TravellingStrom

Riding to the end of the world, and beyond!

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Albania – Road Rules Never Lived Here!

Posted by TravellingStrom on May 17, 2012

Mayan Prophecy Countdown

So, with all the rain after the past two days, I was really thinking about stopping for a day and waiting it out. Some of the roads I have ridden would have been brilliant in the sun, with I imagine spectacular views, but I saw bugger all! But, even if I did stop, there was nothing here for me in Vlores, without internet I could not even check upcoming weather, so I decided to continue on! If it started to rain again, I would make a beeline for the capital Durres and find a hotel with internet. The family I stayed with were nice, great to have met you but I headed off with cold and overcast skies, my destination is a castle in a town called Berat, only about 100km away.

Well, I got to Berat and it was specifically to find a cache up near a castle, but I must say I chickened out, I needed to get all the way up there where the castle was(of course on a hill top) but when I started up, it turned to cobblestones and a very narrow steep winding road uphill!! After glossing over Mark’s advice re bad drivers, I had the other bit in my mind, slippery cobblestones and what happens with oncoming traffic up or down? I had already been down in this country once, I did not feel like it up there. Anyway, I found the first opportunity to turn around and found a park spot down near the river to think it out. I decided I did not really feel like walking a kilometer uphill and leaving the bike down here, so I took a couple of photos and chuffed off, failed, but rubber side down 🙂

OK, just on the caches here in this country, MOST of them involve hiking and or 4WD vehicles to get to the most desolte places, useless for me, check out this sample cache description:

The cache is located on the south shore of Liqeni i Zi (the Black Lake). The access is possible by foot from Fushe Lure and requst something like 4 hours of walking. From the west it is possible to cross the mountain ridge of Deja mountain from Macukull and walk to the Lake in 6-8 hours. Neither Fushe Lure, neither Macukull have an asphalt route, but some public transport is possible to be found from Burrel, RReshen and Peshkopi. In a good condition the route to lakes is passable by good 4×4 vehicle or by bike. But be sure to have a look at a map (the only one I know is a former Soviet military one) or at Google Eaarth. It is very easy to get lost in this area and very difficult to find where you are.

Yeah right, they only have 10 and the easiest was Berat, so anyway, I headed north now, there was a bike ride about 50km from here through some twisties and I wanted to have a go. 🙂 It was about 50km to the start point and in this country that can take a while, what with the extremely damaged roads and crazy drivers it is a slow ride. Funny note here, there is nowhere to stop for a leak!!! I mean, every corner I go around there are people, and houses, with a bar or cafe every couple of kms, they must have decided if there is a road here, I will build something, and fuel, you should never run out of fuel here there are servos everywhere, but I guess they don’t make a lot of money each, wait until the big boys turn up and consolidate! Anyway, I found the start of the road and it lived up to expectations, great corners and nice views at the top, my camera is crap, I managed to save around 20% of todays photos, even then there are lines through them, but check this out, as I was taking this photo, a mob of sheep ran across the road, silly buggers, but a great view from up top, check out the video.

There was another similar event up around the corner with more sheep, just after I took the following photo of road sellers, all up these hills at every possible location to sit down were people selling stuff, which usually meant cars pulling up in the middle of the road and causing chaos! But the views were great and the roads, in the dry, are a delight 🙂

As I was looking out for a spot to have some lunch I spotted this 4wd with Kangaroos all over it, so I waved them down, but they were not Aussies, he was Italian and she was Croation, but he had been in Australia before, I have no idea of the reason for the logo, maybe he will send me an email with the reason 😉

I stopped at a few places going down the hills, but none served food, only drinks, but as I rode into the next small village I saw and smelt burning meat and grabbed a plate of BBQ pork with bread and a drink, a great stomach filler 🙂 While here I looked at my map and decided to head for the border area up north, I was over the this country and its mad drivers, so after lunch I hit the highway(sic) and barreled it to the town of Shkoder, where there is a nice little road between there and the town of Bar in Montenegro, ready for tomorrow.

But, along the way north, the road users were not finished with me yet, check out these two videos of a beemer driver, I was just moving myself into a position to pass the truck in front of me when I nearly get cleaned up by this arsehole!!! In fact , you can see him coming in my right hand mirror very fast, I was doing the speed limit, but he was not finished there, because he decided to play with me, slowed down and moved in front of me. After a few seconds I backed off, I suddenly remembered that bullet hole in the window yesterday and he was driving a flash new car!!!!!! But, a few kms up the road, the dickhead finds he has picked the wrong turn at a roundabout and bloody reverses out of there! Why not drive around it wanker and take the correct exit next time, I gotta get out of this country before I have a nervous breakdown 🙂 Cover your ears in the second video as I give a spray on my way past 😀

I eventually get to Shkroder around 4pm with plenty of time to find a hotel or something, but it did take a while, there was a road blocked and I went around and around trying to find my way through the detours. I passed a place so many times, I heard this bloke whistle out to me from a cafe, so the next time I went past I stopped and had a coke and a relax and a chat with Kreshnic, he was a nice chap, and he pointed me to the correct direction for a hotel, thanks mate, good luck:) So, I booked into a slightly run down hotel, but it was cheap and although no wifi in the rooms, had it downstairs in the bar area, suits me as I managed to find an Albanian beer, or five or so 🙂

I spent a good few hours down here working hard! All the time I am riding, I have my camera recording, for those moments that happen. But, every day I have many videos to plough through, and edit out the short bits I want to keep and delete the rest, I don’t have enough HDD space to even think about bringing it home. Most is boring stuff anyway and usually when something exciting happens, I stop the recording just after, so it is a simple but time consuming occupation to edit them all. Then if I wish to post them, I need a good connection. Anyway, I got some work done before ordering dinner, but although I did not order any soup, they brought me a chicken broth anyway, gratis, how way cool is the soup dish, it is a bread roll, and like my cousin Paul says “It look like a giant tit!! Nourishment and porn!” Well, it does with the top on, you will have to go to my facebook page to see it with the lid on 😉

My seafood risotto arrive not long after and after that and another beer, I was ready for bed. It has been raining since I got here and did not look good for tomorrow, but if need be I can stay here another day, dry, and maybe look for a camera. I am becoming disillusioned with Olympus, they have not lived up to expectations, this last one is the one I bought in Columbia and is only two years old, but it has not really had that bad a life, wet yes, a few drops yes, but it was designed for that, NOT! We shall see what the morning brings, I may dash across the border into Montenegro in the rain and hole up there for a day 😉

Cheers from Albania
TravellingStrom

2 Responses to “Albania – Road Rules Never Lived Here!”

  1. Another great update Rich,go careful with the dickhead drivers ,i think there in every country
    Will be going to the horizon meet in daybro again next month,it would be good if they can get a skype link to you or something like they did with Daniel,while we are there
    Is your homemade rad grill still holding up,just about to do mine using same method
    Cheers Clive(aka. Pirate 63)

    • Hi Pirate

      Yeah, I am becoming more aware 🙂

      My homemade grill has been on three bikes now and done over 250,000kms, I reckon it was a good idea 🙂

      If they are interested in a Skype link, I can certainly try and be somewhere with a good connection, let me know if they want to

      Cheers Richard

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