After an abundantly delicious stop in Kruja, Albania, we headed south on our holiday adventure. Oh, yeah, first we stopped at the Tirana airport to exchange rental cars. Not because anything was wrong with our car, but because you can’t get a one-way rental from Montenegro and drop it off in the port of Saranda, way down at the southern end of Albania, our destination before catching a ferry to Corfu. Jim managed to get us a one-way from Tivat, Montenegro (near Kotor, where we started our journey) to Tirana, and then another one-way from Tirana to Saranda (and yet another on Corfu). The only problem was that the folks in Tirana were not expecting us or our car. Even though we rented with Avis, the 2 offices do not really communicate. Basically, the expectation was that the Tirana Avis guy would collect the key and the Tivat Avis guy would come down to pick up the car and drive it back to the Tivat! After 90 minutes of waiting and dealing with the Avis agent, we were on our way.
We drove south through Lushnje, and on down through Fier, and then Vlore. We had some unexpectedly nice stretches of straight roads through valley and farmland – and thankfully, not much traffic. A little maneuvering needed through Fier and Vlore but Jim’s driving maps made the navigating a smooth operation (yay!) – and by this time, we’d gotten used to expecting the unexpected on the roads!
The highlight of the day’s driving adventure was Llogara Pass, one of the highest paved roads in Europe. The road was good, but necessarily full of switchbacks through the beautiful forests of black and Bosnian pines and ash trees before giving way to beautiful views of the Ionian sea and gorgeous stretches of beaches. It took about an hour longer than we’d expected to reach our destination (~5 hours) so it was extra sweet to check in to Mare B&B where we received a warm welcome and a delightful room with a sea view.
Highlights of our stay in Himare included having a full day to lounge on the beach in front of Mare B&B and having dinner at Restaurant Piazza, one of the many cafe’s on the waterfront where we could watch the World Cup with all of the other Europeans. By this point, we had really kicked into vacation mode…Ahhhhh.
For what came before:
[For photo highlights of our holiday, visit Jim and Vicki’s Travel Adventures Shutterfly site.]