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

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

Friday, April 30, 2021

April Expenses

In case you missed it, this is the second blog post of the day. You can read the first one here...


Regarding our April Expenses...Yeehaw... it's very rare for us to come in at or under budget. I purposely set our base case budget for the month on the low side so that it gives us a goal to strive towards. In the case of April 2021, our budget was $2,300 CAD ($1,875 USD), and we came in at $2.380 CAD ($1,940 USD). 

Not under budget, but close enough. We'll take it! 

Well that was an adventure!

I'm sure that some people think we have adventures almost every day, but really we are just out seeing what there is to see in the world. However sometimes just going out exploring really does become an adventure... even by our standards.

Yesterday was one of those days! I think we used the phrase "holy crap" a few times!

Thursday, April 29, 2021

A few videos for you today...

There are not many actual hiking trails in this area, but there are a lot of trails made by the goats and sheep! And, there are a lot of 4x4 dirt roads that are not suitable for cars, but are suitable for hiking.

Yesterday, we drove up the paved road that goes near the top of the mountain range in behind us. It's a curvy road with lots of switchbacks and pretty much zero traffic. It gains 1,058 meters (3,500 feet) in 14 kms (8.7miles). 

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

The Annunciation Monastery and Skotini Cave near Vanister, Albania

As beautiful as the view is from our front porch, there's lots to see in this area, so we like to get out every day. Especially with such enjoyable weather. Yesterday got up to about 22C (71F)  and they're calling for 24C (75F) today. Perfect.

We drove about 20 kms (12 miles) to the nearby village of Vanister. Up in the hills behind the village is a16th century monastery with gorgeous views of the valley below. It sounded like a good hike, so we headed there first.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Out for a hike on a beautiful day with gorgeous scenery

We heard back from our host here at the villa, and we are allowed to stay an extra three nights, so now we will be leaving here on Saturday May 1st. We had asked for a second full week, but the Orthodox Easter celebrations are next weekend and they have a family gathering here on Sunday.

So we have booked a spot in Permet for four nights and then will move on to Korce for another full week. Things will start to be warming up in the mountains by then, and we really want to get up to the northern part before our time here is up. So we can't be staying too long in any one place!

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.