Saturday, 25 October 2014

Trip to Albania 2014

Albania Monday 15/9/2014. Cordy and Ian

Flight out of East Midlands at 11 o'clock into Roma Ciampino airport.
Arrived early, out of airport after having our bums sniffed by a very big Alsatian dog looking for drug's. Rang best parking to pick us up. They arrived in mins and whisked us of to the parking lot to find our camper all safe and sound. After loading our bags we set of around the north section of the GRA towards Napoli and then onto the A1 . After driving for around an hour we headed off the autostrada to Frosinone to get some food and drink.Needing gas Ian spots a ferritina that might sell gas. No gas but comes back with a hand written map directing us around three islands, come of left to a place called Recas Sud. Having followed the instructions we find the shop and Ian buys two bottles of camping gas, then heading off to find food and drink.Loyal to Lidl we stock up with more drink than food and head back to the A1 destination Cassino. Half an hour later after the sat nav tried to take us under a 3 foot bridge, a bit of stress we find camp site, get set up and head into town. After a bit of a search we find a great pizza restaurant. One large salad, two pizza and a bottle of wine 40 euro.We head back to the camper, open a bottle of white wine, Ian frighten's an English lady in the communal showers and we go to bed. Tomorrow Bari here we come.

Tuesday 16/9/2014

Woke up after not much sleep due to the trains starting outside our door about 4 am! We have a bit of a late start, shower and fill up with water in mosquito alley. Cordy got bitten 5 times!!!!. Then headed off down the autostrader towards Napoli. We missed the turning to cut the corner so headed almost to Napoli before turning left towards Bari. Stopped for a picnic lunch on a pebbled beach in Molfetta just outside Bari.
The wall at the back of the beach we stopped for lunch on

View along the beach in Mofetta

After lunch we headed into Bari to find a place to wash the van. Ian pulled into a place that looked closed in the hope we wouldn't have to clean it but it wasn't. After a super car wash experience we headed into Bari to refuel and stock up on essential ( beer !!!!) Oh and tea!! . by then it was time to head towards the ferry.

We flapped around for about half an hour trying to find the entrance, Ian doing his leaning forward and peering out if the window thing!. He then stopped and asked a police man the way. High light of the day was when the police man told us we had just passed the entrance and would need to turn around on a dual busy dual carriage way.The police man then changed the traffic lights held up the cars in the side lane so we could reverse. Another Police man then walked out into the middle of the dual carriage way and held up his hand to stop the traffic. We turned round and headed back to the ferry entrance with Ian having a huge grin on his face.

On getting to the ferry we remembered our sons experience a month earlier ( long waits, utter confusion, nearly missing ferry, and nobody speaking English) and felt a certain dread, however we booked in without any incidents found the right ferry and followed a man on foot dressed in a beige linen suit and a fag hanging out of his mouth who guided us skilfully onto the ferry up a layer and parked us next to all the Lorries.

After making sure the Camper was secure we headed out of the parking and into the ferry towards reception. A long line of cabin stewards waited at reception and one of them showed us to our cabin. that was great with a shower and double bunks and a huge window to look out of.

We went up on deck and watched them skilfully loading the ferry with endless lorries, wagons, coaches and vans not believing they would fit them all in. The atmosphere was very exciting with lorry drivers strewed on the jetty waiting to get the call to back on. 

Finally on the stroke of 11.30 they slipped the stern lines and motored towards the anchor with a forward man giving instruction to the bridge. We went and had some food at the restaurant and then went back to the cabin for a good night sleep with very calm conditions glad we had paid the extra for a cabin when we saw all the available floor space strewn with people asleep.

Wednesday 17 September and

We awoke around 06.30. The sun was out with a slight haze over the water. We looked out of the window for our first glimpse of Albania. In a short time we were tied up stern to in Durres port. Disembarkation began with all of the foot passengers streaming off the ferry followed by the coaches and then cars and lorries.

View from the ferry arriving into Durres

Foot passengers streaming off the ferry

As we had been one of the first to board we were last off and then through the first customs gate where our documents were checked. Then onto a second customs gate where we were stopped and interrogated by a man from Kent!!!!! Satisfied we were genuine tourists and not just illegally importing our camper van he let us go. We went through another checkpoint where we had to reverse as the lane we went into was too narrow.

Off on our way finally we breathed a sigh of relief only to be overtaken by a mad guy on a scooter shouting avante and leading us to a group of men in the road who directed us into a car park with a Ventouris ferries kiosk. This was to check our insurance. While there we were asked if we wanted any currency. We turned down the offer and headed out onto the road once more into Durres.

We had planned to stop in Durres and explore but it was chaos with nowhere to park and after driving around for half an hour and not finding a parking space we gave up and set off towards Fier.

We stopped in the suburbs of Durres outside a fuel stop and Cordy walked back to a cash point to draw some Lek but discovered that 10000 was only worth around 50 quid so had to walk back to draw a further 30000.

Coming out of Durres we took a wrong turn (the first of many that day) at an island where they were building a new fly over. We were not heading along the coast road as expected so we had to stop and ask the way at a lavezha (CAR WASH). Retracing our steps back to the fly over we got on the right road and reached Fier. Following the signs for Appolonia we went the wrong way again and ended up in the mountains. Carrying on in the hope we would find our way we finally asked for directions and had to go back over all the old ground again. It was a nightmare with donkeys, cows, horses and carts, sheep, children, lorries buses and taxis on narrow potholed track hardly able to be described as roads!!. As we drove back through the small villages and towns that we had passed through earlier we were cheered by the crowds of local people and school children who clearly where very excited to see a camper van once in a day let alone twice in half an hour. When we had nearly reached the main road we again took a wrong turn only to have a group of young men sitting at a cafe wave at us to show us the correct way. It was good fun and everyone was very helpful.

After then missing our turn off to Appolonia again in Levani we had a few harsh words and swapped roles with Cordy taking over the driving and Ian navigating through Fier to finally reach Appolonia. It turned out to be a great place full of antiquity. Settled in prehistory by the stone age people then the bronze age, iron age, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Normans until the river changed its course and it was no longer a port. We had a beer for lunch in the restaurant then did the ruins, the museum and the church that was probably orthodox christian and very old indeed.
The ruins at Appolonia

Inside the church

After Appolania we headed towards Vlore and Orikum aiming to go over the mountains to the Albanian Riviera and find a camp site for the night. Travelling along the coast road just before we would have headed up the Llogara pass we found a lovely Beach bar just outside Orikum with camping and pulled in. This was Camping Dion.

The bar next to the beach at Camping Dion
Mountains at the back of the campsite

Flora our hostess at Camping Dion took 10 euros off us for the night then treated us to Espresso and Raki before we had a lovely swim and a walk before our dinner of fish, potato and salad. A mini bus and a camper full of Polish people arrived and pitched 7 tents making the campsite somewhat busier.
We were seated at a lovely table in their simple bar on the beach. Flora served us the salad first then the potatoes followed by two grilled whole sea bass. We had a jug of white wine with it that was quite drinkable followed by a second and then a third that was compliments of Flora's husband a huge bloke who smoked constantly and seemed very friendly indeed. We practiced our pigeon Albanian on him.  Desert was Honey comb and grapes that we enjoyed. During the meal a number of fishermen turned up and then left soon after. Then to bed to the sound of the Poles singing along to a guitar and the voices of the many Albanians drinking in the bar. We both slept well waking up to another day in paradise to swim and drink coffee before heading off South..........

Thursday 18th Sept 2014

We set off up the Llogara pass winding our way up through the forest with endless small road side stalls selling honey. Half way up we passed lamb spit roast restaurants and camping. Climbing ever higher we finally reached the top coming out of the trees and onto an amazing road that wound its way down the side of the mountain. From a view point near the top we could see this beautiful beach the sea was azure and we could see to the bottom. We stopped took some pictures and Ian drove us down the other side.
View from the top of the Llogora Pass

We reached the bottom passing a police checkpoint and headed down a newly tarmacked road to the beautiful sea. There were still work men in the road cementing the road drainage. We passed them and carefully parked on the sand on a hard looking peace of ground ( very mindful that we didn't want to get stuck). Heaven can only describe this beach. The sea was crystal clear and warm with only a few other people there and a couple of leanto beach bars.
The drive down the mountains in the background

This is the sign showing how it will look in the future

We packed some food in a rucksack and headed to the sea. We ate our cheese and bread, drank our beer and swam in the warm clear waters. We walked along the sea to a headland and swam again in the rocks. On the way back to the van we went past some Polish people that we had seen earlier stuck deep in the sand!!!! Ian went over to help them taking with him the two strips of carpet we had been lugging around all year. To no avail after a lot of shoving they were still stuck. We could help no more. His friend who was there drilling exploratory holes for the development that was planned said he would get his lorry to pull the camper out in two hours so we left him with our carpet and set off. This will be a place like Benidorm one day. We feel so privileged to have enjoyed it now before it gets developed.

Still travelling South we passed a few good places to camp, filled up with fuel but decided on heading further to Bunec. We turned off at a sign for camping and drove down the steepest road with potholes and ended up on a military beach with bunkers and Naval moorings, not very attractive. Not to be put off we walked round to the beach where several other smaller campers and tents had set up home. the bar was full of rubbish and dogs. On asking if food was available they seemed a bit put out and unsure what was going on so we left and headed back on ourselves up the coast to Borsh.

Driving through olive trees to the beach we found another Polish camper parked up on a hard standing that had once been a beach cafe. We parked next to them around 50 meters away on another hard standing, lit the b-b-q and had a swim in the sea.

'Our campsite' at Borsh
Sausages wine and wild dogs (Ian very fretful over the dogs! not wanting to share his sausages!!!!), skinny dip any one ???? heaven who could ask for more I LOVE ALBANIA XXXXXX
The powered paragliding team

Forgot to mention the dozen or so motorized paragliders that skimmed the sea a couple of yards from us and disappeared down to the far end of the beach waving at us enthusiastically as they went by.

Friday 19 September

Awoke to the sound of the sea. Small wavelets hitting the pebbled beach next to us. Heard a loud shouting noise outside and on looking out of the window saw a man with a stick driving a sow and three piglets along the road.

We went for a swim in the sea that sloped swiftly giving really deep water close in. It was great. Completely clear warm water great way to start the day

Then we packed up and set off South again. More lovely villages and beaches onward to Sarande. (There's an umlaut on the e making it sound like the u in hurt by the way).
Sarande was a big town on a lovely bay with small ferries to Corfu. Corfu looked almost near enough to swim to. We were on Greek mobile so turned the data roaming on again.
Sarande Harbour

Parked up and went to look for a fishing tackle shop. Bought T shirts with Albania on for Ollie and Joe. Found a tackle shop in the end but disappointed in the selection of rods so didn't buy. Went into a wonderful fruit market. Fish sellers on the pavement selling all sorts of fish, some pickled in jars some dried and piles of fresh little fish in ice. There was lots of building and energy here!

Stopped for a drink by the fishing harbour and were buzzed again by the Paragliders the same ones we had seen the night before. Cordy wants one!! Went shopping but could not get meat and wine was very basic so brought some bread and sausages and went back to camper to continue south
 The drive from Sarande to Butrint was beautiful

Driving onto Ksamil another lovely spot but quite claustrophobic so we didn't stop but continued South with the realization that we could just drift into Greece if we wanted to. Made a resolution to return. I want an ex German military vehicle with amphibious capabilities!

Arrived at Butrint but couldn't face walking round more ruins so just parked up for the ancient chain ferry that seemed lashed together like something that would have carried the ancient Greeks across.
A small boy tried to sell us bracelets. He was 11 he said. He told us his story that included both his parents being dead, that he slept on the ground by the ferry, that he had not sold a bracelet for over a week and that he wanted bonbons! I gave him 100 Lec. He joined us on the ferry and went to the shop on the other side to by a Fanta and crisps v. happy boy!!! The ferry was quite a leap of faith in the camper. They seemed to know what they were doing though! It was 10 Euro!!!!!

 Boy on Ferry selling his goods
 On the Ferry

We drove off the ferry and around the corner to find...............
The same Para-gilding group getting ready to head into the sky.Are they  following us down the coast we took a picture and left them ( wonder if we will see them again!!!!)

We drove nearly to the to the Greek border passing through Xarre. Here we turned North up the SH 98 towards Sarande and beyond stopping for some lunch over looking Butrint.
 Our lunch stop of boiled eggs, bread and a beer

Just before Sarande we saw Tortoises in the road. Cordy videoed one of them and we nearly caused an accident by stopping in the middle of the road to do it.

Turning onto the SH 99 we went through Mesopotam following a lovely river that turned out to be flowing from a hydro electric plant. We were heading for Syri i Kalter translated to Blue eye spring. Only 200 Lec to get in and onto a small track. Coming round a corner we met a coach and backing up Ian managed to damage the plastic trim on the back of the camper. DAMN!!!

Carrying on we ended up at a car park just next to the Blue Eye. We swim, meeting some English people who were on a day coach trip from Corfu. We exchanged pleasantries and they said to avoid North West Corfu as it was full of larger louts. We told them about our trip and they seemed enthusiastic thinking they may hire a camper when they get home to UK. They kindly took some photos of us.
 Swimming in Blue eye
 Our table over the river

When I say swim. It was a fifty meter deep hole that the water was welling up from. It was amazing. Completely amazing and very cold! They have yet to dive down to the bottom of it.
We asked if we could camp and eat at the nearby restaurant and booked for 7.00 pm. They were very helpful and nice.

Now sitting doing this in peace next to the river with Muse playing on the new speaker set. Cordy just telling me how Albanian body language works. I'll try it out later maybe..............

Back to our meal... taken to sit by the raging river by our host Kasim (who chain smokes) past a young lady cooking. We sat down only two other diners present in an unforgettable restaurant built out over the river on metal rafters with parts missing obviously swept away at an earlier time. Hope it holds. Ian had his heart set on lamb and this was the place to have it judging from the stuffed lamb we saw from the restaurant balcony. It took some talking to to convince Ian that we didn't need more than a kilo of lamb between us.
We ordered mixed salad, baked three cheese, chips and the kilo of spit roast lamp. I thought that the mist was rising from the river until Ian pointed out that it was our dinner cooking and he was correct. Dinner arrived with a litre of Albanian wine that Kasim told us was grown by his family he also said the lamb was his family's from up in the hills. The lamb was amazing as was the cheese salad and home made chips and wine and water that he dragged up from the stream.
Finished we asked Kasim for the bill 3700 Lek we gave him 4000. He seemed very pleased and then went on to tell us that we would be perfectly safe as he would be at the restaurant all night and so would his guard dog Fabio! We left and as we were leaving saw fabio the rottweiler dog chained to a balcony snarling and barking at us. Kasim told us not to set a foot out of the camper until 5 oclock in the morning until Fabio was put back on his leash and this we intended to do. I was going to ask if we could use the restaurant toilets in the night but decided on a meeting with Fabio and thought better of it.

Saturday 20/09/2014

Woke up early,packed and got ready to leave Blue Eye Spring but first brought some red and white wine in a plastic containers from Kasim for our Journey. Leaving we turned left on to the SH99 then SH78 and 4 towards Gjirokastra where Cordy after research the previous evening had ear marked a walk up to the castle and a walk round a typical Gjirokastra 19th century Albanian house. On arriving at gj (shorten) we tried to park in the square by the hotel but got waved to turn round and park further down the hill by the police. We followed their instructions and turned and parked with the buses on the side of the road and walked back up into the town. After a few false starts up dead ends we found our way to the castle and explored it.
 Gjirokastra and castle
 American airplane forced to make an emergency landing during the Cold war

Clock tower built by Ali Pasha

 Lots of machine guns and weapons of mass destruction!!

We paid an extra 200 Lek and toured the prison. This was quite chilling to think that in our life time someone would have been imprisoned in here just for wearing a cross under their clothes or anything out of the ordinary.
 Propaganda pictures and statues depicting the fight for independence and war (They like to depict women as strong leading into battle)
Never seen a room with so many guns in it
 Inside the prison cells and corridors

 Statue of two women hung ( it had the rope and clothes they were wearing at their death below in a display cabenet!)

We passed these quickly and moved onto the museum that was very interesting charting the history of Albania. We read about Ali Pasha of Tapelena who was the Governer of the area of the Ottoman empire and how the Sultan in Turkey ordered his execution and was brought his head. Ali Pasha had made many changes to the castle including an aqueduct to bring water from a near by mountain source.

Moving forward many years it described what it would have been like living under a communist dictator Enva Hoxha born in gj in 1908 he was in power until 1985. To think this was the year that Cordy left school.The seven prison windows over looking the town from the castle were the torture block and people living in gj lived in fear of being sent to these seven windows. Every day the guards would hit the window bars to check they were secure and the clanging sounds would be heard to remind the people of gj to watch out they didn't end up in there.

On a lighter note outside in the castle square stands an american training plane that had to make a forced landing in Tirane. The Albanians seized the plane and declared that they had captured a spy plane and much propaganda followed. One way the Mr Hoxha kept his people in check was to tell them that the outside world was a huge threat and this supposed spy plane did the trick.

Before we left the castle, guess who showed up in the sky...........

Yes we meet the Para-Gilding team again!!!!

We then went and visited the Gjirokastra 19th century Albanian house owned by a very old gk family This was fantastic and we had our own personal guide, the owner of the house who we had seen pictured earlier in the castle museum as his family owning the house since it was built. The house was very big with separate rooms that the family would spend time in. A cool room and living area for the summer then a cold room with big fires for the winter. It also had a special room that was kept just for when guests visited that was decorated with fine wood carvings. It had many hiding areas on each floor behind walls and under the stairs should the need arise!. On the bottom floor the owner showed us a room that went into the ground this was used as a fridge, it was very cold in there. At the entrance it had slits in the walls to allow unwanted visitors to be dispatched!

 Drawing of how the house would have been

We then walked back into town Cordy brought a tortoise Christmas decoration and we had lunch of salad, rice balls, lamb quofta and korca larger with glasses to match all for 950 lek about a fiver. Time to make a move, what a great place with such history.

Leaving gk towards Tepelene on the SH4 turning of about 5k out of Tepelene on the SH75 and over a rickety steel bridge. We knew the road would not be good but I don't think either of us were prepared for 3 hours of bone shaking driving. We followed the river up and up into the mountains towards a place called Permet to our destination at the trout farm camping. Although the driving was hard going the mountains and river and scenery where absolutely amazing.

 The Bridge
 Amazing scenery

We passed people on mules carry milk churns after milking the sheep and also saw a man with a goat hung up by its feet being butchered. The water in the river was a cloudy blue and we followed it for most of the journey finally arriving in Farma Sotira resort trout farm and camping and parked by some 4x4 vehicles with tents attatched, a lot cooler than our set up.

After we had parked and filled up with water up pulled a 4x4 truck with a demountable camper over the truck cab. We both look on in awe and decide that this is the next thing for us, especially after we have bounced our way around Albania in our rather large and cumbersome camper made for trips to the Costas and not the rough roads of Albania. We book a table in the restaurant for our usual 7 o'clock time shower and open a bottle of fizz really roughing it!!!!!!.

 In the Bar

At 7 o'clock we go to bar to find it unmanned with various people strewn about the place along with a lot of washing up. Our host appeared with some fish and after serving invited us to sit at a table in the bar where a tv was entertaining a young girl.
We asked for fish with salad and chips. He offered red wine and served it along with some water. It was a homemade wine with a pectin haze resembling our own homemade plum wine. I drank a glass, Cordy poured her's back and we went onto beer (korca). He served the potato and salad then the fish with some pickled cabbage. A couple with kids arrived in the bar and another local child turned up along with a shaggy dog who sat under our table.
Everything was good and we had a lovely meal. It was 2000 lec around 12 pounds . The camping was 10 euro. How reasonable, they are underselling themselves I think.

The horses bickering next to the campsite

21/9/2014 Sunday
Woke up to the sound of the water running through the trout farm. After a late start we sat outside the camper and watched two stallions and their family fighting among themselves kicking and biting each other and making a lot of noise and bother. We packed up and left heading back onto the steep mountain road with Cordy driving again heading towards the highest town in Albania called Erseka. Driving through it seemed a very clean place and stands at 1223 meters above sea level. We stopped for fuel and then headed off towards Korca with an idea of stopping at the Korca lager brewery. The road twisted and turned over high mountain passes up and down we went every plateau we reached thinking the road would level out and then finding ourselves heading up and up again. the scenery like yesterday was stunning if a little less vegetation. We passed a few small villages and arrived at Korca a very busy town that looked a bit like a building site. After bumping our way along the town's pot holes we found the brewery only to find it was closed as were all the other museums much to Ian's delight ( its Sunday duhhhhhhh) we parked just down from the entrance to the brewery and walked back into the main town square with a map with numbers on it obviously pointing to points of interest and a board next to it clearly giving great details about the points of interest. The only thing it lacked was the board with the names of the places needed to have numbers on them to tally with the map!!!! we spent about an hour walking around the streets and ended up in Bar Panda right outside where we had parked the camper. Well we had wanted to go straight in there but thought we needed to have a walk first. We sat down ordered two pints of larger and a salad chips and lamb steak. It was lovely as always.

We ate up and headed off with Ian now driving heading towards Pogradeci on the shore of lake Ohrid. This is a huge lake on the border with Macedonia and Albania that has a special sort of trout in it not found elsewhere.

The drive up to Pogradeci was very quick on a well made road and we made good time passing endless veg sellers along the road side. On arriving at Pogradeci we decided to head towards the border with Macedonia and to visit a spring in Tushemisht that we had read about in the Albania guide.

We parked when we got there and walked in the wet towards the entrance to what we thought was the spring. It tuned out to be some swamp type place with a load of restaurants built out of platforms, we couldn't find the spring so headed back to the camper and drove to the border to take a photo after doing a three point turn in the road by the border.

The Boarder Macedonia
Heading back through Pogradeci we had to double back to avoid the one way system. This is a lively big lakeside town with lots of hustle and bustle and the by now obligatory police checkpoints. We headed out of town to find a camping place alongside the lake Ohrid. The road was bad. Still under construction with very little to tell where the road rollers were meant to be and where the traffic could go. A man with a little flag was all there was to guide us.

It all seemed to work though with everyone doing their best to be helpful and courteous to one another under the circumstances!

We went passed the first campsite that looked ok but we were convinced we could do better. The second campsite was not as good so we carried on. We noticed that there was a lot of demolition going on with groups of men chipping away at piles of rubble that had once been hotels and restaurants. We carried on becoming increasingly aware that we would either need to find somewhere quick, turn back or head up into the mountains. Just as we were running out of lake we saw what we though was a campsite in the distance down a track. We pulled off and asked an onion seller if there was camping to which he replied Neli. Not knowing what he meant we went down the track to find a small campsite but with a demolished toilet block and no sign of anyone. We carried on and were beckoned to by a man in charge of the demolishing of a hotel. He wanted us to camp on the demolition site.

We carried on and just around the corner came to the Neli Resort Hotel. We went into reception and they said we could stop on their car park. We booked a table for 7 and then had a little explore. It was lovey just on the beach but still with signs of destruction and demolition all around. 

Can't work out what is going on?????Maybe there has been an earthquake???  Went to eat at 7 and ordered salad olives and koran trout that is only present in lake Orhid.Tried to find out why all the buildings are being pulled down using Google translate with the waiter and found out that they didn't have planning permission so the government made them take them all down. After eating the lovely fish spending a little time chatting to Sam on facebook  (first wifi for a week) we ordered coffee and raki and then went to bed very good night xx cordy got upset belly again xxx

22/09/2014 Monday

After we had gone to bed the dogs started barking then there was an amorous couple parked by us for half an hour that kept the dogs barking even more. After they had left we settled down only to find another car arrive drive very slowly passed us and left. Ian was looking out of the window in a very anxious manner until finally falling asleep. 3.30am and the rain started on the roof of the camper and dogs started barking again finally back to sleep for a late start at 8 oclock. Deciding not to go for breakfast or a swim as it was raining we set of with Cordy driving.

This was to be the start of a very long drive. we hit the road at 9.30 and headed up the Qafe Thane pass steep and bending with driving rain.

The rain stopped and we headed towards Elbasan driving through and onwards to Tirane. Ian had promised an autostarder and after two hours of mountain passes Cordy was up for a bit of easy driving. The autosrader started just outside Elbasan and lasted for a glorious 10km. We sped along at 70k, we even got into 6th gear. Our joy was soon ended when it stopped still under construction and headed up the mountain pass on  the old road which after the rain had been washed away with huge boulders in our path. About 5 k out of Tirane the autostrader started again yes........ bliss along we buzzed until it stopped abruptly did a u turn on a single lumpy track into the center of  Tirane ( why is it always Cordy that ends up driving through the capitals!!!!!). This was a bit like the M1 just coming to an end in the center of London with a hairpin bend onto a single track road with passing places!

 The island Ian got told off for taking a picture of a traffic Police man LOL!!

 Cordy looking abit stressed in the Traffic (a brave smile!)

Everyone seemed to just get on with it with a smile on their faces! It was great! Tirane was hard work with lots of traffic merging and bleeping horns, Cordy drove like a hero! !!! Ian got told off by the local police for taking a picture of them!!! he he he such fun. Out of Tirane and Cordy had been driving for 4 hours tired and ready to stop. The look out was for a lavezah and a restaurant. We passed lots but Cordy failed to pull in until finally with tempers a little frayed Ian took the wheel steering us into a hand carwash and bar. 10 euro to wash the van and 10 euro for ham chips and salad washed down with 2 litres of larger, heaven, it was great to sit and watch the van being washed for a change. Even saw a tortoise wandering up the road and took a pic. The locals thought we had lost the plot, come on guys !! dont get this in England !. V

an washed and on our way.
Car wash bar

We headed towards lake Shkoder and the border with Montenegro seeing these fishing nets over the river.

A fond farewell Albania we love you and will be back xxxx

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