Passing through Shkoder and on to Budva, Montenegro
Shkoder Travel Blog› entry 18 of 24 › view all entries
July 24th, 2008 – by: cneoridium
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.
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.
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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