Day 20 - Secret Beach to Italian B&B

A 5 minute read, Posted by Dan on Thu, Aug 15, 2013
In Albania, Defender, Free Camping, Overland, Summer 2013, Travel
Tags bad nights sleep, winding road

We were up very early thanks to having had no sleep. Dan started the day with a 5am swim!

It was a departure of 6am for us after we brushed our teeth and dressed. We decided to find a café along the way and get some breakfast and a coffee.

We made our way back up the winding road that you take to get down to the Southern part of Albania. At the top there is a restaurant, it looked open and was serving a few travellers, so we decided to stop. We ordered coffee and asked for the menu for breakfast. We got the impression that breakfast wasn't a big meal in Albania and ordered toast with butter and honey and toast with butter and jam. What we got was warmed up slices of bread with a side plate that had a lump of butter and a dollop of honey or jam. The butter was rancid and the Jam was a little different. We ate the bread.

We had decided to head for Vlorë and enquire about the ferry, see if it did take cars and how much it was. When we got into Vlorë, we could see the port with a ferry anchored, but we couldn't see how to get to the port. Eventually we came across a sign and turned down a road … well, we ended up stuck as we found ourselves surrounded by bollards. There was a gap in the bollards where someone had obviously tried to drive over them and knocked one off. We are a high vehicle, so we just drove over it, down the incredibly high kerb and out into the traffic going onto the roundabout.

We eventually found the port and parked the land, grabbed our passports and documentation and went in search of tickets. Not a hard thing as the street was lined with ticket shops. The fair, including the car and 2 adults and 1 child came to €206 one way. We were informed it departed at 1pm and to check in at 12.30pm the latest. We bought the ticket, but now had a few hours to kill before we embarked. We decided to wonder around Vlorë, find a supermarket and exchange our LEK. The supermarket part was easier said than done, but we did manage to exchange our left over LEK. With that done we headed for an air conditioned café to have a drink and wait out our remaining time.

At 12.30 we got in the car and headed towards the ferry. We came across a mishmash of higgledy piggledy park cars and young boys shouting at us to buy cigarettes. One of the young boys pointed to an office and said, "You go give ticket there.". Dan thanked him and hopped out with the tickets and passports. A gentleman at the office helped Dan with the odd check in procedure and then we were off and boarding the ferry.

We parked, gathered our bits and bobs for the journey and went up to find a table. We were all tired from last night and were hoping to be able to get some shut eye on the journey. The gentleman that had helped Dan appeared, along with his wife and son. He is married to an English lady and every year they journey to Italy and Albania to visit his family. They warned us that even though we were told a 1pm departure, it would be more like 3pm departure. With this knowledge we settled ourselves for a long day.

Finally at 2.28pm the ferry started moving. We were off! Only another 5 hours to go!

The journey was long and very boring. We were also warned not to eat the food on the ferry, so we settled for pre packaged crisps and biscuits. After disembarking, it was now 7.30pm and we decided to head a little south from Brindisi. We have no Italy maps and our GPS is still dead, so we looked for a services so we could buy a map of the area. After a few failed attempts, Dan pulls into one and manages to get a map. He asked a gentleman in the services if there was camping, the guy was apparently rather rat arsed, but very helpful and pointed Dan in the direction of a few campsites. Now we just had to find them.

We got a little lost, and as the time ticked on, we could not find a campsite. We looked for the obligatory signs, but found none. After 2 hours we finally see a sign, and we follow it … and we follow it … and we follow it. We are now desperate to sleep and eat and decide to just check into a hotel. The first hotel we see, that is easy to park in, we pull into to ask if they have a room. Unfortunatley for us, they are completely full! We are informed that all the hotels are completely full and that we will struggle to find a room as it is Italy's 2 week holiday period. He kindly calls around and finds a B&B that have a free room, but it will cost us €100 for the night including breakfast. Bggars can't be chooses, so we thank the guy and take the room.

The owner of the B&B came to meet us at the hotel and show us the way back to the B&B. We followed him, pulled into the B&B, took the room key, had a shower and collapsed .. sparko till the next morning!

We woke not to early, but not to late and had showers. We then went to have breakfast. We were all starving as we never did get to eat dinner the night before. Breakfast consisted of a buffet style arrangement with fresh fruits, fruit juice, bread, butter, jam and some poached fruit and a lemon compot thing. We were simply enjoying eating when a plate of cakes is put down onto our table … a very sweet breakfast, Cassie certainly wasn't complaining.

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