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post #3 of (permalink) Old 07-11-2019, 05:18 AM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Florence, Italy
Posts: 327

Durres - Tirana - Thessaloniki. 463km, 6:35hrs

I don't know what time the ferry departed, but they must sped up the crossing overnight because it arrived exactly on time the next morning in Durres.
I passed through Albanian passport control without a hitch, but I was stopped at customs and my car was put up on a ramp where it received a thorough inspection. This took around 40 minutes, during which time I was obliged to purchase Albanian car insurance, - €50 for the one day I would be in the country!!

After leaving the port I drove to Tirana. Wow! The place was completely un-recognizable to me. The last time I was here, Albania was under communist rule & it was the poorest country in Europe. The main differences I noticed this time round were: There were lots of people walking around, Food & clothing were readily available in the shops, and cars had replaced horse & cart as the regular form of transport. - I'm not kidding, horse & cart was the normal way of getting around 30 years ago, - The concept of private car ownership didn't really exist!.

I had a good wander around the centre of Tirana before heading off towards Lake Ohrid, stopping for lunch in Pogradec. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the roads up as far as Pogradec, but then I decided to explore the southern shore of the lake and I soon discovered the shockingly bad road conditions I had been warned about. For the next 55km to the Greek border, I seemed to be transported back to the 'old' Albania that I remembered. Bumpy roads and people travelling on horse & cart were the order of the day, - It was slow progress...

Once across the border, I settled in for an uneventful drive along the motorway to Thessaloniki. There I stayed at the very nice Athlos hotel & had a superb meal in one of the many restaurants in the Aretsou Marina district.

Athlos Hotel.

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Arriving at the harbour in Durres.

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Albanian Insurance Certificate. €50!

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Centre of Tirana.

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Casino in Tirana.

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Looking down at the town of Lin, on Lake Ohrid.


Nick W.
The problem with modern cars? - Too many computers, not enough carburetors...

Last edited by GTV18; 07-11-2019 at 05:48 AM.
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