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Thursday, 4 July 2013

Albania

Entering Albania by it's northern border with Montenegro was a happy mistake. It was a quiet border crossing and the border police were very laid back. So much so there was a bed in the office! They were very friendly and a taste of the incredible hospitality we were about to experience.
Following our trusty sat nav we trundled along a dirt road looking for the main road. We got to a junction and the tar road started to the right (but on the map went nowhere) and a rather more challenging track rose up a stiff incline to the left. We followed sat nav to the left and after about 30 mins of rocking and rolling in low ratio gear over a boulder strewn track, started to think this was the wrong route and began to condemn satellite navigation "in the most strongest terms". Well looby was - I was swearing my head off. We are talking extreme 4x4 route here. This couldn't possibly be the road. Then out of nowhere came white van man. There we were, treading lightly over a tough 4x4 track and this guy comes blasting around the bend, in an ordinary van ......and on his mobile phone! He passed in a flash and was gone. Without saying a word between us I think we agreed neither of us had seen that! Then about a quarter of a mile of bouncing around later, we encountered two Mercedes vehicles bouncing towards us and if that weren't bad enough, we were over taken by another van. It was unbelievable. Our vehicle is designed and modified for this type of track but these were standard vehicles travelling at (for the conditions) break-neck speeds. Sorry I keep calling this a track, I mean road, because that is what it is.....this IS the main road. 
This ended up being the most intensive 4x4 driving we have done. It took us 6 hrs to do about 50 kilometres and many sections with shear drops off the side of the road and the road being barely passable for one vehicle! It didn't do a lot or my vertigo I can tell you. This is why there are few photos - I was too busy clinging to life! There will however be some video at some point.



And toward the end of the 'road of death'...





We didn't finish the 'road of death' until very late, fortunately getting off of the really dangerous stuff by dark. But only just. It was a relief to eventually arrive at Shkodar Resort campsite.