We sailed Albania twice and were probably one of the first boats there. First is get 777 that covers the area it is accurate with the latest info on depths ect. We did not have it first time and we had to work
into Shengjin with on information as everything changed
You do have to check in and out of each port but they make it painless and will work
with you - the agents are great and make life easy - and we stopped at non ports
- we just had to tell them and they could careless - they just do not like extra surprised but they will work with you if you do surprise them. They are learning
how to deal with small boats.
In our first trip we went into Vlore and then down to Orikum which is only real marina there. It was run by an Italian but not sure now. We left the boat
there and went to Tirana and over to Kruja (the real hero of Albania and a man who kept the Ottomans at bay for a long time - 2 us pres have visited among other world leaders) and then we went on to Kosovo, Macedonia ( or what ever it is called now) and then on to Romania and Bulgaria - do not miss the historical museum in Tirana as if you want to see what life was like at the beginning of the communist dictatorship and the harsh reality of it they had a floor dedicated to it and makes does not mince words or images
or movies about it.
We also went to Berat which is a beautiful city and fun getting there via mini buses.
We sailed up to Shengjin which is a resort community but you can take a car or hire a taxi for not much to go to Shkoder which is one of the oldest cities if not the oldest city in Europe
On our second time in we started in Shengjin and left there to anchor
off a small fishing
port before heading on to Durras. One thing you can not escape see are the pillboxes - they built about 600k of them and at the anchorage they used some of them to protect the shoreline from erosion.
In Durras we sailed in and got permission to dock and a guy met us at the dock and directed us to where they wanted us. Just behind a big freighter. He worked with the dock guys to make sure our fenders were in the proper locations to protect our boat
and then did all our paper work and we walked into town. Our big mistake is we did not spend more time there. We wish we had spent 2-3 days exploring the town.
From there we went down to Orikum again and then when we left we told them we were going to stop in Porto Palermo where there is an old dock (for free) and an old Ali Pasha fort/castle - and now we understand you can tour the old sub base there that the Soviets used - it is underground and suppose to be incredible. By the way when we went into the dock a policeman came down and helped us tie up and got a phone
call and we heard our boat name several times. He said to us Tirana asked if you ok? We run ais
and they had tracked us down the coast - not unlike has happened to us in Italy
, Greece and other countries. We are just glad someone is watching over us.
From there we sailed into Sarande and used an agent called Nancy from ourownexpeditions (search for it on the net) and she was great. An American who is married to and Albania and trying to get folks to come to Albania. Great lady. When we went in I was really sick and told her so. She arranged for an English
speaking cab driver to take me to the hospital and stay with me and translate and bring me back. I had pneumonia and the doc told me not to go anywhere for 10days and got rx filled (upto date meds and really good stuff) and the cab driver told Nancy and she said you are staying until the doc sees you in 10 days as I will not check you out. It was a good choice as she knew I would leave early and it was a good thing as I was pretty sick and probably the minute I felt better would have left.
From there we went to Butrint and a very very old city they are working hard to reclaim.
If we could have wintered over there we would. It was a wonderful country and we loved it. If it was in our route
of travel we would go again. and we rode
buses and train and minibuses everywhere - a simply great country.
OH forgot one thing. They also recently opened up the huge underground complex built by the dictator in case of nuke war. I think it is near Vlore but not sure. It is said to be a you got to see this. It was not open when we were there.