Rainy day photos on our drive from Berat to Vlora. Notice the title. These are not the best photos but I like to think they give a good glimpse of Albania outside of the capital. Clicking will open another window with bigger pics.
The roads in Albania leave a lot to be desired. They are extremely dangerous because of potholes, lack of warning signs, illogical and deadly construction (frex: a six- to eight-inch-high concrete slab on the shoulder of the "freeway" with no indicators of its presence. Hit that just right going 90km/hr and you are going to be in a world of rolling-car hurt), and last but not least, other drivers.
Before 1991 and the collapse of the communist regime, there were only 600 cars in Albania, all owned by party leaders. Only public transportation or good ol' horsepower for the rest of the population.
No wonder the Albanians are such poor, undisciplined drivers. They've only had two decades of practice.
On the roads, you also have to watch out for shepherds and their flocks.
After we crested the hill where we saw the shepherds "grazing" their flocks, the air took on a very disagreeable odor, that of West Texas. Natural gas and oil drilling, anyone? The below shots could be in the Permian Basin, sans all that water...or after a summer thundershower, when the radios are crackling with tornado warnings...
t took us all morning, but once we arrived in Vlora, we were blessed with a ray of light over the sea.
The sunshine was fleeting, so quickly gone I wouldn't have believed it had ever been there if I didn't have the photographic evidence. The rest of the day was wet, wet, wet, and I was sick, sick, sick. The hotel was miserable cold with the electric fuses blowing every 15 minutes or so, way too often to heat the chill tile floors, and the sheets for our king-sized bed were meant for a full, several inches of dingy mattress poking out each side no matter how we remade the bed. Given that, I didn't feel like huddling under the covers. We took refuge in an Israeli bakery where I ate the worst cheesecake of my life and had to listen to awful 70's music,* but the waiter was very nice, except he recommended a very mediocre pizzeria for supper...
After a horrible night of constant coughing, we rose early, had breakfast in a freezing cold "fancy" hotel, and headed back to Tirana so I could be sick in my "own" bed. I was so happy to get back to our apartment that the blaring horns did not bother me a whit. No place like home. :P
Note to self: No more corny frames around the pics. Too tired to undo it on these, though.
* recognize the setting, pjthompson