Mandatory coffee breaks

Pogradec Travel Blog

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Mountains at the coffee stop

I catch y connecting bus in Elbasin and we drive out of town. The roads are incredible in this part of the country. For a moment I you could think you were on a newly renovated western European road - there is not a single pothole in the road. It feels strange driving on a road with a pothole. It is sort of unnatural for Albania. And the bus is doing incredible speed - it might be going 50k per hour or something like this.

 

We drive on for 45 minutes but then it happens - the Albanian bus drivers don’t seem to be allowed to drive more than 40k in an hour it would be considered a breach of the union contracts. Hence after 45 minutes we go for a 20 minutes long coffee break. After the coffee break it is time to start driving towards the border at Lake Ohrid. We drive up a road on a small mountain chain and the road change from superb condition to standard Albanian condition and we bump along the road.

 

The drive in the mountain is quite scenic and I get a bit of a look of the many tiny bunkers in Albanian as a constant reminder of the communist era.

The road towards Lake Ohrid
I get to Pogradec and pay the bus driver with my last lekes. Now I only need to find a taxi to take me to the border to Macedonia.

 

I find a car - Mercedes of course it is Albania after all - and I wake up the driver asking him how much it is. The driver speaks no English so asking him for the price to go to the border is a bit of a problem. The drive is not very long so I expect to pay something like 3-400 leke or maybe 5€.

 

The driver tells me a price of 15€ which is much more than I would expect to pay. Hence I give him an answer sounding very surprised - if he really means 15€. He say no no and the he corrects the price from 15€ to 50€. That doesn’t really comfort me all that much - and the driver realizes this. Fortunately the car windows are really dusty and the driver decides to clarify the price by writing it on the dusty window. He write 5€ which is a bit more than it should be but I am almost all out of lekes hence there would not be much of a point trying to haggle about the price given I got no change. So I get in and we drive for a few minutes to the border where I get out of the car and get ready to walk across the border.

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Mountains at the coffee stop
Mountains at the coffee stop
The road towards Lake Ohrid
The road towards Lake Ohrid
The road towards Lake Ohrid
The road towards Lake Ohrid
The road towards Lake Ohrid
The road towards Lake Ohrid
The road towards Lake Ohrid
The road towards Lake Ohrid
The road towards Lake Ohrid
The road towards Lake Ohrid
Pogradec
photo by: tj1777