The city of Korca, Albania (pop 75,000).
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Korca, Albania.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Pogradec, Albania on May 12th!

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Another day in Saranda

Well the skies cleared up a bit and I never did end up getting our tax return done. I'm pretty good about procrastinating on that kind of thing. With regards to taxes, I use the old procrastinator's motto, which is "Why do today what can be put off until tomorrow?" I've got another ten tomorrows left until the April 30th deadline in Canada, and it's not really all that complicated so I have lots of time. As with most years, I'll likely leave it until the last minute! Especially since we have to pay. If we were getting a refund, you can bet I would have filed long ago.

We ended up going out after lunch, just to go for a walk and pick up a few things.

Monday, April 19, 2021

The ruins at the ancient city of Butrint

Butrint is the amazing ancient city ruins site that you have probably never heard of. We are the first to admit that we had never heard of it either, until we started researching what we were going to do with our time here in Albania. Butrint is located in southern Albania near the border of Greece, and across from the Greek island of Corfu.

The original settlement of a Greek colony dates back to approximately 800 BC. Then in 44 AD, Julius Caesar himself visited Butrint and by 48 AD had declared Butrint a Roman colonial city.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

More exploring around Saranda, Albania

It was yet another dull grey day on Saturday, but with no wind to speak of, and a pleasant high of about 18C (65F). But it never did rain, at least not until late evening and by that point it didn't matter.

We set off towards the Greek border with intention of eventually making our way to the Butrint National Park  and the ancient city of Butrint which is a Unesco World Heritage site.

But when we got there, we didn't go in!

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Good news, bad news, and a dull grey day in Saranda, Albania

Well, lets get the bad news out of the way first. 

The entire province of Ontario just extended a four week stay at home order to six weeks, and instituted border controls between the provinces. This will last until May 20th, but it should not surprise anyone if it's extended. So to remove any doubt, the estate auction at Ruth's father's house originally planned for May 30th has been rescheduled to August 21st. 

So, we now have no real reason to come back to Canada until August and have put off any intention of doing so until then. Hopefully some sort of normalcy will have returned to Ontario by August, but I wouldn't bet on it.

Friday, April 16, 2021

Well that was stupid!

We woke up to a beautiful sunny day here in Saranda, Albania, but still a bit cool with a forecast high of 17C (63F). Not quite shorts and t-shirt weather, but it's getting close!

Our first day in town, we like to walk around and get to know the city. So we set off mid morning to see what there is to see.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Himara Castle and the Albanian Riviera

The coast south of the Llogara Pass to the Greek border is known as the Albanian Riviera. It's not very well known outside of Albania, but we think that's starting to change. There's a lot of new construction going on at some of the smaller beach towns along the way, and some new communities are being purposely built.

And no wonder. The scenery is spectacular, and the water is clear and a beautiful shade of blue.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

One month in Albania

Can you believe that we have now been in Albania for a full month? We arrived on March 15th in the capital city of Tirana. We're allowed to stay in Albania for three months, so with one month down already, three months might not be enough! That's okay... we definitely plan on returning with our new motorhome at some point in time.

We've been trying to spend a week at a time at each place we stay. That normally gives us enough time to explore the area with day trips, and when you book a weekly rental through Airbnb you normally get a discount of some kind.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Wow, what a drive!

I had been really looking forward to yesterday's road trip! My research said that highway SH8 in southwestern Albania is one of the world's great scenic coastal drives, and sure enough, it didn't disappoint.

Our next destination is Sarandë, and we head there tomorrow (Wednesday). And we have to take the SH8 to get there. But there are quite a few things to see along the way, so I figured we would do a day trip to around the half way point, and then come back. Then the actual drive itself tomorrow. Then another day trip from Sarandë will take us back the other way for some more exploring. So it's actually going to take three trips on this beautiful highway to see all the things we want to see!

Monday, April 12, 2021

Good news out of Albania yesterday

Yesterday was Sunday, and we had a nice relaxing day.

You could sure tell it was a Sunday in our area. Quite a few more people were out enjoying the patio restaurants and walking and cycling on the various paths that line the waterfront. Traffic was also bumper to bumper at times on the road in front. I can't imagine what it would be like during the summer season.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Kaninë Castle and a walk on the waterfront

Overlooking the city of Vlorë is the remains of Kaninë Castle. While the city is at sea level, the castle is in the mountains just behind the city at an altitude of 380 meters (1,250').

We had thought about walking up there from our apartment. It's only 6 kms (3.7 miles) one way. But it looked like there might be some hiking to do once we got up there, so we decided to drive.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

We are always on the lookout for a great free campsite!

We don't mind traveling the way we are. Renting a car and staying in various Airbnb accommodation works okay for us. But we would rather be in a motorhome! And so we are always in the "motorhome" frame of mind even when we aren't traveling in one!

And because of that, we're always on the lookout for great free campsites. 

Friday, April 9, 2021

A walk around downtown Vlorë, Albania

Beautiful sunny day yesterday here in Vlorë, Albania, but a bit chilly with a high of only 14C (57F). Still, if you were in the sun it was quite pleasant. A warming trend is in the forecast though, with the sunshine maintaining a presence. We'll take it!

Yesterday, our first day in Vlorë, we went for a walk into the downtown section. There is a grocery chain here in Albania called Conad, and they do some of their own store brand gluten free products, including bread. But not all Conad stores stock all the products, so we wanted to see what selection they had at the Conad store here.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Moving day. We are now at the beach city of Vlorë, Albania

We had to be out of our cottage in Berat by 10:00am, and it was exactly 10:00am when we drove the car out of the parking garage.

It was the first rainy, overcast day we've had for a while, although the rain was mostly over by the time we started driving. It's not a long distance from Berat to Vlorë... only about 87 kms (54 miles), but a lot of it was on a slow going road that went through several villages so it took about an hour and forty five minutes. And we weren't in a rush anyhow... our new apartment had a check in time of 1:00pm.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Finally finished at the dentist, and today is moving day!

We've been here in Berat for two weeks now, and we've really enjoyed our stay. In fact, we could easily stay longer! But, we have decided to move on. We are likely to return with our new motorhome one day, and there are still some things we didn't see, so we have a reason to come back.

Yesterday, I had my 4th and final dentist appointment! The job is complete now, and everything seems fine. And how much did it cost?

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Great day exploring in and around Albania's Osum Canyon

We were back to beautiful blue sky weather yesterday. A great day to return to the Osum Canyon so that we could see some of the views from above. There were a few other things we wanted to see as well. It was lots of fun doing our river rafting trip yesterday, but it didn't give us the opportunity to stop and take photos along the way.

It's not that far from Berat to the start of the canyon at the town of Çorovoda... only about 50 kms (30 miles). But it's a twisty curvy road that goes through several villages, so it takes about an hour and a half.