Albania Uncategorized

Summer Plans

On Sunday I have to put on my Adventure Girl hat and Big Girl panties and take the bus to Vlorë to look for a new apartment.  I hate not knowing EXACTLY how to do this, how much it costs and how to get from the bus station to the rental agent’s office to check into the little Airbnb studio apt. I’m renting for the next 6 nights. The agent said it was an easy walk from the bus station but I just pulled up the directions and it’s 1.2 miles! With a heavy backpack plus a day pack. Maybe I’ll spring for a taxi…..that’ll probably cost more than the 2.5 hour bus trip, which is $5 I think. The bus to Vlorë is in a furgon, a large van that holds about a dozen people. I’ll have to catch the 9:53 bus to town and then hang out for nearly an hour to wait for the 11:00 furgon to Vlorë. Ugh.aà

And that’s another thing, the bus goes through some really twisty turns roads and I guess I should wear one of the expensive Transderm Scop patches that go behind the ear. They work really great and are good for three days. For someone like me who gets sick on swings, they’re a lifesaver! Better to waste one than maybe have to use a barf bag. I was okay coming to Sarandë in a car but the bus sway is probably way different. 

I cannot believe this…they dragged that nasty old camper away! I was so happy! Then it came back a few hours later, with wheels under it now but with two flat tires! So it’s still being dragged, not rolled. Crazy! I got a close-up photo of it last week…’s coming apart at the seams! It’s a wonder it doesn’t just disintegrate on the road. The liquor bottle shoved into the gap is a nice touch, eh?  Or maybe it was trying to escape from the inside.

I’ve got my summer plans figured out. I’m going to leave the country for 90 days, June through August. I’ll skip the super high summer rents and hordes of tourists in Vlorë and when I return, I’ll get another 12 months free visa in Albania. So I’m going to Ohrid, North Macedonia. It’s just over the NE border and on huge Lake Ohrid, and the summer highs are only around 80. There’s really cheap kayak trips & rentals on the lake; I’m really excited about being able to kayak again! It’s not cheap though, a one roomà studio apartment was $430 a month. And…yet another strange language, and the Cyrillic alphabet! Won’t that be fun.

Here’s the little apartment I’m getting. Not much of a kitchen but everything else that’s still available was way more expensive. Seems crazy that reserving an apartment 8 months in advance is too late!

Then I have to come back through Greece. I have to be out of Albania for 90 days but can only be in N. Macedonia for 90 days, and both countries count the day you arrive and the day you leave. Anyway, to be away for 90 days without overstaying in the second country,  you have to go to a third country for one night. I’ve booked 3 nights at a hotel in Florina, Greece which is pretty close to Ohrid. (Today’s Geography lesson!) It’s $90 for all three nights. So….yet another foreign language and alphabet. Ain’t Life Grand!

I am hoping that when I come back next fall I can move back into the same winter apartment in Vlorë. I’ve been studying the ads on the MerrJep website and there are quite a few “student” apartments that rent from September or October until June every year. After studying the ads I feel pretty confident that I can find a nice well-appointed apartment for $200-300 a month. I think I want to be in the city center next time, rather than have a long walk from the seaside. But at least the buses in Vlorë run every 15 minutes, not just once an hour like here.


2 replies on “Summer Plans”

Good morning from Virginia, USA. I have been following you for awhile now and I think commented a few times when you were traveling in the A-liner and living on the AZ property. I wanted to say a couple of things. First of all, though you’ve said that you are not all that brave….to me you are one totally badass brave woman! To make the moves that you have when you couldn’t even speak/read the languages is amazing to me. Also, thank you for posting the challenges of living tiny in that part of AZ. I had thought I’d like to do that too…in the same general area because of the cheap land. But after reading your blog and visiting the area, I know it would not be a good move for me. Still want to travel. Still want to find a little bit of property somewhere out there but will be a little more careful about the area. So….thank you for your blog and best wishes as you plan for the future. I will be reading….. MB


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