Albania

Traveling Albania

After the great and exciting time in Bosnia-Herzegovina we gave up our “river domicile” and drove on to Albania. In Shkodra we found ourselves on a campsite and were first quite surprised and enthusiastic about the amenities and the high standard that awaited us. We hadn’t expected that. A campsite on such a level costs 4 to 5 times more in Western Europe. We paid 14 Euro the night for everyone. Since we had camped the last weeks almost only wildly, we enjoyed for two nights the maintained plant, the fast Wlan (the bad net coverage had been in Bosnia actually the only small deficiency) and the sanitary facilities. Hammocks and own access to the lake included. Almost like holidays here. After the quiet days on the campsite we went to explore the north of Albania. We wanted to take the ferry across the Komansee, a huge reservoir in the mountains, to cross and then continue in the Valbona National Park and hike in the mountains. The trip to the ferry dock offered the first “real” insights. Gone was the beautiful resort world of the campsite, which should attract especially wealthy Europeans of older semesters (which also works!) and the real Albania opened its gates. The winding road into the mountains and through the villages showed more and more subsistence village structures, shepherds who herd their cattle in the barren rocky regions, of course with their smartphones in their hands, which is no wonder with 4G network coverage, and also kept the famous Albanian road conditions ready for us. But don’t worry. Yes, there are potholes in Albania and not every road is asphalted, but even for a stinkingly normal polo the conditions would not be a problem, any more than for vans and smaller campers. Since the road ends in Koman at the ferry terminal, it is no problem to find the way there. We wanted to take the 12 o’clock ferry which, according to the campsite information, should run every day. When we arrived at the ferry dock, two rather obtrusive Albanians stormed us and wanted to sell us a ferry ticket for 90 Euro. But the ferry was not supposed to leave until the next day. However, we had informed ourselves before in the Internet and had read that the price should amount to only approx. 60 euros. A bit overtaxed, as it is quite narrow at the ferry terminal and we blocked the tunnel with the bus, which is the only entrance, we tried to fend off the two enterprising men and to consult them. The mood then also changed briefly and one of them made it unmistakably clear to us that we should disappear if we didn’t buy a ticket from him. In such cases it is best to crank up the window again and practice Buddhist ignorance without going into the hostile mood. After we had talked to some other tourists, who were also quite annoyed if they were intrusive, it became clear quite fast, today there really would be no ferry left. We were stranded. Well, that’s the way it goes sometimes. The ferry ticket can also be booked over the internet and we would advise everyone to do this in order not to offer the annoying “middlemen” any more success. And of course it’s cheaper. Via https://komanilakeferry.com/en/buy-a-ticket/ you can easily buy the ticket online and pay via Paypal. Since Koman really doesn’t have much to offer except for the ferry dock and the big dam wall of Komansee, we checked in at the nearest campsite and use the day for work and internet research. With our mobile hotspot GlocalMe and a local SIM card, which we had bought in Shkodra, we had 4G network reception there in the mountains. For 10 Euro a night we had a very nice campsite operator, who also runs a restaurant with a bar and a pitch with sanitary facilities (which, however, no longer completely corresponded to the standard of the glamping campsite^^). But in Koman you can also stay overnight on almost every parking lot. The locals are used to tourists landing throughout the day waiting for the ferry the next day. So wild camping is not a problem. But the next morning it should really start at 9 o’clock!

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