner that means you no longer have to remove laptops or liquids from your bags. It makes the whole procedure much faster when you're processing such a high number of people. 

Our route from London to Tirana, Albania.

Waiting to depart London.

We had bought the easyJet tickets back in July when we made plans with Helen and Tony to share their holiday with them. We paid £63 ($98 CAD, $71 USD) per person for the one way flight. And that included the "speedy boarding" option that also allows you to take a standard carry on bag. 

It was mostly overcast flying over Europe, so unfortunately we didn't get any Switzerland mountain shots. But as we got closer to Albania the skies cleared.

It was a beautiful day as we flew into Albania!

Lake Skadar at the Albania/Montenegro border.

We could clearly see some of the places we went with Max in November 2021.

The Adriatic Sea.

We had departed a half an hour late, but with a strong tailwind the pilot told us we would actually arrive a few minutes ahead of schedule. So we landed just before 1pm local time with a one hour time change between London and Tirana. So we are now six hours ahead of eastern standard time in North America.

Sunshine and blue sky, with a high of around 25C (77F). October in Albania should be absolutely perfect!

Quickly through customs and immigration. It's all automated here now, and you just give your passport a quick scan to get approved. 

First stop was the Vodafone store in the terminal to get an Albanian SIM card. In and out really fast, spending 2,000 lek ($23 CAD, $17 USD) on a tourist SIM card that's valid for 21 days with 35GB of data included. Fantastic. Have I mentioned that we love Albania?

We then met with Lindy from Go Rent Albania to get our car rental. This is the same company we used when we were here for three months in early 2021. Prices have gone up a little, but we won't be complaining at €10 ($13.50 CAD, $9.80 USD) per day!

Making our way around the capital city of Tirana.

Since we've only got two weeks with Helen and Tony, we decided to avoid staying in Tirana. We decided on 4 nights in Pogradec, 6 nights in Gjyrokaster, and 4 nights in Berat. And of course we've got the car so we'll be doing some day trips from all of those locations as well.

Scenery along the way.


Look at that blue sky!

We drove through a mountain pass as we got close to Lake Ohrid and there was a viewpoint on the other side...

Ruth and I had done a hike at this village when we stayed here for a week in May 2021.

On the other side of the lake is North Macedonia.

We splurged a little bit on our apartment. But we're sharing the €50 ($67.50 CAD, $49 USD) per night cost with Helen and Tony so that makes it quite reasonable. The main selling point of this apartment is the beautiful patio overlooking the lake.

Tony, Helen, and Kevin on our patio.

And this is the view from out patio! Looking right.

And straight ahead.

And looking left.

Living room and kitchen.


Bedroom 1.

Bedroom 2.

Most rental accommodation in Albania is geared towards families, so it's difficult (impossible?) to find a place with two queen or even double beds. So Tony and Helen have the master bedroom this time, and Ruth and I will get it at the next place.

Bathroom.

Balcony patio.

Pretty sure that will do for the next four days! We will be spending lots of time on that patio!

There is a Big Market grocery store right next door so we popped in there to get some basic groceries and wine and beer. Then we walked over to an ATM to get some local cash. We knew from past experience that the Credins bank in Albania doesn't charge any extra fees.

Then, it was off to find some dinner!

Because we are located on the waterfront, there are lots of bars, cafes, and restaurants. We didn't have to go far to find something suitable.

We started off with the family salad plate.

And they brought bread, and french fries, and different sauces.

And then they brought the grilled meat platter for 4!

Yikes. That was a lot of food. We were stuffed, and we ended up bringing a little bit home.

Including a liter of red wine, four shots of raki, and a tip, the total bill for the four of us was 5,650 lek ($65 CAD, $47 USD). 

What a great start to our two week vacation!

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Record low deal on the original Echo Dot Smart Speaker

And in Canada...

6 comments:

  1. Welcome back to Albania and that fab apartment. It's such a special place. In early morning you might find fresh fruit and veg sellers across the road, to the right on the lakeside.

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    1. Thank you Vera! You are right the mornings are beautiful out there on the balcony, We made full use of the balcony yesterday until mid afternoon when a cold spell blew in and it got cold, cloudy and windy. We went to a little fresh fruit and veggie shop that we went to when we stayed here a year ago May. The owner was so friendly and the fruit was delicious and cheap so we went to see him again. :-)

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  2. What an amazing apartment and view! That's a great price by almost anyone's standards, and your dinner was an absolute steal. I for one am definitely feeling the envy! Enjoy your holiday!

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    1. The apartment is worth the price just for the view! It was wonderful to wake up and have our drinks and breakfast out there as we talked about we would do for the day.

      Dinner was excellent, we walked away stuff and still had some meat to have as leftovers the next day. The prices are great as long as you go to the local style restaurants rather than the "tourist" style restaurants.

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  3. I had to laugh on the title We're On Holidays. Work life was too much :) Enjoy your vacation.

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    1. We know it sounds funny but to us this is on holiday because we are treating ourselves to stuff, like eating out more than normal and perhaps splurging just a teeny bit more than what we would normally. We will enjoy it for sure! :-)

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