We decided to stop in Albania a couple of times to avoid the 25 hour journey to Corfu, plus we were curious to see it.
Our friends and family were rather nervous of us doing this and urged speed. I think – hope- the days of shooting people on sailboats has passed, but we exercised caution anyway. We sailed- or rather motored, there was no wind, to Durres from Bar in Montenegro. It’s a commercial port with big tankers and containers stacked on the jetty and cranes, huge ones. We needed a shipping agent. He met us on the jetty. There was one other yacht. The harbour was so huge we had trouble locating our area, we need the binoculars! Lambi Papa dealt with all the paperwork, taxes, border control, everything. We just gave him 70 Euros. He turned up the next morning at 9.00 to do the exit stuff too. He was very helpful. An ex seaman.
Our mooring in Durres. They work all night moving the containers about. In the morning we found our space had been taped off like a crime scene!!
We went into Durres for a meal. There were people about. There was a paved ‘front’ , fairground rides for kids, empty restaurants and almost empty bars. But lots of people. We had a cocktail in a deserted tower bar. Then went to the restaurant, in a hotel, that Lambi had recommended. 30 euros for 2 courses and wine.
The next place was Vlores, or rather the nearby Marina di Oricom. No shipping agent needed here. Just 50 euros. It wasn’t really finished and had a neglected air. We walked along the side of a busying road, rubble footpath, to a restaurant , which was like an oasis. There were lots of unfinished buildings and the area was dusty. The restaurant was like a beach resort. All nice. We sat outside looking across the beach with coconut sun shades. We chose our main course, sea food only. The sides were the same for every meal. The desert was a choice of one. It was all ok and again 30 euros with wine.
When we came to check out we were told we must check out at Sarande, opposite Corfu, or Vlores itself. To go to Vlores would’ve delayed us and it was already a long day to Sarande or Corfu, so we opted for Sarande(another 70 euros! )
Next day, sailing we were visited by a very forbidding rapid pursuit boat. It sped up to us- we were still in Albanian waters -it circled us, had a good look, waved and sped off. We obviously passed the test! Wish I’d got my camera out!!
It was a long motoring day, still no wind, so we decided to make a break for it and went directly to Casiopi on Corfu, thereby saving 70 euros! I wonder if we’ll ever be allowed back in? I think Sarande would’ve been the best place as it has tourists from Corfu and there are some sights. On the whole though – Albania is beautiful, it has mountains and some beaches and lovely coves. We’d be happier if more people visited and would feel more comfortable then. Albania has a way to go.
We were pleased to be back on Corfu. We spent the next day with some friends who visited us. They are in nearby Sidari on a short term contract. Luke Britton sings, he’s currently doing Robbie covers in various places in Safari. So his wife Megan and her mother Liz, relatives of previous visitors John and Eileen, came for the day. We took them along the coast and spent a few very pleasant hours with them.
We had an incident at Petriti on Corfu. As we left we became tangled with a rope and chain that a fisherman had left in the sea for his use. It was a situation as the jetty was full of yachts and fishing boats and a Catamaran was trying to get into our place as we left. But we didn’t leave!! It took 2 friendly divers, some ingenuity from Simon and 30-45 mins to get free!!
Then to Lefkas to meet our next guests! We’ve made ALL of our rendezvous!! 8 of them!!