Rows of motorhomes at the dealer where we met Max in Dulmen, Germany.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Dulmen, Germany.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Not sure yet.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Check out our home in the mountains for the next week...

When we first decided to come to Albania, it was party because of the photos I had seen of the Albanian Alps mountain range, and the hiking possibilities I could imagine existed there. But of course when we arrived here in March, there was still too much snow up in those mountains. 

So, we spent the last two months exploring the southern part of the country waiting for the roads to open up in the mountains. But we are here now, and it's everything we imagined it would be!

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Now this is the kind of scenery we love!

Yesterday we took off for a drive up into the Albanian Alps. This northern mountain range stretches into both Montenegro and Kosovo and is also known as the Accursed Mountains. 

We had been told that there might still be snow up there, and some of the roads can be in bad condition so we didn't know exactly how far we would make it. But it turned out we could have gone further... we ran out of time though. Too many beautiful views to stop and admire.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

The top 5 so far, and why

I follow the blog of Johnny Ward at One Step 4 Ward. He has been to every country in the world. Not only the 192 United Nations listed countries, but the ones that really are countries, but not necessarily recognized as such by other countries. That brings the total list up to 215.

He posted a list of all those countries on Facebook the other day, and asked readers how many they had been to, and what their favorites were. Of course that got me thinking about what our top five might be.

Monday, May 24, 2021

It's not every day you have lunch with a MIG jet fighter pilot

Well yesterday was an interesting day!

Remember I mentioned that we had a noise coming from the transmission of our rental car? Well on Friday, we did a switch and they gave us a temporary car until they can figure out what's going on with the other one. So we were talking to the guys at Go Rent Albania about the great time we've been having here, and Zeni suggests that we should have lunch together during our time in Shkodra. Of course we agreed. Then on Saturday, he called and invited us to his family home for lunch! He said we would have a real traditional Albanian experience. And boy, was he right!

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Rozafa Castle in Shkodra, Albania

On Saturday, we walked over and then up to Rozafa Castle, also known as Shkodra Castle. 

The origins of the castle date to the 300 BC, and as with any structure that old, it has been added to and renovated several times over the last 2,400 years! But the thick walls will last for a long time yet.

Saturday, May 22, 2021

A few things to talk about today!

In no particular order of importance though, so we'll start with email notifications. Many of you (almost 400 of you!) are signed up to receive an email notification whenever we make a new post. Unfortunately, the powers that be at Google have decided to discontinue this service as of June, so we have made some changes so that you can continue to receive email notifications. 

I am manually transferring all the old subscriptions to the new service, but just in case, it would be a good idea to do it yourself.

Friday, May 21, 2021

First day in Shkodra

It was a mixed bag of weather on Thursday, our first day in the city of Shkodra. With a population of 135,000 people, Shkodra is the 5th largest city in Albania. Temperature about 20C (68F) but mostly cloudy with possible thunderstorms.

I had contacted the guys at Go Rent Albania about the transmission noise, and we made arrangements to send the car out for service. I followed one of the guys back to the office, and of course now the noise is gone! But they gave us another car and said they would drive the other one for a day and see if the problem returns. 

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Moving day, and possible good news regarding Europe

Let's talk about the possible good news first.

Our maximum three months in Albania will end around June 14th. There is a direct flight from Tirana, Albania to Dortmund, Germany on June 10th, and we want to be on it. That is only three weeks away.

Yesterday, the European Union agreed to increase the number of "safe" countries that can visit the EU as tourists. Under current restrictions, people from only seven countries can enter the EU on holiday, regardless of whether or not they have been vaccinated. This list is expected to be updated by early next week at the latest. Albania's numbers are really low, and we are expecting (hoping?) that Albania will be on that list. 

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Albania continues to impress us...

I messed up our posting schedule, and you may have missed yesterday's post. If so, you can read it here...

Yesterday, we drove up into the mountains in behind Pogradec. We were looking for a way to get to Guri i Kamjes, a neat geological formation that sticks up from the surrounding hills. We could see it from a distance, but weren't sure what roads might take us there, and of course whether or not the roads might be passable without a 4 wheel drive vehicle.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Dos and don’ts of traveling in Thailand

Thailand is one of the greatest countries in the world for travelers. Whether you’re visiting on a luxury budget or backpacking around, you will love what the country has to offer. It’s a super friendly place, it’s relatively safe, and it’s full of amazing experiences for all types of travelers. Here are the dos and don’ts of traveling in Thailand:

More beautiful Lake Ohrid scenery

Perfect day to go out and do some more exploring yesterday, so we set off in the car at around 10:00am, heading north up the western shore of Lake Ohrid. We've been here since last Wednesday, and that was the first time we've used the car since we arrived!

We were headed up to the town of Lin, located on a peninsula that juts out into the lake at the North Macedonia border.

Monday, May 17, 2021

Views of Lake Ohrid, nice hike, and anniversary dinner

We were overdue for some exercise, so we made plans to climb up the hill to Pogradec Castle. From there, there were several choices to continue our hike. 

I did some research before we left. It turns out that some visitors attempt to drive up to the castle. Yes, there is a road, but as with many rural roads in Albania, you are better off if you have a 4 wheel drive. I read stories of people attempting it in a regular car, but once you get to a certain point there is no way to turn around, and if you can't make it, you have to back all the way down.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Saving the best to the last

We have totally been enjoying our time in Albania. 

It's only in hindsight that you can get a clear idea of whether or not a decision has been a good one, but we feel we've made a lot of good decisions through this whole pandemic. Yes, we fully realize that not everybody agrees with the fact that we have continued to travel. But we have zero regrets, and for us it was the right thing to do. Three months in Turkey was fantastic, and there is so much more to see there. Two months in Tanzania was good. For me, it was about a month too long though. It's not an easy country to travel without spending loads of money. And it's too hot and buggy for our liking. 

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Pogradec Beach and Albania's Drilon National Park

On Friday, we walked almost the full length of the waterfront here in Pogradec, all the way to Drilon National Park. It was about 5 kms (3 miles) each way. In fact, only 2 kms further and we would have been at the North Macedonia border crossing.

They're doing a lot of spring clean up work on the beachfront. This is a busy area on hot summer weekends, so starting about a month from now the lakeside beach will be packed.

Friday, May 14, 2021

First day in Pogradec

We like to spend the first day in a new town just wandering around and seeing where things are. Just to kind of get a feel for the place. And, we usually need to pick up some groceries to stock the fridge for the week. Although, it's kind of funny because we end up doing some kind of grocery shopping almost every day!

When we were traveling North America in Sherman, we would typically do a big shop once a week or so. Usually at Walmart, or some other big one stop shop type of place. But here in Albania there are no Walmarts, and very few actually large full service grocery stores. Lots of smaller shops where we get general groceries in one place, meat in another, and fruits and vegetables in another. And when we have had an apartment in town, there has always been a shop within close walking distance.