The border control into Albania from Montenegro was an experience.

Sukobin Travel Blog

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The line for the line to enter the custom point in Montenegro towards Albania

The border control into Albania from Montenegro was an experience.

There is one road leading in to Albania coming from the coastline of Montenegro. The road doesn't seem like it’s the main entrance to a country from another. The road  is very narrow and it serpentines through a hilly region ending in a small village where you can see a little hut with two bars and a sign saying Carina (custom); here you find a small queue where nothing is moving; well that's how it looked the morning we arrived.

We waited for 15 min in the 35 degree sun before we could move forward for the first and just one car at the time but luckily after only further 10 min it was our turn.

The final custom point in Montenegro towards Albania. We are parked this far due to a sign wherefrom the police would call us to them!!
First control was by the custom for Montenegro. They checked the car, even the trunk and all the papers, gave us the obligatory stamps and we were on our way, or so we thought.

We went into a long stretch of no-man’s land where we were met by the same queue of cars from earlier on our side but looking to the other side there was an even longer line getting back in to Montenegro and our first thought was; what have we done, we will never get back in to Montenegro again.

After further 15-20 min it was our turn again. I did what the guy in front of me did; he was by the way just as lost as me, he was a German tourist. I left for the first window in a series of windows at a number of barracks in the middle of a field. Wrong window; very logically I had to start on the other side (the way out side) and bring all the papers of the car.

On happy cow not minding us as we drive by

I went for my new window and smiled to the guy inside but he was stone face himself, definitely a guy with few friends and an unhappy mother. I leaned on the holder in front of his window which I never should have done; it was burning hot from the +35 degrees sun and I felt like I was leaning directly on a hot stow. He asked for passports and he got them, he asked for the car papers and he got those as well. Then he said that he could not help me because my name was not on the registration papers of the car!

I said come on, still smiling though my arms were burning! My car was company leasing car and my name would never be on a certificate; the friendly guy still said; no way! Suddenly from out of nowhere his boss appeared behind him and pushed him away.

Traffic accident 100 meters after the Albanian borderline.
He shakes his head and said my name looking at me, then he filled it in some very formal documents with an eagle seal on and smiled to me and said; ok and that I had to go to the next window on the other side. The first guy from this window was still looking angry at me from behind.

I went to my first window and handed this guy the passports, and got a new series of questions but this time with a smile. I had to pay 10 euro in tax for each of us; then I got new stamps in the passports and I had also to show my new eagle car paper with my name on and all other car papers like the registration certificate, green insurance papers and so on. He asked me how long we were going to stay. I said that we would only be that day, I thought at the same time that getting in and out on the same must be some kind of a record with this bureaucracy!!

On the other side of the road where people were getting in to Montenegro was a complete chaos; 50-75 cars were queuing up getting in to Montenegro; nothing moved and the sun was frying everyone.

The car accident in Albania
Most of the people were waiting nicely but some were skipping line in the one-line queue; it was truly chaos. I asked my new friend behind the counter if the other border entry was like this as well; luckily he said no. According to him it was due to the Bar-Bari ferry to Italy, and most of the people here were heading for Italy with that ferry.

I got a smile from him letting me know that all was ok with my papers and I now was welcome in Albania.

This turned out to be easier said than done. A big angry Albanian woman with sweaty hair and hairy armpits was now blocking the entry to Albania because she wanted to skip the line and drive in my lane. She was cursing, yelling and waving her arms like a helicopter propel probably completely boiling up in here Mercedes. I kept on thinking that this was only the first control for her! The next one getting to Montenegro was even longer and completely stuck.

We finally managed to pass her and her fast followers because other panicking drivers followed her crazy example. What a place; a local gendarme was getting crazy about the chaos and started to shout at everybody! 

Driving a bit further we could see the full line getting out of Albania; it was huge! My girlfriend said; there is no way I am going back that way; knowing her I knew she meant it!! I told her we were taking another way and it calmed her down a bit.

Just after we passed the last car in the Albanian queue getting in to Montenegro we were blocked again! My girlfriend ran out and tried to see what happen because our view was blocked by a bus. This time it was serious traffic accident. I thought it looked bad and remembered that I just had read that traffic in Albania was murderous and more fatal than anywhere else in Europe. I don’t know if anybody was seriously hurt, but the two cars; an old Mercedes and a fruit lorry where both heavily damaged!

What a welcome to Albania

Chokk says:
Thaks why I went out of the northern border - it was horrible to get out where we went in.
Posted on: Dec 30, 2008
cneoridium says:
I remember being in the line going the other way this summer... 3 hours to process 20 cars! Getting through was only as easy as it was because an Albanian was driving who knew the secret handshake or something : )
Posted on: Dec 29, 2008
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The car accident in Albania
The car accident in Albania
photo by: Chokk