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Old 11-08-2013, 12:20 AM   #31
tee bee
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When I stayed at the same Ramizi hotel in 2011,the underground car park was nearly full, of red wine..............
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Old 11-08-2013, 07:43 AM   #32
duibhceK
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Subscribed!

(since Ela's own report isn't really progressing I have to keep busy anyway)
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Old 11-08-2013, 08:04 AM   #33
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Read all the stuff on adv and think 'wish I was in the states' totally forgetting this is more than doable a couple of days ride away
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Old 11-08-2013, 08:49 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Louisdut View Post
And yet another seed has been set. I really need to stop coming to this site

I look forward to following along.
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Old 11-08-2013, 09:11 AM   #35
Louisdut OP
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Day 3 Permet to Berat

After having to miss out on the Ottoman bridge in Greece, I had another one way pointed which also looked like it would take in some great trails to get there

We headed for Kelcyre on tarmac where we stocked up on provisions for the day as there were not going to be any cafes where we were heading! After we were all loaded we turned left on where we thought the tarmac would end as on my paper map it said only 4X4 but it was the best tarmac we had seen within a few miles it stopped and turned into good graded gravel which then turned into rough gravel Just after Ballaban we turned off and climbed on a mix of rough gravel, mud and cobbles



Funny where you see British plated cars



It was not long before we were all ready for a quick break as riding on the cobbled section was hard going and slippery as fook but it did feel like we were riding old Ottoman roads



This road had great views as we were riding on a ridge a lot of the time



Just after this picture we made a wrong turn (well missed a turn off ) as this looked the most used way but ended up right next to someones home and stopped, they did come out and showed us the right way not before giving us lots of grapes they were still trying to load us up with grapes as we waved good bye (Sorry no pictures as the did not want to be photographed and the last thing we wanted to do if offend anyone)



We had two track log to follow now as I had made a track in google earth and DrLC8 had kindly sent me some track logs form his trip many thanks Nic

We could see the bridge coming into sight







Now it was time to sample the grapes



Great bike



Locals using the bridge



We decided the water crossing looked safer





We then climbed back up to join the only 4x4 road not sure if this would of be a camp where prisoners were sent in the past



Quick check of the map and we all agreed Berat looked a great place to head for the night



After we had rejoined the main road to Berat, when I say main road it was a rought gravel track but after the roads we had just rode it seem like a main road we came across a great camper





Where we exchanged routes



So now it was simply follow the "main road" to Berat





We went into the town to find a bed for the night and met a Lorencco who told us he had rooms just on the edge of town so we followed him on his push bike even when he crossed this footbridge



Yep just what you need when caring all your gear lots of steps



The bikes were locked away in his friends yard



It was great to be staying in the old town and we had a good look around as there was lots of history





We had dinner on a second floor restaurant over looking the town



Picture of the old town on our way back to our rooms



This is the route we rode



Cheers for all the kind replies

Louis

Louisdut screwed with this post 11-08-2013 at 09:22 AM
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Old 11-08-2013, 09:51 AM   #36
achesley
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Thanks so very much for the work and time to share this ride report with us. If it were not for people like you, we would never see the great pictures or hear the views your mind conceives about where you're at and what you're doing, Again , thanks and keep it coming.
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Old 11-08-2013, 11:22 AM   #37
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Land of the Eagles



So, the Republic of Albania. Shqipria. Why did the country hold such fascination for us, especially as our previous visit, in 2009, had led us to flee the country for the relative civilisation of Montenegro as fast as we could, dodging the fleets of stolen European registered Mercedes as we went.

The Land of the Eagles was born in the dying throes of the Ottoman Empire, with a declaration of independence in 1912. This was precipitated by an attack on Northern Albania by Montenegro and was necessary to avoid being absorbed by its Balkan neighbours. The conflict soon became the First Balkan War, and Albania's declaration independence, assisted by British support at the Conference of London, was ratified in 1913.

Anarchy immediately followed, and Ahmet Zogu crowned himself King Zog in 1928. In 1939, Albania was annexed by Mussolini, and after WWII, the partisan fighter Enver Hoxha emerged as the leader of the country.

And that was it - Albania became a closed, Communist state, shut off from the Western world until Hoxha's death in 1985, the most secretive and unknown state in Europe.

As late as 1997, economic collapse led to widespread violence in the country, Western embassies were evacuating their nationals by helicopter from Albania to an offshore fleet




And so - that's why we wanted to go. We didn't know what to expect, other than what we'd seen on our brief visit 4 years earlier, and some traveller tales.
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Old 11-08-2013, 12:18 PM   #38
Byron1
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Great stuff. Really looking forward to following you on this one and seeing how it pans out... Keep them coming!
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Old 11-08-2013, 12:18 PM   #39
Berin
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Upaved Roads Galore

During the Communist era, the only cars in the country were run by the State. So, hardly any roads were built, Travel between the Tosk south and Gheg north was hard, and took days. Albania's remote mountains and forests hold some of Europe's last bears, wolves, and lynx.



We planned to travel from the Greek borders, keeping to the mountainous interior and away from the from the busier coastal areas, crossing into Kosovo (only recently recognised as a nation, and not by everybody) and then up through Montenegro, Bosnia, and Croatia before arriving back in Venice, having ridden the length of the Adriatic sea. We had, as usual, a plan in mind, but we were ready to change it as the journey unfolded.



But - Albania is just about to be granted European Union candidate status. In a few short years, the unelected apparatchiks in Brussels will have waved their wand of EU standard homogeneity, and travelling to Albania will be the same as travelling anywhere else in Europe. It will be fun, comfortable, the people will be just as welcoming, but the sense of mystery and the unexpected will be gone.
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Old 11-08-2013, 03:48 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Louisdut View Post
Funny where you see British plated cars


It was probably stolen...

Might even have a body in it...

JG
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Old 11-09-2013, 06:18 AM   #41
Berin
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A remote logging operation, reached by a special truck with caterpillar tracks




We made it up there, with our specially prepared off-road motorcycles. GPS devices, and body armour.

P1000125P1000124

But - what do the locals use for their commute into the forest?




P1000128
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Old 11-11-2013, 12:15 PM   #42
Berin
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Berat

We'd last been to Berat in 2009


and for some reason thought Albania and Berat in particular were terrible. Hotels were few and far between, as were banks and cashpoints. We were nearly run off the road by stolen Mercs and Range Rovers, it was confusing, it was hot. We couldn't find anywhere to stay that didn't look like suspicious.

But, what a change in 2013, whether it was of the country, or of our expectations, I'm not sure. Maybe arriving via unmade roads on our 690's, rather than laden BMW GS's, made the difference.

Here's the same location as the 2009 picture


Suddenly Berat seemed a beautiful Ottoman city. We found lodgings close to the river, right in the heart of the Ottoman quarter, with Lorenco and his family, where we drank home-made raki (it's everywhere) in his sunlight terraced garden. Our bikes were safe, there were sheep grazing down by the river, where a man cast his nets.



And we had a meal overlooking the Ottoman quarter

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Old 11-11-2013, 02:38 PM   #43
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Day 4 Berat to Peshkopi

Martin made a new friend at breakfast



What a great area to have your breakfast, you can just see the barrels of raki



It's only been 3 days and no-one wanted to have their boots in their room



Lorenco and his mum



All lined up ready for the off



We were not going to go back over that bridge but up to the next one



We then rode a mixture of tarmac and good graded gravel roads up to Librazhd where again it was marked on the map "only 4x4" but again it started with good tarmac

You can see the tarmac ending just round the corner



Then it soon turned to a less used track



I bet this old Lady had been working the land most of her life



We were very very close to the Macedonia border







And we set about taking pictures when 2 border guards came walking down this track with fresh mushrooms in their hands



The border guards were very friendly (but no pictures) Jane gave them sweets which went down really well and they told us about the wild life in the area. They seemed really amused when we told them where we were headed over the next few days, something to do with 'very bumpy'!





We carried on the road, this section reminded us of Morocco



What a great fast flowing section





Like all over the world the children heard us coming and came down to see us



In Peshkopi Nicky had spotted the sign to a good hotel and as always the question was where are we going to leave the bikes for the night? No worries here as there was under ground parking



This is where Martin made friends with unlucky French bikers, I'll let Martin explain (no electricity and upsetting the ferry men)



This was our route



Louis

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Old 11-12-2013, 08:22 AM   #44
STOP
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The drink is called Rakia or Rakija
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rakia

Great pics and great tracks

EDIT: Oops, it is called Raki in Albania, sorry
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Old 11-12-2013, 08:56 AM   #45
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Those bridges are really cool especially because of how few tourists have seen them. And they're still being used

Great stuff
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