ALBANIA PART 1 – ALBANIA HERE WE ARE


Albanian border crossing

Goats are chilling on the cemetery, there’s a horse standing on the soccerfield and two cows are laying without any stress from what kind of vehicle on the middle of the road. We are in Albania.

What? Are you driving through Albania? That’s way to dangerous, right? This is one of the things we heard most when we told people that we would visit Albania to. The turbulant history of this beautiful country didn’t provide a perfect image. Count with that a few decades with most bizar leaders ever excisting on this planet and we understand that this country isn’t very popular for people who were never here. A lot has changed since, Hoxha, the most extreme leader of this country has already died more than 30 years ago.

Albania is Europe, not European Union, they have their own currency, the LEK, but almost everywhere you can pay with euros. A lot of good roads have been built in the last years, but you’ll also find a lot dirt roads, which you can avoid or actually try to drive. The food is delicious and incredible cheap and fresher fruit you’ll not find. The Albanians are super friendly and the landscape is breathtaking.

Albania


Driving the Kelmend Valley

After we passed a small border between Gusinje, Montenegro and Vermosh, Albania, we directly drove on to a dirt road. Nice start, this was the first thing that came up in our minds, but these bad gravel road changed very fast in a newly build asphalt road. Because of the deep gorges and the big stones on the side of the road, we were reminded of not being in western Europe. This should definetley be impossible in “over”regulated western Europe. We drove high up in the mountains and enjoyed the dazzling Albanian views. Sometimes we had to stop for cows who were chilling on the road or for a group of kids who had to walk home to the last village, from school. We were totally surprised when we saw the trailer of a truck been used as a bar. From a distance it looked like an abandoned trailer of fresh German products, but when we came closer we saw an elderly woman serving her guests. Unbelievable. The valleys, the roads, the cows and the children, we enjoyed every second of this ride, there’s so much to see.

Through the Kelmend Valley with her sharp turns, we drove to Lake Shkodra. The lake is divided by Montenegro and Albania and lays for one third in Alabania. The lake is extreme deep and as Paul Wennekes describes in his travel book, “if there actually existst a monster of Lochness than this would be the place to look for it”. The lake is deep enough because of her underground water sources.


Cows are also part of the usual traffic on Albanian roads