Passing through Shkoder and on to Budva, Montenegro

Shkoder Travel Blog

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Hilltop fortress in Shkoder
The main purpose for visiting Shkoder must be to catch a bus to Budva we decided. As we arrived in town... to catch a bus to Budva (Montenegro), we were inundated by taxis and mini bus drivers chanting Budva, Budva, and offering us rides for outrageous fees. That made more sense when we got there and saw that it was an expensive coastal resort... It's a nice little town though, and we had a couple hours to explore it.

As we got off the bus and were crossing the traffic circle in the main square, we were suddenly trapped by whirling, honking cars, decorated for a wedding, parading around the circle. We waved and took pictures and they redoubled their honking and threw us handfuls of cigarettes so we sat down and watched them enjoy themselves. They finally broke orbit and within a minute a second wedding party arrived to drive the circle.
Smoking mosque?
Everyone was just so much more lighthearted and excited than we'd seen with the Serbian or Bulgarian weddings. Albania was like that.

We stopped in a tiny cafe, ordered a beer, and on the way out timidly asked our usual favor - could we maybe leave our huge packs somewhere just for a little while. As usual the answer was - grabbing the packs and toting them off with lots of "no problem" and refusing even a tip for the beers. We cruised around town for a while, wishing we could stay a little longer. There was a huge medieval fortress on a nearby hill, and it was nice walking the ancient streets of the town. It's one of the oldest settlements in Albania. After a lunch of... well you know... we headed for the bus. But there were no seats for sale when it came through.
Monument to war heros in the central square
Not good since we were trying to rush back to Croatia - only 3 days until the flight!

All of the mini buses and taxis we has rejected were long gone, but we finally found a guy to drive us down for about the bus fare. If you hang around the bus station in most of these places, people with cars kind of come out of the woodwork and offer rides... We felt kind of bad for the guy, especially after we'd seen just how bad the road was, how long it took to get there (all afternoon) and all the tolls and fees he had to pay. I don't see how he made anything after paying for the gas...

We took a tiny, winding back road through farms, over hills, across narrow bridges, and into the mountains to the border. There the tiny crossing was clogged with a huge line of cars heading for the coast. Driver sighed a little, but patiently sat for over an hour, chatting with other drivers and playing with a huge spider while we waited.

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Hilltop fortress in Shkoder
Hilltop fortress in Shkoder
Smoking mosque?
Smoking mosque?
Monument to war heros in the centr…
Monument to war heros in the cent…
Two wedding parties circled the tr…
Two wedding parties circled the t…
Tuning in...
Tuning in...
On the side of a mosque
On the side of a mosque
A tiny railroad for children runs …
A tiny railroad for children runs…
...well each just a have a couple…
...we'll each just a have a coupl…
Albanian TV - loooots of folk musi…
Albanian TV - loooots of folk mus…
Ok, maybe the beers were a little …
Ok, maybe the beers were a little…
This guy was cool.  Without hesita…
This guy was cool. Without hesit…
We found a guy to drive use 4 hour…
We found a guy to drive use 4 hou…
This poor guy drove couldnt have …
This poor guy drove couldn't have…
The border with Montenegro
The border with Montenegro
A big, slow line to cross the boar…
A big, slow line to cross the boa…
Our driver plays with a grape-size…
Our driver plays with a grape-siz…
A friend we met while waiting at t…
A friend we met while waiting at …
Cracking down on human smuggling
Cracking down on human smuggling
Mountains of Montenegro across the…
Mountains of Montenegro across th…
Shkoder
photo by: EmEm