I’ve had a busy morning! I am proceeding with my plan to apply for residency. I have to leave the country and reenter because the application has to be submitted within 30 days of entry. So I leave for one day, come back and my entry date is fresh and new! I booked a flight on a discount airline called WizzAir. $48 rd trip from Tirana to a little town in Italy’s “bootheel” called Bari on March 14, returning the 15th. I booked a hotel for $80 that’s close to the city center and the rail line from the airport.
My landlords rent my apartment in summer for $2000 a month! (I pay €250, about $277.) So I will have to be gone from June 15 until September 1. If I have my Residency I won’t have to go to a different country, which is really good because my health insurance is only valid in Albania. At my “advanced age” the cheapest travel insurance I could find for neighboring countries cost $660 for that 2.5 month period! (My Albanian insurance is only $100 a year). So I started searching Airbnb for somewhere to live this summer. It had to be away from the ultra-expensive coast. Places are already going fast and I couldn’t find any decent sized city that’s really cheap. I booked an apartment in Shkoder (Northern Albania) for June 15 until September 1. Quite pricey, $523 a month! But that includes utilities, which could run as much as $80+ in summer.
Shkoder is on Europe’s largest lake which also is half in Montenegro. They have some pretty cool kayak trips on the lake to twoq restricted-access bird sanctuaries and also boat trips to Komani Lake and Shala River which I’m really excited about. Shala River is beautifully turquoise and clear, really pretty.
So now I feel like I can relax a bit. I still need to go to the US Embassy and swear a notarized affidavit that I’m not a criminal. I was hoping to do that on the day I fly back from Bari but the Embassy’s last appointment is at 1 pm and my flight gets in at 12:50, so no. I’ll have to make a special trip. It’s about 2 hours and $9.25 each way on the bus.
I had to get a tooth pulled last week and it was a doozy, with a curved root plus it was broken off at the gumline and split vertically, so it was hard to remove. Glad that’s over! Tomorrow I get a root canal and then in a week or so I’ll have the two new 5 tooth bridges and I can smile again! It cost $9.25 to get the tooth pulled and the root canal costs $56.
I’ve made a friend! She’s a 61 year old retired from the US Forest Service. We met for lunch and had a nice time and are meeting for breakfast on Wednesday. For lunch we just walked along the promenade looking at the menu boards and chose a restaurant that looked promising. One place offered grilled goat or lamb for 1000 lek ($9.25), grilled guts for 500 lek and whole sheep’s head for 400 lek. Yeah…didn’t go there!
Those who know me well know that I’m an extremely fussy eater. It’s been said that I have the taste buds of an 8 year old boy. And eating low carb makes it even harder to eat in restaurants.
I can’t remember the name of the restaurant we chose but I’ll walk back over that way soon and find out, though I hope no one is reading my blog for restaurant recommendations; if so they must be sorely disappointed! This was the first time I’ve eaten out since I got here almost 4 months ago!
So I was tempted to just order a nice safe omelet for $2.30 but I decided to be really adventurous and ordered a whole grilled fish, including the head which had a lot of really sharp little teeth! It came with scrumptious hand cut french fries which nearly killed me to resist gobbling up. I only ate one. This was a pretty expensive meal at $10 US but it was excellent!