Albania Here We Come

Arriving at the bus station half an hour early, we decided to have some breakfast, only to discover that the breakfast menu consisted of croissants or nothing. So we were looking forward to the lunch break stop at 12.15pm. Meanwhile we enjoyed the stunning scenery as we passed into Montenegro, but not the border crossing of an hour as we had to get stamped out of Croatia, and queue to get into Montenegro about 50m down the road. 

We also didn't realise that the bus would be stopping at every little village to drop off and pick up passengers. By the time we got to the lunch break, there was no time for lunch, or even a toilet stop. Oh well, thank god for Svanka and those  Croation chocolates. We had another stop at the border into Albania, although the border guard just waved us Aussies through as long lost friends. 

We were warned by our Croation friends that Albania would not be so neat and clean, and right on cue, as the bus driver pulled up just over the border to check tickets (a bit late, I thought), the rubbish was piled up on the side of the road. We had a pit stop about 4pm, supposedly for 5 minutes, which turned into 35 minutes, but at least I had time to go to the toilet, and it gave our fellow travellers time to smoke 5 cigarettes each. Cigarettes are very cheap in the Balkans and the place is one big ashtray. 

We arrived in Tirana only one hour late, but decided to catch a taxi to our apartment. That was a big mistake. It would have been quicker to walk as the traffic is crazy here, not quite as crazy as Kathmandu but crazy all the same. Most of the cars are Mercedes or Audis and if someone wants to park in the middle of a clear way at peak hour, then go right ahead, especially if you have a very expensive luxury vehicle. 

We were quite hungry by the time we reached our destination. I think our apartment was finished earlier that day, well, not quite - there were no hooks or towel racks in the bathroom and the bedside lights consisted of two wires in need of a plug, but it was very shiny and new. Our host gave us a list of restaurants, so obviously we went to the nearest and apart from being happy to see food, we were happy to see prices were about half those in Croatia. The next day we would spend in the city discovering all it has to offer.


Looking out from the bus as we approach Montenegro we see Marmula Island, just off the Montenegran coast.


The southernmost Croation town below as we carry on to Montenegro


Now above the Bay of Kotor which i never knew existed but is spectactularly beautiful


The Bay of Kotor is a popular spot for Cruise ships with incredible scenery, a narrow entrance from the Adriatic and mountains all round. Check it out on a map.


A hand glider pilot getting a particularly good view of the bay and the town of Kotor itself


We are now into the Albanian Alps, which rival the Italian Alps for their rugged nature. Barely a flat piece of ground is to be found.



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