Ruth at Silbersee Lake near Dulmen, Germany.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Dulmen, Germany.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Winterswijk, Netherlands.

Monday, April 5, 2021

Fantastic day river rafting in the spectacular Osum Canyon

We had seen pictures of Albania's Osum Canyon online, and it looked really cool. There are several viewpoints along the road, and we were looking forward to heading down there for day trip. There are also a few other things in the area we were also wanting to see.

Then we read that the only way to see the best parts of the canyon is river rafting! Coincidentally, April and May are the best time of year to do the river rafting in Albania, so we looked into it a little further.

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Dentist update, and a walk around Berat

So, I went to my third dental appointment yesterday at noon. I was probably only in the chair for a half an hour or so. He was hoping to be able to finish the job yesterday, but one of the products he used has to set for a minimum of 24 hours, so I now have a fourth appointment, this final one is for Tuesday at noon.

I still can't believe the whole thing is only costing 5,000 lek. ($60 CAD, $48 USD, €40). He has a price list up on the wall, and of course it's all in Albanian, but the cheapest item on the list is 500 lek... 1/10th of what I am paying for my procedure.

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Our travel medical insurance and other things

We had a time change here in Albania a week ago, and for some reason we just haven't been able to adjust. We're normally up between 6:30am and 7:00am every morning, but it was almost 8:00am when we got up Friday morning. Not sure what's going on... might have to start setting the alarm!

I wanted to tell you about our new travel medical insurance. 

For many years, we were self insured. In other words, if we needed to see a doctor, we would have to pay out of pocket. I know, most of you would be horrified. 

Friday, April 2, 2021

Unfortunately, we didn't get too far!

In case you missed yesterday's late in the day post, you can read it here...

Thursday was another beautiful day, so we hopped in the car and did a short trip up into the mountains. Unfortunately, we didn't get too far!

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Dentist update, and the Berat Ethnographic Museum

We published our March expense report earlier today. If you want to have a look, you can view it here... March Expense Report

You may have noticed that there was no expense for the visit to the dentist that I mentioned the other day. Well that's because it hasn't cost us anything ...yet! However, it's an interesting story...

March Expenses

After three very expensive months in a row, March's total doesn't seem that bad. It was still $3,665 CAD ($2,910 USD), which is higher than we'd like, but considering we started the month in Lushoto, Tanzania, and ended it in Berat, Albania we actually did pretty good.

And almost $1,700 was related to travel itself, so just under $2,000 for everything else. A little over budget, but not bad and you'll see why when you read the details below...

The Traveller’s 3-Step Guide To Keeping Busy On Any Adventure

So you’ve planned your next big trip. You’ve put together a jam-packed schedule filled with adventure and excitement, new sights to see and dazzling detours to explore, so staying busy should be easy, right? 

Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.

They say there’s never a dull moment, and though travel is an experience like no other, between those once-in-a-lifetime highlights you’ll remember for the rest of your life, you may occasionally find yourself faced with a little unexpected downtime on the road.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Well that was lucky!

When we flew from Dar es Salaam to Rome, we were forced by Qatar Airways to purchase a flight out of Albania. It's a long story, which you can read here, but essentially it meant that we were out of pocket €120 ($177 CAD, $141 USD) for nothing.

I've registered a formal complaint with Qatar Airways, because I think the manager in charge at the check in desk (not a Qatar Airways employee) was wrong both in his interpretation of the rules, and the way they handled the situation.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Staying in Berat another week

Our host lady Susana doesn't speak any English, so we do most of the communicating of anything important through her son using WhatsApp. 

So when I made the dentist appointment for 11:30am yesterday morning, I let him know because although he had given me the dentist's name and number, I didn't know where the office was. He said "oh, my mother will take you there".

And so that's what happened.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Off to the dentist!

The other day, I noticed a problem with a dental bridge that I have had in mouth since 2009. It was done in Chetumal, Mexico. So it's lasted 12 problem free years, which is better than I would have expected.

But something has happened with one of the anchor teeth. It's not causing me any pain, but I know there is something not right. So I contacted our host here at the Airbnb to see if he could recommend someone here in Berat to have a look at it.

Sunday, March 28, 2021

More great views around Berat, Albania

As was forecast, we woke up to another beautiful blue sky day. And the temperature is also rising as they said it would with an expected high of 18C (65F). That's near perfect hiking weather in our minds so we packed a lunch and set off across the river and up a hill with a different view.

The hill across the river is actually higher than the one that the castle is on.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Beautiful day to visit a castle with a view

Berat Castle isn't really a castle as such. It's more of a fortress... a walled village on top of a hill, and many people still live within the fortress. There's quite a bit to see, and at one time there were over 20 churches up there. There are also quite a few guest houses. Most of the buildings inside the fort were built in the 13th century, although there is evidence of occupation that goes back to 200 BC.

We were surprised that they actually charge a 300 lek ($3.60 CAD. $2.85 USD) per person entrance fee, but it's only applicable if you drive up and enter through the main gate. I had read that if you walk up using a path that the locals use to get from the castle to the city and back, then it's totally free. Of course we were going to hike up anyhow, so that's the route we took!

Friday, March 26, 2021

A beautiful day in Berat, Albania

We had two busy days in a row, so we didn't have anything strenuous planned on Thursday. We relaxed for the morning, and then went for a walk around town.

Our cottage is located right in the center of town, and there are a lot of walks we can do right from town so the rental car might end up parked the entire time we're here. It doesn't seem to make sense to pay for a car rental when the vehicle is just parked, but there is some logic to what we're doing.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Castles, hiking, and gorgeous scenery. What more could you want?

Wednesday was a travel day as we made our way south from Tirana to the city of Berat. It's only about 100 kms (60 miles) if you take the fastest route, but even the fastest route is still about an hour and forty minutes.

But we had some things we wanted to see and do along the way, plus we wanted to take a more scenic route on some less traveled roads.

Great Ocean Road: A fascinating road trip in the world

Great Ocean Road is one of the most famous road trips in the world. The route of 243 kilometres will captivate you with the culmination, of course, of the 12 Apostles. There may be only 8 left to date, but they are just as impressive. Along the way, you will enjoy the Pacific Ocean and surfers trying to tame the huge waves. Also, in the area, you can do activities such as cycling, water sports, horseback riding and a helicopter flight over the area of ​​12 Apostles.

The road trip to Great Ocean Road is unique because the variety of nature is so huge that you can see rainforests, ocean surfers, wildlife and waterfalls all the way to its end. The choices in activities are tremendous and cover all tastes. You can go hiking, mountain biking and see museums or cultural heritage sites. You also can see ostriches, koalas and kangaroos and taste nice seafood and good wine in some of its depots. Great Ocean Road is a 90-minute drive from Melbourne city centre.