14 July till 8 August 2017 (25 days, 3.5 weeks).
Thanks Joh for your love during our 2-year relationship and for having been a good travel companion!
Albania (13 days) is great to travel off-road. Even yellow roads can be off-road adventures. The Thethi route is an off-roader’s delight.
The people are extremely friendly. We were invited for raki or coffee several times.
Albanians are conscious about their image in western countries, i.e. a higher criminal rate in the group of foreigners. They claim this to be a problem of “the bad Albanians who went abroad”. Interestingly, many Albanians we talked to were on holiday home from Germany, Switzerland, France and the UK. Many Albanians in Albanian license plated cars speak perfect English, French or other languages.
It looks like the same situation as with the cleanliness of their homes (interior) versus their villages (exterior). In some villages, the streets were rather dirty.
Albanians often stress their superior hospitality. They see it as the major quality – and they are right. Their friendliness towards us ranks among the highest we encountered in Eastern Europe.
At the time of traveling, 100 Lek were 8,30 Euro. Diesel is more expensive (1.67 Euro or 167 Lek/liter) than at home. Some gas stations show Euro and Albania is set to introduce the Euro in 2018.
Montenegro (6 days) is visibly richer – in water and infrastructure. Landscapes are green, houses have good roofs and there are almost no decayed houses in the countryside. Many small roads are paved.
The mountains are less unforgivingly high and steep than in Albania. Farming is easier. More water resources allow frugal areas – and wealth for the farmers.
Montenegro has the Euro. Diesel is less expensive (1.07 Euro/liter) than at home.
Serbia (2 days) is better off than Montenegro. Larger fields, more water, bigger houses and even better roads. Small white roads are paved (not always) and dotted-line gravel roads are well maintained. We did not really have time to go off-road in Serbia.
For Albania, Montenegro and Serbia, OSM were not very detailed. Many small roads and paths were missing.
We traveled for 6.100 km from (Berlin to Nancy-Eigeltingen-Zurich)-Bari (Italy)-Durrës (Albania)-Budapest (Hungary)-Berlin. Dropping off Joh at Budapest airport on 8 August and driving 920 km back home.