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Old 05-14-2009, 11:18 AM   #12
Andy G OP
2wheeled alpinist
Andy G's Avatar
Joined: Jul 2008
Location: eastern Munich outback, Bavaria, Germany
Oddometer: 551
The way back home: Albania

Finally time to go on with this...

Now we've reached the point where the actual adventure starts...

Leaving the greek mountains, direction to Deverni

nice tracks:

the bridge at Patra connects the Pelepones to the greek mainland:

tollbooth at the end of the bridge:

having some sightseeing... an old castle:

The perfect beach for a short swim and a coffe. Again hardly any people except us. On my Albania map there was a little border crossing thas connects Sagiada Gr with Konispol Al. Very small roads. That's what we want. The first question was if we would find some place to sleep in Sagiada. We didn't have any experience with Al so we wanted to say overnight in Greece and enter Al the next moring. And as usual, at the end of the day there was so much road left and we continued riding in the dark, randomly chased by some wild dogs. When we reached Sagiada there was nothing, everything closed and dark, except one bar where men of the village were watching a match of the European Football Championship. And here Anita did a masterpiece in organisation. After some talk to some people we were sent off to a small shop where there was still some light. There should be a lady who maybe knows somebody who maybe got a place to sleep. We found her, she made a phone call, we were asked to wait outside, sombody should come and pic us up. 15 mins later a guy with a car arrived and said we should follow him. He was leading us round some corners to a small house. It was his parents house, and now that both have died recently he thought about renting it. We got the impression that we were the first ones to try it out... anyway, we got a roof over our heads and were close to the border and even got some food left for a small dinner.

The next moring we started the searching the border crossing. In the whole village there was no sign pointing anywhere. Only one road entering and leaving town. According to my map it was a dead end road just leading to the sea, left side water, right side mountains, some beach bums with old RVs, on the top of the hills the fence marking the border. So we turned around, direction to Igoumenitsa, maybe we didn't see the crossing yesterday in the dark.

At the beginning of the village we finally found a new paved road leading in the desired direction. After a short ride the pavement stopped and we were on a nice gravel road and we could see a village up in the mountains ahead of us. After a few kms the track deteriorated and we recognized that the village was abandond. But the direction was good, so we went on. Till we reached some ruined houses and church, just in front of a cliff. No way to get up there on a motorbike. According to the GPS and the map the border crossing should be right in front of us . And it started to get really hot.

There was no other way than turning around. Down at sea level it was so hot the we had to get out of the jackets, Anita even out of her helmet. We wanted to try the last remaining possibility, the dead end road along the sea. It lead us parallel to the mountains, I could even see Konispol, our target in Al on the GPS, just the mountains in between. And after a short ride we really found a pretty new border crossing...

and entered Albania without any further problems. On the border we met some truck drives, questioning me about Anitas BMW, first sign of beeing in a Muslim country, none of them asked her...
Albania is perfect for travelling on an Enduro. Many roads are unpaved or in construction, narrow and curvy. Here a ferry across a river next to Antipatra / Butrinti

Although the costal road between Sarande and Vlore is a big construction site it is one of the most beautiful roads i ever travelled.

hardly any traffic except us

somewhere we met a guy from GB on a Triumph, and it almost felt like long distance travelling... stopping, chatting, exchangeing info about the best bars and conditions of the road...

stupid tourists not beeing ATGATT...

many animals on the road, cows, donkey, goats. And if you ever wonder where all the old Mercedes have gone, go to Albania. You'll find a living museum of Mercedes Benz history.

Anita made the day for many of the road construction workers... 40+ on my temp.

at that point the road left the cost for a short time

Coffe break in Durres

North of Durres the landscape wasn't that nice like in the south. And because we where on a tight schedule we took the main road via Lezhe to Shkoder. Sometimes it was like a motorway. At the entries there were signs saying no tractors, no bicycles, no horses. The first what we met in the dark was a horse with a trailer, no light, aproaching us on our lane... and on the right there was a lady selling vegetables on the motorway
But the people were very nice. As soon as we stopped to look on the map there was immedeatly somebody around helping us with directions. Close to Sukobin we found a small border crossing to Serbia. Hard to find, no singns and a nice bridge in Shkoder. Next time I would defenitely like to spend more time in Albania.

To be continued with Serbia / Montenegro and Kroatia.

Cheers, Andy
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