Day 8 - Fri 25 Sept 09
Up at 06:00 and out of our digs at 06:50, I've only seen one other person the whole time I was there. Anyway walked through the deserted cobbled stone streets with only the street cleaner keeping us company. The first bus south was supposed to arrive at 07:10, but it doesn't appear until 07:30, and when we set off it's apparent why. It's top speed is 40kph.
The guys sitting opposite us have "business class" as the seats in front of them have been ripped out (and thrown at the back of the bus), hence they have extra leg room. The bus crawls along (especially up hill) but eventually gets us to Bar. The bus station is way out of town so we just purchase the next ticket to Ulcinj, and hang around for a half hour. The next bus appears, and it seems that this was the 08:00 from Kotor, so we could have had an extra hour in bed. Oh well. This bus is slightly better and can do 60kph! The road to Ulcinj is up and down hill.
At Ulcinj we purchase another bus ticket for €6 to get across the border to Shkodra in Albania. However it doesn't leave for another two hours. After a bit of haggling I find a taxi that will do the job for €25, and I even manage to get € back from the ticket office in the bus station!
We head off in a brand new VW Passat estate, it's a very twisty road but we get to the border in less than an hour. We join the queue of cars, but it doesn't take long to get to the front and hand over the passports.
Crossing the border seems to be like heading back about 30 years - there are a lot of horse drawn carts on the Albanian side. After a bit we arrive in Shkodra and the taxi driver drops us at a roundabout - the place is mobbed with people, but we spot a bus just across the road with Durres on the front. There's a lot of traffic but crossing the road is easy, just step out. It seems that 400 Lek will get us to Durres. Head back across the road to the bank to change some money. As soon as I walk in the door a guy waves us over and is writing out an exchange form - well I guess it was a bit obvious what was needed! €50 gets 6700 Lek.
The bus takes just over three hours to get to Durres, there appears to be a petrol station every 2km, and there are plenty of UK number plates on the cars here.
In Durres our first choice of B&B is full, but the hotel around the corner has a choice of rooms for €30. In the late afternoon walk down to the sea front to get something to eat, and end up having a drink in a tower built into the old city walls.