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Saturday, 6 July 2013

Shkodra and beyond.


Having survived the trauma of the road into Albania (although I have to admit when I wasn't being  terrified I quite enjoyed it) we arrived at Lake Shkodra Resort  very late. This is an excellent site with plenty of shade and very good facilities and the owners speak English! Always a bonus for linguistic neanderthals like us. The staff and owners couldn't be more helpful and we have no reservation in recommending this place, right on the beach of the lake, away from the road, it's an ideal spot. We decided this would be a rest day for us to recover a bit. 
There are very few campsites in Albania but as we were about to experience, those we found had excellent facilities. Regrettably we only stayed long enough to recover. We would have liked to have stayed longer but were itching to see the rest of Albania. 

Shkodra


 Horse and cart still have a role here.


 selling fruit from the back door of a garden

There are no rules here! First to the space gets it!

 And that includes pedestrians.



We headed south toward the ancient city of Berat known to Albanians as The City of a Thousand Windows. The roads were........interesting. We did lots of bouncing around, swallowed a great deal of dust and you can't take your eyes off the road for a second. Just when you think you have a good stretch of road a cavernous whole will appear. Add into this mix numerous roadworks where roads are being built or improved and you can understand this isn't exactly relaxing driving. And there is no such thing here as roadworks causing traffic jams. No-one stops for anything, we just drive around the JCB's and other heavy plant. Mr Health and Safety and Mrs Risk Assessment are not known (or welcome) in these parts. This is truly a liberating driving experience. The pub landlord Al Murray is wrong! It's not France that 'has no rules'. It's Albania...and.....it works!
I had found the campsite co-ordinates on the internet so wasn't sure what to expect. I assumed we had gone wrong when we pulled into someones drive off of a dirt road but no - this is Berat Caravan Camping. Loads of space in the rear garden, nicely laid out and immaculate facilities. The Owners were wonderful hosts, speaking a little English and once again, couldn't do enough to make our stay perfect. That even included running out to our pitch when the electricity went off to apologise for losing the free wifi. "It will be back soon". This was another campsite we would have been happy to stay longer at.
The following day we drove to Berat and spent a few hours wondering this beautiful UNESCO World Heritage site.

Berat, city of a thousand windows