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Offline Vaufi

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Albania - Part II
« on: January 06, 2009, 01:40:40 pm »
The first visit to Albania in April 2008 sure made an impression on me ‚?? so much, that I decided to ride down again from Munich in autumn. This time Bodo, who had accompanied me in Southern Africa in 2006 for three months, joined in. Since he is riding the ADV 1150 I decided to borrow the big GS from my son, instead of riding my old snail, the R80GS  ;-)

We took it easy and rode right down from Munich, across the Alps, along the beautiful Croatian coast, through Montenegro.


The coastline of Croatia gets more & more spectacular the further south you go. A few kays before the border to Montenegro is the ancient city of Dubrovnik, dating back to Venetian times.


But in those years the Venetians were busily expanding their colonies, so along the Montenegran bay of Kotor they built another fortified trading post called Kotor.

The city of Kotor:











The next day saw us riding around Lake Skutari, a border lake between Montenegro and Albania.






Although this region is very poor, nothing is too expensive for the dead :o






The villages are picsturesque, but very basic.



In Albania we only stopped in Skod√ęr to get some local dollars from the ATM. Since there are usually no road signs we had to ask for the directions. An elderly man, who had served as a MIG pilot in the Albanian airforce, showed us the way. Immediately another guy pitched up giving us different directions and trying to get us to stay in the hotel. In order to emphasize his importance he whipped out a home-made business card:



We decided to believe the pilot and headed straight for the Albanian Alps. Our goal was the village of Komani below the dam wall of a lake streching for about 100 kays like a fjord into the mountains.

Travelling in these countries don‚??t ever forget your puncture repair set....




That sticks  ;)

Since the roads get worse, the further they are away from the capital of Tirana, a ferry service was installed on this lake ;-) So here we go for a 60 kay trip to the village of Fierze further in the east.




No, this wasn‚??t our ferry yet  :D  But we were trying to imagine how to load the two 1150‚??s onto this small boat  :eek7:

Here‚??s our ferry. Even big trucks maneuvre around in the tiny harbour half as big as my back-yard. But it saves them a lot of time going by ferry instead of using the narrow, winding and pot-hole infested road.










Next to the engines on one side was a tiny tin shanty for Gents


and the other side one for Ladies



In the middle of nowhere you could spot some smallholdings, only accessible across the lake.



After three hrs the ferry neared Fierze and the first signs of civilisation could be seen: a road, a goat-herd


and finally the port of Fierze:


Only when we pause to wonder
do we go beyond the limits of our little lives.
(Rod McKuen)
 

Online IceCreamMan

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Re: Albania - Part II
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2009, 01:48:30 pm »
Beautiful   :thumleft:
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Offline Vaufi

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Re: Albania - Part II
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2009, 01:52:01 pm »
Since Albania is possibly more mountainous than Lesotho the road twisted up and up from the lake over several mountain passes to the town of Kukes, where we stayed for the night. The hotel room for both of us for mere 20 Euros.










For three days we travelled alongside the eastern border, mostly on gravel roads. Traffic was nearly zero.








Now and then there were rivers to ford, but for the GS‚??s no problem.




We weren‚??t always sure whether we still followed the right track, because sometimes there was only a spoor looking more like a donkey cart trail, but finally the piste got wider again and brought us to the next settlement.

Further south the quality of the roads improved and eventually we hit tarmac again. Probably the army was depending on good roads to organise their defence. By the way, that guy isn‚??t wielding a beer bottle  :laughing4:












Finally the last bridge and time to leave Albania.




The easy way home was to take the ferry from northern Greece (Igoumenitsa) up to Venice. Arriving there after a good night‚??s sleep it is a pleasure to see the city of Venice pass by.




Thus the return journey is relaxed. Instead of several days riding you arrive within 24 hrs in northern Italy and whizz through the Dolomites and back to Munich.

Here a short break at the Brennero Pass between Italy and Austria. One of the few alpine huts that can be accessed by bike is the Rifugio Genziano on 1,900m. One of my favourite retreats.










Only when we pause to wonder
do we go beyond the limits of our little lives.
(Rod McKuen)
 

Offline I&horse

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Re: Albania - Part II
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2009, 02:36:42 pm »
SPECTACULAR!!!

Do you have any more photos? Please sir, post some more....
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Offline Vaufi

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Re: Albania - Part II
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2009, 09:58:13 pm »
Thx, mate. No more pix. So nou en dan moet ek ook werk toe gaan...
Only when we pause to wonder
do we go beyond the limits of our little lives.
(Rod McKuen)
 

Offline redtiger

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Re: Albania - Part II
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2009, 10:38:51 pm »
Interesting place and nice pics thanks for posting.
 

Offline Iron Shark

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Re: Albania - Part II
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2009, 12:39:41 am »
Nice RR mate, some stunning pics!!!!   :thumleft:
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Offline letsgofishing

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Re: Albania - Part II
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2009, 08:48:01 am »
Some stunning pics and sights - tx for posting!  :thumleft:
There is nothing you can do about the past and you can't predict the future...all you have is the now...live it to the fullest.

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Offline keithk

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Re: Albania - Part II
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2009, 06:34:25 pm »
Thanks once again for a super RR , great pics. do you have connections in Albania or do you enjoy the country. Thanks :thumleft:
ROUTE DIFFICULTY:1 = tar
2 = good gravel /pillion friendly
3 = interspersed with sand, mud, sand , bush / not pillion friendly
4 = lots of sand, technical riding
5 = expert only (we are not worthy, still to meet one)
 

Offline plonker

Re: Albania - Part II
« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2009, 07:27:10 pm »
Ahah,so there is some good adventure riding to be had in Europe.I thought you only used your GS's on tar.
 

Offline bradleys

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Re: Albania - Part II
« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2009, 09:47:17 am »
Cool pics and report,the scenery is stunning,thanks for sharing :3some:
ROUTE DIFFICULTY
1 = tar
2 = good gravel /pillian friendly
3 = interspersed with sand, mud, sand , bush / not pillian friendly
4 = lots of sand, technical riding 5 = expert only
 

Offline Vaufi

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Re: Albania - Part II
« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2009, 07:44:06 pm »
Ahah,so there is some good adventure riding to be had in Europe.I thought you only used your GS's on tar.

Good adventure riding only to be found in the east (Romania, Bulgaria) or south-east (Macedonia, Albania, partly Greece).

Well, yes, I suppose more than 80% of the european GS riders never ever taste dust  >:D  Meaning there will never be any traffic jams on these pists  :ricky:
Only when we pause to wonder
do we go beyond the limits of our little lives.
(Rod McKuen)
 

Offline Vaufi

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Re: Albania - Part II
« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2009, 07:53:33 pm »
Thanks once again for a super RR , great pics. do you have connections in Albania or do you enjoy the country. Thanks :thumleft:


No connections - just visiting. But the whole region is so beautiful and untouched by tourism, the people are so genuinely friendly, that I'll probably ride down again in autumn.

Central Europe is so densely populated, everything is organised, every dirtroad is closed to he public, camping in the wild is hardly possible...  :deal:  Ugghh  :drif:
Only when we pause to wonder
do we go beyond the limits of our little lives.
(Rod McKuen)
 

Offline BlueBull2007

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Re: Albania - Part II
« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2009, 09:31:59 pm »
Lekker to see your part of the world ou boet.  :thumleft:  I think if we drilled a very deep hole here it would come out in Albania!

In what country are you based btw?
« Last Edit: January 21, 2009, 09:33:41 pm by BlueBull2007 »
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Offline Vaufi

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Re: Albania - Part II
« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2009, 09:28:12 pm »
Yep, let's dig a tunnel. Would save lots of freight costs  :D
How long are you going to stay down there? If time permits, don't miss the chilean side of Patagonia. Simply grand! Esp. from Puerto Montt southwards...

I'm base near Munich in Germany for lots of years now. Hope to visit ZA next year again  :laughing4: Not for the soccer world cup though. Just visiting my family & friends again.

How is the F800 GS performing? I must give her a try this summer. I like the looks and could imagine the suspension is pretty good for off-road riding.
Only when we pause to wonder
do we go beyond the limits of our little lives.
(Rod McKuen)