After a detour through Kosovo, we finally made it into Northern Albania and Valbona National Park. This was a place of rugged mountains, crystal clear rivers, and the most delicious blackberries ever.
It was not, however, a place with Internet. Thus you did not hear from us until we’d left the mountains and driven on to Shkodra in Northwestern Albania, a place that is remarkably close to the border with Montenegro. On a map, Shkodra looks like a short hop from Valbona National Park, but this was so not the case.
As we left the park we inquired about the best routs for Shkodra, and to our amazement, the consensus was that we needed to head back east into Kosovo and make a huge spiral-shaped loop back into Albania and around to Shkodra. So we got to visit another Kosovar town and have another nice lunch there before completing a long day of travel and ending up remarkably close to where we were in Montenegro three days ago.
Not that it wasn’t an interesting day of travel. Our route was quite the hodgepodge blend of neat paved roads, dusty gravel paths with cows and chickens to dodge, the sparkling new central national highway built to link Kosovo to the Albanian coast, and the deadly final crowded stretch filled with maniacs trying to pass other cars at risk of crashing headlong into us. It’s a relief to be settled into Shkodra for the night.