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 26, 2021

A beautiful day to visit Gjirokaster Castle

The car fired right up, so it seems that my battery terminal repair fixed the problem. We tried to get an early start, but it was still almost 10am by the time we got on the road. It's only a 10 kms (6 mile) drive, and we got ourselves parked up at the lower section of Gjirokaster. The city was already pretty busy on a Sunday morning with a lot of people out enjoying the beautiful day, after having had three days without sunshine.

We notice that people in Albania tend to do their business and running around in the morning. Afternoons are quite a bit quieter.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

They say these things come in threes

Yesterday was day three of clouds and drizzle, but we needed to go into the small city of Gjirokastër (pop 20,000) to get some supplies. We also looked up a couple of possible places to have lunch while we were in town.

Ruth went to feed the cats, and she tried to unlock the front door, but it wouldn't unlock. So I went and tried, and sure enough it would not. The key would go in and turn a quarter each way, but it would not budge the lock. To the point where I was afraid of bending the key. 

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Our Oboz hiking boots, and the local electricity

And no, the two don't have anything to do with each other. They are just a couple of things we wanted to talk about today.

First, the electricity.

Albania suffers from an old electrical infrastructure that is mostly based on hydroelectricity. I read that the amount of electricity available fluctuates depending on rainfall, and they often switch power sources from one plant to another throughout the year, and throughout the country on a regular basis.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Not every day you come across a pile of human bones!

Well, the title might give the impression that we had interesting day. And that assumption would indeed be correct!

Starting yesterday, we're in for some cloud and drizzle lasting until Saturday night. And then the long term forecast for all of next week is supposed to be beautiful. So that's something to look forward to.

In the meantime, we don't let a little bit of rain stop us from getting outside. So we set off to explore the local area by foot, without any kind of a plan.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Sometimes, everything just comes together

What a great day we had. It started off good, and just continued to get better. And it ended up fantastic!

Wednesday was moving day, and we had the car packed up and ready to go by the 11:00am check out time. We weren't driving a long distance, a total of about 65 kms (40 miles), but there were a couple of stops we wanted to make along the way and it was almost all on secondary roads so it's pretty slow going.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Nice day trip up Albania's Riviera Coast

When we drove south from Vlorë to Sarandë  a week ago, we knew there were a lot of things to see along the way. In fact if we were in our motorhome it would probably take us two weeks or more to travel that section of coastline! And we simply didn't have time to stop on see everything on that drive, so we planned a day trip back up that way on Tuesday.

And we still didn't see everything that there is to see, so we'll have to stop back in this area when we do actually return with our motorhome. Besides, we keep finding great boondocking spots that would be worth a return visit.

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.