Albania…Yes…Not Quite as Planned!

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Mike and David in Albania.

Mike and his Son Demir, finally rose and showered while David loaded his bags in the car. He anticipated spending the day in an air conditioned car to Shkoder, Albania, taking some photos and having fun. Hopefully he would end  the day back at his favorite hotel in Podgorica catching up on his email. He would book reservations in Kosovo and train travel to Greece.  They were off for the day.  Mike stopped in Tuzi for coffee and then announced the rental agency informed him he could not take the car to Albania without a stamp that they could not issue because the car was not insured for out of country.  There was a lot of discussion over options and more of Mike’s friends arrive to offer their take on the possibilities.  Dennis stopped in with his father and uncle and David was beginning to get used to these many changes in plans. We finally decided to drive to the border then get a Taxi to Shkoder and back at the end of the day.

The two lane narrow road was under construction and full of non-stop traffic of large semi trucks and cars going back and forth between the two countries.  It reminded David of the border of Arizona and Mexico in Nogales.  It looked like it too. We arrived at the border in 30 minutes and Mike knew the border guard on the Montenegro side.  We got to Albania and Mike said a friend was on his way to give us a ride to Skoder? The friend turned out to be a Taxi driver who charged David 30Euros for the trip. It took one hour of a rough dirt road under construction.  The driver took us to Rozafa Castle overlooking the city. It has been in existence long before the Romans conquered it in 167BC.  Shkoder is the oldest and most cultural city in Albania.  Over 2000 years old, it is one of the oldest cities in the world.

We explored the remains of the Castle, has some much needed water and returned to the city to meet the Taxi driver at the designated hotel.  It was hot and most businesses closed from 1pm to 5pm due to the heat. We took a bus to the hotel where we found a restaurant open across the street.  We had three pizza’s a beer for breakfast.  We sat on a terrace with 6 Czech backpackers that had been touring Albania for two weeks of camping.  Mike wanted to buy some T-Shirt souvenirs to take back to Tuzi but everything was closed. We had coffee at the Hotel until the Taxi driver arrived and returned us to the border. Mike drove David back to Podgorica where is checked in to his hotel , showered and fell asleep in his AIR CONDITIONED room.

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