Monthly Archives: October 2013

VLORA TO SARANDA PART III (the final chapter)

I didn´t want to leave Dhermi, after a big climb up to the “highway” (minus the cars). The scenery turns spectacular again.

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I´VE TAKEN MORE PHOTOS HERE THAN ANYWHERE ELSE.

20131030-124021.jpgALL THE VILLAGES I PASS THROUGH ARE AMAZING, THEY ARE JUST CLINGING FROM THE MANY HILLSIDES.

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20131030-124304.jpgALBANIA HAS SOME OF THE MOST DRAMATIC AND SAFEST BIKING I´VE EXPERIENCED ON THIS WHOLE TRIP.

20131030-124527.jpgALBANIA HAD SO MANY ISOLATED BEACH RESORTS.
It´s getting late and I need to find accommodation.

20131030-125113.jpgI PHOTOGRAPHED THIS FROM THE NEW BRIDGE.

20131030-125228.jpgTHIS LOOKS LIKE MY NEW TOWN
I check a local hotel (free wifi on the sign), they want $40. No. I ride to the beach and there´s some grass shacks on the beach and a olive orchard. I pick the olive orchard. I started to set uo camp and I heard this snorting sound, I look over and see 3 pigs running by. I´m thinking their wild boars (they attack).

20131030-125631.jpgSO I SET 2 PILES OF ROCKS NEXT TO WHERE I SLEEP, JUST IN CASE!

20131030-130011.jpgSO THEY NEXT MORNING I´M VISITED BY MOMMA PIG, 300LBS, 150KG HUGE!
As I lay there, a local farmer is herding his 20 sheep by me. Then the cows are eating there way by me too. I was visited by pigs, sheep and cows, I´m feel like I´m doing a home farm stay.

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BIG MOUNTAINS AND SANDY BEACHES (doesn´t get any better)
The google map shows that if I follow the beach road there´s a road up to the highway at the end. I find a cafe and plug in my phone, just as the power goes out. It goes out everyday, nobody knows when it will come back on. I got a coffee just in time. I find out the road doesn´t go through.

20131030-131517.jpgWHILE ENJOYING MY SEASIDE COFFEE, IN ALBANIA, ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN.
I grab my phone and head back to get up on the highway.

20131030-131902.jpgIT TOOK ALMOST 2 HOURS TO GET BACK TO MY “SHORT CUT” SPOT ON THE HIGHWAY.

20131030-132051.jpgNICE POWER POLE

20131030-132146.jpgTHOSE DARK DISKS ON THE TABLE ARE FIGS, I BOUGHT MY SECOND ONE HERE. THE AMERICAN FLAG IS EVERYWHERE IN ALBANIA.

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I stop for lunch, since there´s virtually no cars eating on the road is a good option for simplicity.

20131030-133159.jpgIN ALBANIA, ANYONE OR ANYTHING CAN WALK BY,
They are so causal about using the “carfree” highway.

20131030-133424.jpgYOU CAN SEE THEY TAKE THE WHOLE ROAD ON A CURVE, NO PROBLEM!
The biking on this route has been great, but Saranda is getting closer and I´m glad. That road from Vlora to Saranda was tough.
The last 10km was pretty flat.

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Traveling in the off season has so many advantages, the weather, no crowds, and

20131030-140059.jpgI GOT THE HOTEL IN THE MIDDLE OF THE PHOTO FOR $20.
Food is so inexpensive here, I´ve been carry food for a month, it was cheaper to eat out than cook.
ALL THE ALBANIAN  PHOTOS CAN BE SEEN HERE
THANKS FOR READING, AND GO RIDE YOUR BIKE BECAUSE IT´S THE RIGHT THING TO DO.
JEFF
NEXT: KASMIL AND FINAL THOUGHTS ON ALBANIA

VLORA TO SARANDA (Part II)

I didn´t wanr to leave my little cabin on the mountain, but I must keep moving

20131027-131211.jpgI HAD TO TAKE THIS FAREWELL PHOTO
I´m at the top and it´s all down hill (walking). I wonder if disk brakes would work in these hills?

20131027-131943.jpgSTONE RESTAURANT IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE OVER LOOKING THE OCEAN.

20131027-132150.jpgSOME OF THE BEST VIEWS ARE OCCUPIED WITH THESE MEMORIALS

20131027-132806.jpgI TOOK LOTS OF PHOTOS ALONG HERE, IT WAS STUNNINGLY BEAUTIFUL.

20131027-134212.jpgTHE VIEWS ARE AMAZING
The traffic has dropped to nothing, sometimes it´s twenty minutes between cars and the road is in nearly perfect condition. The temperature is 75f, 25c, perfect biking weather.

20131027-135240.jpgI LAND AT DHERMI BEACH
There is suppose to be the ECO-HOSTEL here? I can’t find it. So I ask someone and she shows me a beachside cottage for $15 a night.
.

20131027-140523.jpgI STAY THREE DAYS AND GO SWIMMING EVERYDAY, I DON’T WANT TO LEAVE
I could only find WIFI at the HOTEL SPLENDOR I sat there for 6 hours working on a blogpost.

20131027-191734.jpgSO I ORDERED THIS SALAD WITH GRILLED CALAMARI TO HELP RELIEVE MY GUILT FOR SITTING THERE ALL DAY.

20131027-192507.jpgTHE HOTEL SPLENDOR WAS PRETTY AMAZING: POOL, HOT TUB, SAUNA, WORKOUT ROOMS, AND MASSAGES AVAILABLE.
Traveling in the off season is not only super cheap but,

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YOU GET A NICE PRIVATE BEACH RIGHT OUT YOUR DOOR

20131027-193750.jpgTHIS IS THE BEACH DOWNTOWN DHERMI TAKEN FROM A LOCAL RESTAURANT.

20131027-194022.jpgYES,THIS IS MY MAN CAVE!

20131027-194121.jpgYEP, ANOTHER AWESOME SUNSET
I shopped at the “local” store. I think I was their best customer? Yogurt only comes plain, the white feta cheese and sausage were cut what you need, olives were bulk, only apples, potatoes and onions for produce. In America there are too many choices, I actually enjoyed the simplicity of not so many choices. I liked not having to make a choice, this is it, “take it or starve”

20131027-195422.jpgTHIS IS A PICTURE FROM THE HELP YOURSELF COOLER. (that’s the cheese bin on the right)
It was super steep riding down from the main road to the beach. I knew the walk up wpuld be hell. I asked a couple people for a ride up in their truck, but no one was going all the way up, I walked (good boy)
I´m going to make a part III, there´s too much for one blogpost.
REMEMBER T WERE NOT GETTING ANY YOUNGER GO SEE THE WORLD SO YOU CAN SHARE IT WITH THE REST OF THE WORLD!
THERE ARE MORE SPECTACULAR PHOTOS OF THE ALBANIAN COAST HERE
THANKS FOR READING AND COMMENTING?
JEFF
NEXT? VLORA TO SARANDA PART III (visited by every farm animal)

VLORA TO SARANDA: MOST CHALLENGING AND SPECTACULAR RIDE (PART I)

I´m sitting here in SARANDA, Albania thinking about what I just rode. The Tirane Hostel warned me that it turned mountainous after Vlora. I´m thinking how bad can it be?

20131025-072803.jpgTHE ROUTE CLIMBED 3000m (10,000ft) I WALKED MY BIKE ON EVERY UPHILL.

20131025-073207.jpgTHE ROAD STARTED OUT HUGGING THE COAST.
I´ve got a10 day weather forecast of 25c (75f) and no rain. As I pedal out further from town, the traffic drops off dramatically. A couple, from Turkey, I met at the Mosque yesterday, drove by and offered me a ride. The weather and road conditions are too great, I decline their offer.

20131025-073850.jpgTHAT´S WHERE I´M HEADED, UP AND INTO THE MOUNTAINS.

20131025-074054.jpgSTILL WORKS!
The few cars that passed me, in both directions, were constantly honking, waving and giving me a thumbs up. I´ve never felt so welcome in a country.

20131025-074722.jpgTHIS IS THE BEGINNING OF THE MOUNTAINS.
There were fruit stands selling just honey and some dried herbs. Were in the middle of nowhere and there´s no traffic, I have no idea who they´re selling to?

20131025-075515.jpgI FOUND THE SOURCE OF THE HONEY, THESE BRIGHTLY PAINTED BEE BOXES.

20131025-075831.jpgI PASSED VERY FEW VILLAGES, THIS HILLSIDE VILLAGE WAS BEAUTIFUL.
The road for the most part was in very good condition.

20131025-083046.jpgSOME SECTIONS OFTHE ROAD WERE MISSING, BUT THE VIEWS WERE STILL AMAZING
I never saw anyone working on the roads. As I rounded the bend I saw a sign that indicated “road work ahead”, I got a little excited!

20131025-083652.jpgTHE ROAD CREW WAS SLEEPING IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY. ONE GUY IS LAYING ON THE GROUND (behind the van) AND THE OTHER WAS SLUMPED OVER IN THE DRIVERS SEAT OF THE VAN.

20131025-101844.jpgI FINALLY MAKE IT TO LLOGARAJA PASS NATIONAL PARK.
These next photos are of the bay looking back to where I came from, as I climb (walk) the mountain.

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I get to what I think is the top and have 2 coffees. The owner brings me some clear “fire” water. I took a sip for him, but I´m a non-drinker, it was super strong. I felt bad but I left it on the table, I couldn´t choke it down, not even for him. I thought I was done climbing, no.

20131025-151605.jpg ANOTHER 45 MINUTES AND I´M AT THE TOP! (FINALLY)
I need to find some accommodation, camping or hotel, whatever, the sun is going down fast. I have been eyeing all these half built hotels and apartments. thinking they would make for some interesting stealth camping. Just down from the pass is

20131025-153250.jpgTHIS UNFINISHED HOTEL WITH CABINS, THAT HAVE MY NAME ON THEM
I clean-up one of the cabins and make a nice sleeping area. I can´t believe where I´m staying

20131025-153632.jpgTHE VIEWS ARE FANTASTIC FROM THE UNFINISHED RESTAURANT.

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20131025-154008.jpgTHIS WAS MY CABIN.

20131025-154346.jpgTHIS IS THE SUNRISE FROM THE RESTAURANT.

20131025-154539.jpgVIEW OUT OF THE CABIN.

20131025-154648.jpgI´M THE BLUE DOT.

20131025-154956.jpgINTERESTING MORNING IMAGES
I consider for a moment staying another night, but water is a problem. I can carry enough water for 1 day of meals including coffee.
I need to break this blog segment into several parts, there´s too many photos and stories for one post.
SEE MORE PHOTOS HERE
AGAIN THANKS FOR READING AND REMEMBER TO RIDE YOUR BIKE, WHILE YOU STILL CAN!
RIDE ON,
JEFF
NEXT? VLORA TO SARANDA: MOST CHALLENGING AND SPECTACULAR RIDE (PART II)

VLORA: MUSEUM CAPITAL OF ALBANIA? (maybe)

I arrived and searched for a hotel. It´s the low season and hotels are cheap, most campgrounds are closed. The weather is perfect for biking, 75F or 25C. I´m waiting out a rain storm in town, perfect for musueming. The Lonely Planet Guide book really talks up the museums here.
VLORA is a coastal town. Packed with people in the summer and vacant now.

20131024-101657.jpgIT´S JUST AS NICE WITH OR WITHOUT TOURIST.
I rode to both ends of town, my bike was dirty. Albania has more car washes than cars! Not Really, but let me just say, I´m biking in the middle of nowhere and there,s a car wash not one but several. Are Albanians obsessed with a clean car or what? Yes and the roads are rough and dirty so to speak. Anyway my bike needs a cleaning, I toothbrush the chain with detergent. They then spray my bike with soap then power wash it.

20131024-102252.jpgNICE AND CLEAN AND READY FOR SOME CHAIN LUBE (red).
I head for the Ethnographic Museum first.
The Ethnographic museum is built in a traditional Vlora house, the construction of which dates back to the middle of 19th century. The collection of this museum consists of about 300 objects of authentic values like clothes, wood-works, metalwork, carpets and ceramics. In the great number and variety of objects we may mention: the shirt and waistcoat of Kanina, 150 years old, women clothes, more than one century old, rugs, carpets worked out 80-90 years ago, filigree works, utility wooden objects worked by handicraft masters of Vlorë region.

20131024-102637.jpgTHE CARPETS WERE BETTER THAN ANYTHING I SAW IN MOROCCO.
They had a small pile of them, I tried to buy one, NO. It must be a lost art, I tried to find a shop selling them but no again.

20131024-103000.jpgTHESE SHOES WERE MADE FROM A CAR TIRE.

20131024-103124.jpgTHIS COW HORN WAS CARVED INTO A SHARK, PRETTY AWESOME
Next I head to the HISTORIC MUSEUM
The Historic MuseumIt was founded in 1962 and is located in the city center. There are historical and archaeological items of the entire district of Vlora. They date back beginning from the Bronze Age to documents of recent years, and include objects and relics from the medieval, renaissance and modern times. They had a mix of everything, Roman Columns and machine guns. It was being remodeled but I was able to take a quick walk through.

20131024-103709.jpgALBANIA GOT IT´S INDEPENDANCE IN 1912 AND THIS IS THE STATUE TO SYMBOLIZE THAT EVENT.
I´m off to the Independence Museum
Independence Museum is placed in the building where the first Albanian Government worked in 1913. It is a urban two-stores Vlora building and it was declared a cultural monument. This museum consists of eight rooms equipped with original 19th century furniture. Many authentic objects and relics, documents, editions, works of art, etc. are exhibited in this museum. The most important parts of this museum are the office of the first Albanian Prime Minister, Ismail Qemali and the Provisional Government Conference Room. Should be mentioned that the government of the first Albanian state worked for six months in the Independence Museum building.
Many original documents and items of the time like flags, correspondence of the period prior to the proclamation of independence and other objects of cultural and historic value are displayed in this museum.
The U.S.A. sent a peice of art to help them celebrate their state hood.

20131024-104131.jpgIT´S A CARVED SHELL FROM THE USA, REMEMBER IT´S 1912!
The art was great to

20131024-105338.jpgI REALLY LOVE ALBANIAN ART

20131024-105609.jpgCHECK OUT THE ALBANIAN FLAG CARVED INTO CHAIR.
The museum employees invited me for coffee after the tour.

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Exploring a city by bike is the best. I capture more images than I ever would walking. Like these 2 women weeding the plaza with shovels.

20131024-110552.jpgIT´S AMAZING, YOU CAN ACTUALLY GET RID OF WEEDS WITHOUT USING ROUND-UP.

20131024-110730.jpgA PICTURE OF VLORA TAKEN FROM SOUTH OF TOWN.

20131024-110905.jpgTHIS GUY WAS SELLING SOME KIND OF EEL? BY BIKE!

20131024-111015.jpgTHIS IS THE EXPRESSION AFTER THE PERSON YOU ASK TO TAKE A PHOTO DROPS THE I-PHONE ON THE SIDEWALK.
VLORA was a great place to wait out the storms, the museums were high quality (not quantity). Being the birthplace of Albanians Independence, made it an important place in Albanian history.
It´s time to go, I´ve got a 10 day forecast of 75f or 25c and no rain!
PHOTOS CAN BE SEEN HERE
Thanks for reading and remember to ride your bike!
Jeff
NEXT? VLORA TO SARANDA THE MOST CHALLENING AND SPECTACULAR RIDING OF THE WHOLE TRIP

TIRANA: WHAT HAPPENED TO STALIN AND LENIN?

I take the bus from Shkoder to Tirana, usually the road between to major destinations is busy, this one is no different. Good decision, the road is narrow, fast and crowded. I board the bus and grab a seat, then i inspect my seat choice.

20131017-182953.jpgTHE BUS WINDOW IS FILLED WITH WATER.
I can´t see out the window, as the bus empties I move to a view seat. I spot a couple cycle touring, doesn´t look too fun. The bus drops me off, I don´t see one cyclist on my pedal to the Hostel. I left Shkoder too soon, TIRANA is the capital and very busy.
I chose the TIRANA BACKPACKERS HOSTEL because of their bike knowledge. So I got my directions for the museums, farmers market, gypsy camp, and an awesome restaurant. I go to the Art Museum first.

20131017-203807.jpgALBANIA TRADITIONAL DRESS, ALL THE “LOCAL” ART WAS OUTSTANDING (check Albanian photos for more art paintings)
But this next photo is a part of recent history. In December 1990 the last Stalin statue in Europe was pulled down.

20131017-205549.jpgTHIS IS WHERE LENIN AND STALIN SIT NOW, BEHIND THE ART MUSEUM, COVERED!
Walking the street offers opportunities that biking doesn´t like the

20131017-205758.jpgAPPLE BICYCLE CART, PRETTY COOL
I go to the HISTORY MUSEUM rumor says it´s not great, but actually i saw a couple interesting things. The huge stamp collection focused on historical periods in history, there was a large bicycle series.
I head the the open market, It´s actually pretty interesting

20131017-213519.jpgHUNDREDS OF UN-PAIRED SHOES, EVERYWHERE.

then I saw this fun bike shirt

20131017-213818.jpg“CAKEWALK YOURSELF” (they only had it in a small)
I bought everything I needed to make a dinner, prawns, tomato, broccoli, onion. Every time I buy something, they always give me something extra. I bought a melon and later he waved me over and gave me a cucumber. When I bought a shirt, she gave me a key chain. I was given post cards. This is from a country that pays their teachers $300 a month.
The last time I got fresh ground coffee was Barcelona (Starbucks), I was giving up. The poorest country I visit has fresh ground roasted coffee.

20131020-104709.jpgAMERICAN DUCK TAPE GETTING THE JOB DONE AT THE HOSTEL
The cyclist I saw from the bus show up at the hostel.

20131020-104929.jpgTHE FUN PART OF CYCLING, FIXING A FLAT AND GETTING GREASY!
I sometimes read about the Roma/Gypsy being moved, well this is where they end up

20131020-105252.jpg THERE ARE MORE PHOTOS OF THE ENCAMPMENT IN PHOTO GALLERY

20131020-110138.jpgHOW ABOUT A LITTLE BBQ GOAT/SHEEP? HEAD FOR LUNCH?

20131020-110319.jpgTRYING TO RIDE OUT OF TOWN, THE BIKE LANES ARE USED AS PARKING, EVERYWHERE
I´m riding to Duress on the coast, an easy 40km. The road is so beat up, I´ve been mountain biking on trails that are smoother than the roads here.

20131020-110739.jpgONCE YOU GET 5-10 KM FROM TOWN THE TRAFFIC DROPS OFF.

20131020-111032.jpgI CAN´T FIND THE CARD, BUT THE HOTELS ARE $15-$20 A NIGHT ON THE BEACH. Off season has it´s advantages
.

20131020-111651.jpgTHE BACKROADS OF ALBANIA CAN BE CHALLENGING

20131020-111806.jpg THIS GUY WAS AWESOME, CUSTOM MADE WOOD FIRED PIZZA ($3) I had one both nights in FIER, Albania.

20131020-112245.jpgI MUST HAVE SEEN 10 DIFFERENT PEOPLE HERDING THEIR TURKEY´S. Turkey is my favorite meat, I´m looking to order it, but can´t find it yet?
I kept seeing these stuffed animals hanging from houses under construction.

20131020-113449.jpgTHE STUFFED ANIMALS ARE USED TO WARD OFF EVIL SPIRITS.
I decide to take the scenic route along a lagoon and avoid the traffic.

20131020-114243.jpgTHERE WERE THESE AWESOME CEMENT WITH STONE INLAY TABLES AND CHAIRS. Some one should import these?
The “highway” fruit stands were awesome.

20131020-114656.jpgTHEY WERE SELLING POTATOES FOR 16 CENTS A POUND.
I took the taxi out to visit APOLLONIA.

20131020-115243.jpgIT´S SAID THAT JULIAS CEASAR HUNG OUT HERE IN THE DAY
More interesting than that was Albania’s leader ENVER HOXHA built 700,000 bunkers.

20131020-120105.jpgTHIS IS AN EXAMPLE OF MILITARY WASTE, THEY COULD HAVE USED ALL THOSE RESOURCES FOR HOUSING OR ROADS (which they need)

20131020-120343.jpgTHE STONE MOSAICS WERE AMAZING

20131020-120527.jpgTHE DIFFERENT COLORS ARE SORTED COLORED STONES

.

20131020-143346.jpg RIDING INTO VLORE, ALBANIA.
There is so much to write about, but I´m going to end it here for now
TO VIEW THE ALBANIA PHOTOS CLICK HERE
THANKS FOR READING
RIDE ON
JEFF
NEXT? VLORE, MUSEUM CITY OF ALBANIA?

20131020-144459.jpgCOFFEE SHOP PHOTO (didn’t load the first time?)

FINALLY “THE ALBANIAN STORY” (I´m dying to tell it)

20131012-200929.jpgI HAD NO IDEA HOW WELCOMING IT WAS GOING TO BE.
I rode from Ulcij, Montenegro to SHKODRA ALBANIA. It was a beautiful day. I´ve said before, you cross the border , you enter another world (country). Albania was more different than anything I´ve seen on this trip. While riding the the road kids would cross the street to “high five” me.
The photo images were many:

20131014-102215.jpg LISTENING TO AMERICA COMPLAIN ABOUT PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION? TRY RIDING THIS TO WORK.
ALBANIA is a country in transition. This photo really helps show that.

20131014-102639.jpgTALKING AND DRIVING? IS THIS SAFE?
Recycling seemed non existent here. Then I pass a father/son recycling team. They were picking up plastic along the road.

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I PAID THEM A LITTLE MONEY FOR THIS PHOTO.
I meet the Spanish cyclists, again, at the bridge to Shkoder. We agree to find a hostel room to share. We bike into town and a French couple joins us looking for a room too. Now I´m “leading” in the search. A car pulls over and offers us a room. Thank you for saving me. We follow him through town, but I make a wrong turn and it takes half an hour to regroup. The Hostel is awesome, a brand new place called the UNIT HOSTEL. I take a walk downtown and take this special photo.

20131014-105923.jpgI GOT THIS PHOTO ON MY FIRST NIGHT OUT.
The Italian Hostel guest wanted to cook dinner for everyone, we let him!

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NO ENGLISH BUT A LOT OF LAUGHING, WITH A LITTLE SPANISH THROWN IN.
The other cyclist all left in the morning. Not me, this is a great place, I start noticing all the cyclist riding around town.

20131014-110830.jpgTHEY ALL BIKED TO THE HOSTEL, NEVER LEFT, RODE OUT IN THE MORNING.
I´m so done with constantly moving, Shkoder is a town worth visiting for awhile. The large amount of Cyclist has caught my attention. I learn that Shkoder is the BICYCLE CITY of Albania. The first bicycle in Shkoder was brought by a Swedish diplomat, first called the “devil´s cart”, then widley accepted. (read the link).

20131014-120444.jpgI READ THEY HAVE A 25-29% BIKE USAGE AND WITHOUT ANY BIKE INFRASTRUCTURE TO SPEAK OF.
The first order of the day is to get a SIM card for my phone.

20131014-120843.jpgMISSION ACCOMPLISHED AND WITH STYLE!
There are basically two must see attractions here the MES BRIDGE and the ROZAFA CASTLE. I choose to ride to the bridge first, since it´s suppose to rain tomorrow.

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THIS IS PART OF THE ROAD TO THE MES BRIDGE, I RODE THE SIDEWALK, (watch out!).

20131014-121938.jpgTHE BRIDGE WAS BUILT IN 1780.
I decide to keep riding further from town and find this restaurant, in the middle of nowhere, over looking the river.

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THEY HAD WIFI AND I CALLED A FEW PEOPLE, HEY LOOK!
I got numerous photos so I had to pick?

20131014-122635.jpgWOULD YOU PARK YOUR CAR HERE? (me? NO!)
There are many “unfinished” houses, the owners are sometimes overseas working and return with more money to finish.

20131014-123430.jpgTHIS IS JUST ONE OF THE HUNDREDS I´VE SEEN.
I ride back to town and visit the old bridge and fishing spot. They were pulling up BIG Carp.

20131014-123859.jpgTHE GYPSIES/ROMA live “on the other side of the river from town” at the end of the bridge.
I like taking sign photos and bicycle images:

20131014-124347.jpgTEA IS THE COMPANY NAME AND SHITE MEANS “SALE”, “sale & buy Insurance” but TEA SHIT works.

20131014-124618.jpgRIDING IN THE RAIN

20131014-124710.jpgI´M HAVING THIS PHOTO PAINTED BY A LOCAL ARTIST.

20131014-124938.jpgI LOVE THIS IMAGE.

20131014-125132.jpgTHIS IS THE ALLEY I WALK TO MY HOSTEL, WELL LITE!
Attention Portland beer consumers, this is an interesting way to have “cold” beer at your table.

20131014-125700.jpgTHERE IS AN ICE FILLED TUBE THAT RUNS DOWN THE MIDDLE TO KEEP THE BEER COLD. 100 LEKE = $1.
I buy a chicken for dinner, when I get home, the Italians are cooking again! I de-bone the chicken and put it on the cutting board and pasta with cheese!

20131014-130126.jpgI´M HAVING SO MUCH FUN HERE, I DON´T WANT TO LEAVE! (I did all the dishes, they liked that)

20131014-130552.jpgTHIS BIKE ART SCULPTURE WAS ON A MAJOR ROUND-ABOUT IN TOWN
I love the bicycle vibe here in Skhoder.

20131014-130842.jpgI DIDN´T HAVE THE COURAGE TO ASK FOR A FRONT SHOT.
They LOVE America here, when I tell them I´m from the USA, they always say “America #1”. W. Bush visited here in 2007, they named a street after him and had a STATUE made too. I heard there was a museum where they had stuff like the chair he sat in. OK? They love America here as you can see.

20131014-133007.jpgNOTICE THE RED, WHITE AND BLUE COLOR SCHEME “ALL AMERICAN”
The Unit Hostel is a huge project, there was always something going on. I spent my last night working on the Blog. The lights were flickering on and off, so we chased down some candles.

20131014-134249.jpgNENSI AND LLVA CAME BY SEVERAL TIMES TO APPLY MULTIPLE COATS OF PAINT ON THE RECEPTION DESK.
I´ve done most of what this town has to offer, ordered a painting, it´s time to get down the road. I don´t want to leave it feels like home and Shkoder is a charming place.

20131014-141121.jpgTHE GIRLS STOP BY TO CHECK THEIR DRY PAINTING PROJECT AND TAKE THIS GOOD-BYE PHOTO.
I pack my bags, load the bike and ride to catch the bus to Tirana. The “bus stop” is a spot along the street, no official bus station.

20131014-200950.jpgI LOVE THE MANY BICYCLE IMAGES IN SHKODER, I´LL MISS THIS PLACE.
TO THE PEOPLE WHO WRITE EMAILS TO ME “THANK YOU.” I am so busy traveling and writing this blog I rarely have time to respond, I hope you understand and aren´t discouraged from writing me again. I spent 9 hours writing this blog post.
They ride their bike here without any bike infrastructure, so can you (get a mirror).
So Ride Your Bike
Jeff
ALBANIAN PHOTOS CAN BE SEEN HERE
NEXT? TIRANA: WHAT HAPPENED TO STALIN AND LENIN?

24 HOURS IN MONTENEGRO (not enough)

I´m feeling the pressure to get south, the year long trip is in fact only a year,. not forever. I rode the bus out of Dubrovnik because of the narrow roads and the bus/truck traffic. I took the bus to Budva, I wondered around the bus station trying to figure out what to do. The weather was excellent. I still have a case of the travelers blues, I ask “when is the next bus to Albania?” “10 minutes” I´m in. I load the bike on and off we go.

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PHOTO TAKEN WHILE LEAVING THE COUNTRY.!

20131012-065810.jpgTHIS PHOTO IS TAKEN WHERE THE ROAD WRAPS AROUND THE BAY.
So everyone is off the bus except me, we have maybe 15 miles to go. I decide to sit behind the bus driver for a great picture window view. There is the ticket collector and the driver, who is talking on the cellphone. INo one speaks english, but I make it known that driving and talking is no good. 30 seconds later BAM!

20131012-070454.jpg< A CARPULLS OUT OF NOWHERE AND THE BUS RAMS IT AND SENDS IT FLYNG ACROSS THE ROAD.
It is totally the car drivers fault

20131012-070731.jpgNOTHING REALLY HAPPENED TO THE BUS, THAT IS THE CAR DRIVER THAT CAUSED THE ACCIDENT.
So the police are called to file a report

20131012-070917.jpgYEP, GOT MY MONTENEGRO POLICEMAN PHOTOSi
I flag the traffic around the accident while they try to sort everthing out. After an hour they direct me to remove my stuff. Another bus should be along, soon. 10 minutes later the bus pulls up, the door opens, I point to my bike and gear. He shakes his head no, closes the door and drives off. OK, so I put the bike together and ride off. There´s virtually no traffic, it´s sunny, life is good. But it´s late so I stick out my thumb, score, I get a ride to town. I talk with a travel agent, I tell her my crash story, I tell her I should get a refund (yea right). So I go ask at the bus station. I´m told I would have to go back to where I got the bus and ask, that´s not going to happen. I just wanted to see what they would do? nothing.
The travel agent said there was camping just out of town. I ride out, the season is over, it´s a ghost town.

20131012-074632.jpg I FIND THIS NICE CAMPING SITE, IT´S GETTING DARK (AND COLD) BY 6:30, AND I´M IN MY SLEEPING BAG

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NEED TO HIRE A LANDSCAPER FOR A DAY?

20131012-075148.jpgI TOOK THIS PHOTO, THEN THE FARMER WENT IN AND GOT ME AN APPLE, PEAR AND GRAPES FOR THE ROAD.

20131012-075353.jpgTHE FRUIT STAND LADY SAID LOTS OF CYCLIST PASSED BY HER, EVERYDAY! AWESOME

20131012-075541.jpgNEARLY CAR FREE ROADS.
Nearly every car that passes me, in both directions waves and honks, with a thumbs up! I´ve never been anywhere where people are so friendly. It was absolutely amazing and heart warming. I´m regretting my decision to bus through the country.

20131012-080008.jpgHERE´S A CARPORT WITH THE BIGGEST KIWI FRUIT I´VE EVER SEEN.

20131012-081512.jpgOF COURSE I BOUGHT SOME KIWI FOR THE ROAD

20131012-081648.jpgSPAINSH CYCLING TOURIST I MET WHILE HAVING COFFEE (TRYING TO USE THE FREE WIFI THAT DIDN´T WORK)
Montenegro is on my short list of countries I want to visit in the near future.

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THANKS FOR READING
NEXT? SHKODRA, ALBANIA THE BICYCLE CITY OF ALBANIA (I can´t wait to write this piece)
RIDE YOUR BIKE!
JEFF

20131012-083043.jpgTHERE WERE POLMAGRANITE TREES/FRUIT ALL ALONG THE ROAD WAYS