I’m most excited to visit Vlore- the birthplace of Albania.  I really loved the museums, people and best of all my favorite: HOTEL 4 STINET. I plan to revisit everything.  Albanian Independence day is coming up and there’s flags, banners and  Albanian souvenirs, everywhere.  I started drinking beer,(it’s been 15 years without, so I’m looking for the special place to hang out (mission accomplished).  It’s called Jeff’s Bike Tour, maybe I’m not riding (this time),but I still love taking photos of bikes being used serving the community.  I took photos at the museum of Albanian traditional rugs (again).  I really want to buy one, I offer to buy one of the museum rugs, no.

One of the reasons I decided to drive this time was because I wanted to explore more of Albania.  I decide to leave the car at the hotel & walk to the castle, what was I thinking?  Remember Castles are at the top of the hill.  I used google maps, first mistake, I found myself walking up these little alleyways, how did google maps even find this “trail”?  I finally get to the road, there’s no way I’m walking up that. So I decide hitchhiking is the best option, got a ride in a couple minutes.  The castle grounds are well groomed, not with lawn mowers, but sheep.  Walking is a really great way to see things up close, but I still like biking because it’s a good compromise between driving and walking.

The Vlore visit was too short, I have to come back.  The 4 Stinet hotel feels like home.The breakfast was awesome and filling.  I tell everyone at the hotel I want a photo, they pull out a post card I sent them 3 years ago.  It’s nice to be remembered!  I’m eventually  driving to Dhermi, to re-live my beach side bungalow experience.    The car has allowed me to visit the little communities along the way, like Dukat.  There’s not as many hitchhikers as in Romania, but I did pick up a few.   They didn’t speak English, but it was still good times, just tell them your American and everything is OK.

When I did the bike trip I thought this route was the most challenging and most beautiful.  Early on I saw a couple cyclist stopped, so I pulled  over and warned them what they were in for.  I remember being so happy to finally make it to Sarande.  Last time I “camped” at an abandoned hotel project.  I stayed in one of the cabins, so I pulled over for a re-visit, they added a “keep out” door.

I’m heading to my seaside beach apartment, in Dhermi.  When visiting Albania you need to learn to look up and not down.  There are some things going on here that are questionable.
Thanks for reading.


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