Thursday, May 1st ~ Travel day on the bus from Albania to Montenegro
Rain, rain, go away
Departing Tirana to Shkodra we finally have our entire group of 41 passengers together for the first time. The remaining 11 arrived the previous afternoon – 24 hours later than expected due to late flights and an unscheduled overnight in Istanbul. That is certainly not the ideal way to start a vacation and I feel badly for the new arrivals. They are tired, jet-lagged, and missed the first day of sight-seeing.
The weather seemed to match the mood of the morning, and for the first couple of hours the view was pretty much a blur through rain splattered windows. Thankfully it began to ease up and by mid-morning was down to a sprinkle.
Our first stop of the day entailed a good hike up the hill for the magnificent views from Rozafa Castle. The rocky path was quite slippery so we took our time to avoid any spills. The castle is mostly of Venetian design and overlooks both the Bojana and Drin rivers.
Lunch was on our own in the town of Shkodra (Shkodër).
As we approached the border of Montenegro, the scenery became more lush. Everything was green. I was especially excited to see the hills dotted in wild purple iris. We also passed by several of the bunkers that we had heard about the previous day. There are over 700,000 of these in Albania.
Alex handled the border crossing formalities for us as we waited patiently on the bus. First our exit from Albania which took about 1/2 hour for the agent to inspect our passports. The passports were then returned to us. Next our bus drove about 200 yards where our passports were again inspected by the official from Montenegro. Another 1/2 hour later, appropriate fees paid, and we were on our way.
Evidently there is a correct amount of “incentive” money that is handed over to expedite the procedure. Alex informed us that this same crossing has taken up to three hours in the past with previous groups.
For a while the road borders a lake and I am in awe of the natural beauty of this area.
Final stop was at a monastery dating back to the 12th century.
Even the bee hives had their own small church.
Arriving just before dinner at our home for the next two nights in Kolasin.
GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful to be back in the mountains. Somehow I feel more at home when surrounded by trees.