Day 19 - Bunec to Beach Cove via Butrint

A 6 minute read, Posted by Dan on Wed, Aug 14, 2013
In Albania, Equipment, Land Rover, Overland, Roof Tent, Summer 2013, Tent, Travel, Wild Camping
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We had a fairly ok nights sleep and woke early. We decided to avoid the breakfast spoken of last night as dinner was a little 'dodgy', for want of a better word. We opted for just a coffee instead. Outside our room we bumped into a lovely lady sitting with her grandson. She asked us where we were from and we told her, "England, Brighton". She said she knew it and lived in Lewisham. She was on holiday with her family and investigating a business opportunity in Albania. I must add, she was Albanian. We chatted for a bit longer and then bid her farewell, we were off for that coffee.

After being reinforced with a coffee, we headed out towards Butrint, we wanted to visit the Roman ruins there. After a long and hot drive, we arrived at the entrance car park to the ruins. Immediately we were accosted by a young urchin girl and her male companion. They demanded that we buy bracelets from them. Dan was in the firing line of their deluge and so we ended up buying a bracelet from the girl and one from the boy. By this time I had another little urchin at my window. She begged that I bought a bracelet from her too, I had to say no. The first young girl then came round to my window and asked if she could have my banana that I had sitting in the front. I laughed and had to admire her audacity. I gave her the banana. She immediately peeled it and ate it as she walked away, pleased at herself for getting another tourist in her trap!

We were now dripping and feeling a little hard done by, having been accosted by the urchins. We went for a cold drink at the restaurant before entering the sight. At the entrance to the ruins the prices were 700 LEK per foreign visitor, 500 LEK per foreign visitor in a group, 300 LEK for an Albanian visitor and 400 LEK for a child. So it was an entrance fee of 1,400 LEK and so we followed the cruise ship visitors that had just descended on the place by bus load.

We walked around the remains. The signs at the entrance had said no smoking, walk on the path and beware the insects and snakes. The last bit made us hopeful we'd see something other than roman ruins. We waited at the first part, an amphitheatre, for the hoards to disappear. Here Cassie discovered a turtle in the water around the ruins. From here we wondered around, skirting the crowds. It was extremely hot, and we were all dripping in sweat by the end. Afterwrds Dan and Cassie got themselves and ice cream and I got a can of cold Coca Cola.

We decided to head off and find a camp on the beach somewhere. Yesterday Dan had noticed that the radius arm bushes needed changing, especially if we wanted to tackle a few more gravel tracks during the holiday. We had seen plenty of 'Autoservis' places along the road and so we went in search of one that could fit us in. We tried a few and they all pointed us to someone else as they were far to busy. Eventually on the way out of Butrint, we stopped at a small garage we had noticed on our way in. He was now quiet and Dan asked if he could do the work, it would only take 1 hour. The guy agreed. He spoke good english and so Dan changed into some shorts and negotiated the car above a pit. Cassie and I sat in the car trying not to expire, while Dan helped the guy change the bushes. All done for 2000 LEK. Luckily Dan had the spares in the car … Not bad!

We were off now in search of a beach to stay on. They all looked packed and we could not find a turning to some. So, we decided to stop for lunch somewhere. We came across a little village and went to a restaurant. Here the owner spoke good english and we ordered lamb with a greek salad. The owner chafed to us about working on cruise ships and seeing the world, but how now he water to settle in Albania. We asked him about the ferries from Vlorë to Brindisi. He recommended going from Igoumenista instead and offered to let us use the internet to check fares.We thanked him and Dan did just that. The prices and info was not helpful as the ferry from Vlorë did not show up in the searches. We thanked the owner and hit the road once more.

Eventually we stopped at a little cove we had spotted on the way past yesterday. The water edge was lined with mobile homes, which we only assumed were stopping for the night. As we approached and stopped, a funny Albanian man came up to us and asked where we were from. We told him England and asked if it was ok to stay. He said sure no problem, just park. Dan asked if he wanted money, he said that wasn't necessary, we were his friends … we concluded he was a little strange and parked up anyway, changed into our kozzies, and went for a dip.

Cassie immediately spotted sea urchins in the water, so we tried to avoid these. Later on we spoke to a lady who had stood n one and was trying to get the poison out her toe. Cassie got the snorkel and mask out and did a little look see in the water. She stayed in for ages! All of a sudden there was a ruckus, some locals nearby had caught an octopus. They started throwing it onto the rocks whilst screaming and shouting. I found this really upsetting. Why not just kill it humanely and hopefully not as sport, but to take it back and eat it later.

As we had been sitting on the beach, the wind had been building. We decided to set the tent up and head for the restaurant for dinner across the road from the bay. As we had eaten a big lunch, we decided to go for a snack type dinner … this didn't really happen. Dan ordered calamari and I the seafood spaghetti, Cas shared both. The wind was now quite strong. We wondered back to the tent and got ready for bed. Whilst we lay in the tent, we were whipped and bashed. Dan and I worried about it not being safe in the tent with the wind at this strength, so we gathered up our sleeping stuff, closed up the tent and bundled into the car.

What a night of horror! I personally got NO sleep … Dan says he managed a wink or two and I think Cassie was the luckiest out of us all. She probably managed an hour or so. To say we woke early would be an understatement. We were up before 6, teeth brushed and outta there. We were the walking dead but we still headed for Vlorë to see how much it would be to catch the ferry to Brindisi.

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