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On to Albania

May 16, 2016 1 Comment

Well, we’re in Albania, so let’s talk about it.

We’re camping down the south end, not that far from Greece. We’re beside a river, in limestone/clay country and the last two days have been through limestone mountain ranges and words (for me, an engineer) can’t describe the terrain. It’s amazing. We got some good dash footage and still shots, which one day will sit up in the blog. It’s beautiful.

Albania has come from Yugoslav control in the early ‘90s and the trip looks like its been confusing for them.

The cities are a balls-up. The villages along the B roads are pretty knackered and the people in them looked the same. But if you get out into the farmland, where they are doing what their ancestors have been doing for thousands of years (yes, one place is 2500 years old), you meet the gentle, smiling, inquisitive farmers, who are very happy to share a smile and let you camp. (The dogs will bark till all hours!).

One city, Korce, is a very awkward and unsettling looking place. We got there on a Sunday, looking for an ATM and a lot of shops are boarded up, presumably to repel undesirable activity. There are a lot of young men walking around, I won’t say looking for trouble. (Macedonia has an unemployed rate of 30 percent, so I think it fair to assume it will be similar here). And a beggar nearly did a 10 second 100m to put out his hand and tell us he was hungry and he had five hungry kids at home. This size town had a bad feel and we were glad to exit.

Albania proving to be pretty good!

Albania proving to be pretty good!

One morning at our campsite, a young fellow came up to shake our hand and welcome us to Albania. Awesome, not a word of English was spoken, but we all got the message.

The B roads are interesting, usually failed/broken asphalt on a broken gravel base, with lots of potholes. There was one section of good asphalt a where the grader driver should be sent to the Russian front: lots of bumps and peaks. Gives the driver a false sense of comfort, only to have him spear himself into the rock wall. We saw a classic example, where a BMW driver did just that.

Today, I saw a waterfall, just 5km off our road, so Lynn agreed to go have a look. Well, the excitement began 500m off the road, when we had to cross a suspension bridge, 60m span, 16mm, dia steel hangers 3m centres, supporting 125mm channel on a steel floor. Flimsy as anything you could describe. It said max speed was 5km/h, and 5.5 tonne, max load. We’re 3.1 tonne. I got out, had a look and decided to have a crack. As I drove over, the bridge wheezed and cracked, as I think we had been the heaviest vehicle over in quite some time. Terrible, but over we went. Lynn walked over – no use killing us both at the same time! The hike to the waterfall was impossible without good gear, so I bailed, and drove back over the fecking bridge. No wonder I’m exhausted after a day driving of 200km!

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  1. Judy Veitch says:

    Good grief, Alan, that woman who agreed to be your wife deserves a medal!
    She certainly has faith in your engineering abilities 😀

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