Mini Balkan road trip – Part 4

After leaving amazing Montenegro and crossing another border control we have entered – Albania (country nr 6). This is one of rare European countries whose language neither me nor my husband speak. Since we wanted to explore countryside, before entering Albania we decided to learn some basics of Albanian. Here are some of the phrases we found useful and learned before crossing the border;)

English                                            Albanian

Yes                                                    Po

No                                                     Jo

Thank You                                      Faleminderit

You’re welcome                             Ju lutem

Do you speak English?                 Flisni Anglisht?

How much is it?                            Sa kushton?

Beef                                                  Mish lope

Chicken                                           Mish pule

Fish                                                  Peshk

Vegetables                                      Perime

Where?                                             Lu?

Left                                                   Majtas

Right                                                Djahtas

And that’s about it;) With the exception that the first phrase we remember was Naten e Mire (goodnight) cause it consists of names of our kids;) It was enough to fully enjoy magical Albania!

Our first destination in Albania was Theth – since we did not have any Albanian money (lek) we decided to go to the closest town to ATM to withdraw some cash, since we doubted there would be any ATM in Theth. That was indeed a smart decision!:)

We didn’t book any accommodation for our trip in advance, since we were going end of October, beginning of November we were sure there would be no issues without finding something on the site.

Why did we choose Theth as our first destination in Albania and how to get there?

Theth is a small village in Skhoder county, located in the mountains in north of Albania. It is extremely picturesque and a must see for all nature lovers. Theth is located in the center of Theth natural park. Local population moved to Theth some 400 years ago in order to preserve Christian traditions. In order to reach it you should have a 4×4 car since most of the road has no asphalt or take a beautiful all day hike:) My better half agrees with me that next James Bond should definitely be filmed in Albania, we already have ideas for scenario;)

In order to reach it by car we turned in Koplik (where we had short ATM break) to the road SH21 which leads to Theth. On the road to Theth you will meet all the possible animals on the road, we have encountered donkeys, goats, pigs, cows and turkeys;) You will have to drive slow but you will enjoy every second of it, sometimes doubting are you in a dream or reality?  From Koplik you need 2 hours to reach Theth. First 30 – 45 minutes there is asphalt – and then suddenly there is no road at all;) Unless you have 4×4 better do not go there with car, you ll destroy it most probably. We had lots of luck, already it was getting dark and some guy saw on our faces that we look lost in-car cause according to our map we should already be in Theth. He spoke some English, asked as do we have accommodation we said no, he asked do we want to stay in his house, he has some rooms and his wife can cook for us. Ofcourse we said yes! He called his son to come to lead us to their home, and for the next 45 minutes we were in the car more jumping then really driving on the road – reaching the house. He called immediately his wife who was waiting for us with 3 course dinner – tomato soup, delicious lamb, salat and dessert 😀 Later we found out that they have also Airbnb so in case you plan to go to Theth we recommend you to stay at family Pashko and amazing Vera as host. We paid 14 euros in total for amazing studio (room with bathroom), huge dinner, huge breakfast and a local guide who was showing us the next day beauties of Theth and hiking together with us to the waterfall and buying as later tea at the local bar. In case you decide to go to Theth like us out of season take care – in November only 15 families stay here and you can not reach it from Koplik, we were lucky to be there on the last day the road was open. After mid November till May only very bad road is open with which you need 6 hours to reach Koplik, since in Theth in winter can be up to 6 meters of snow.

More about our Albanian adventures in the next post:D

 

 

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Mini Balkan road trip – Part 3

After waking up in magical Kotor we went for a walk around the old town. At first sight it looks like the city is ruled by cats ;). Cats are literally everywhere around the old town and there are some spots where you can spot more than 30 of them. But now back to Kotor itself, after amazing breakfast in city bakery (which we paid for both of us only 2 euros in total!) we went to search for a walk around the city walls. After we climbed up we realised it costs 8 euros to make the full walk, since we did not have time (guess you would need 2 hours just for the full circle) we decided to drop it for this time and do it when we ll be next time in Kotor, and for sure we will come back. Just get lost around the narrow streets in the old town and feel the magic of the place, honestly I felt much more magic in Kotor than in Dubrovnik, maybe due to lack of crowds;) Go to the old market spot and just look around, as memory we bought a medieval map of Kotor bay. Visit some of the Kotor amazing museums (either Cat museum or Maritime museum). Great tip for Kotor – you can partially walk on city walls for free, maybe not completely legally but no-one complained we went through their magnificent gardens, guess that’s the advantage of travelling in low season. After 2 hours of amazing Kotor it was time to slowly go further.

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Our next stop was Budva, we had an amazing brunch at restaurant Vista Vidikovac  with the view of old town and the sea all around you. Extremely romantic spot, slightly expensive for Montenegro itself but compared to Austria extremely cheap. For 5 Euros you get brunch composed of 3 eggs, bread, amazing Njeguski cheese and Njeguski jamon – which I could compare without doubt to Jamon Iberico of best quality. Also deserts are extremely tasty,,,mmmm I still remember taste of them. Our observation it is much cheaper than Dubrovnik with much higher quality of service for the price. They opened restaurant just for us with smiles on their face, on contrary to Dubrovnik where people were annoyed by us asking are they still open, staff were not annoyed we set super far from the restaurant itself, cause we wanted closest spot to the sea and made us enjoy this so we felt again like on honeymoon! We completely fell in love with Montenegro, can not believe we have not come here before:D

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Than we headed for a short stop in St Stefan, very sweet fisherman town and then continued our trip to Albania (country nr 6). Before reaching Albania we made a stop at Cijevna river canyon close to Podgorica, truly magical spot, and according to local policeman soon they will open a border to Albania there – awesome for our next trip there:D Entering Albania, by passing just along the coast of Lake Skadar is truly magical, but more about our Albanian experiences in the next posts!:D

 

Mini Balkan road trip – part 2

After waking up in Novigrad and going through traditional Novigrad morning routine, which consists of eating in the bakery and going for a coffee in Flash, we headed more south. Our next destination was Klis.

All Game of Thrones fans have probably already been there. So far, I did not see a single episode of Game of Thrones – but after visiting Klis fortress (entrance ticket 40kn) I fully understand why they chose it as one of their filming locations. It is truly magnificent fortress on 3 levels kept in a great state. There are two small museums with the permanent exhibition where you can learn more about history of Klis and its warriors (famous Uskoci from Klis).

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After our nice visit to Klis and having a brunch there we realised we did not print our green card (OOOOpsie ) so we headed to Split in hope to find a print shop which would print us the green card. Since we were anyway heading to Split we also made a stop in OBI to buy a rope with which we can attach our kayak to roof. We had luck and the first print shop we called – Orion – was able to print our green card even in three different shades of green – yuhhuuuu we can continue.

Next stop was Dubrovnik – not that I planned it – but my better half has been complaining for the last 7 years that he is married to Croatian and has never been to Dubrovnik so to stop him from nagging we made a stop so he sees it at night (of course he was not satisfied and we had to stop on the way back during day). I can tell u immediately he liked it more in the night:P  In order to reach Dubrovnik you need to cross BIH (country number 4) at Neum passage – which is great cause gasoline prices are much lower there than in Croatia so if you need to tank your car, use the opportunity.

Honestly I was shocked that there were so many tourists in Dubrovnik out of season – but I guess Game of Thrones did increase its popularity. The old town is indeed magical – but prices are crazy,,,one pizza margarita 66 kn!!! Ufff so much more expensive than in Naples, the place of its origin,,,such a shame,, Honestly I can not recommend you place to eat in Dubrovnik. We did not explore a lot we made just a 2 hour break, and took in the end fast food Girice (small tasty fish) and enjoyed them:P

 

After short sightseeing of Dubrovnik we headed to Kotor, meaning we had to cross one more border. You can not enter Montenegro (country number 5) without green card that’s why we are so grateful to Print shop Orion from Split😀 Guys working at the border control are one of the nicest I have ever met during my travelling history. They were making nice jokes and letting me know that I should not forget my husband has a birthday in two days;) They also told us where to take care cause there are police controls:D In Kamenari we took a ferry to Lepetane which costs 4,50 Euros. The ride along the seaside to Kotor is just priceless. Too bad I do not have a good camera so I could not capture a nice photo of Kotor in the night – but definitely it is one of the top 3 magical spots we have visited in our lives. More about Kotor and Montenegro in the next post:D