Day 11 - Mon 28 Sept 09
Up to catch the 08:20 bus back to the border with Albania. It's a little mini van type affair. One woman is sitting in the bus while her pal smokes a cigarette outside. She keeps waving her fag hand as she speaks wafting the smoke into the bus. Phil pipes up with the immortal line 'I wish she would talk with her other hand'.
These local buses seem to act as a kind of 'Tesco Direct', shopping can be loaded on to the bus at one point to be collected by someone else further down the line. The trip to the border cost us 110MK - a lot less than the €5 that it cost us in the taxi the other way. At the border we spot a coach with a group of Japanese Tourists and their local guide. There are 15 of them on a bus that can hold 55. It turns out that they are travelling our planned route. Korca and then onward to Gjirokastra, but rules are rules and they can't take us on the bus.
Passports are stamped, and we head off across no-mans-land again. This time we get a proper stamp from the Albanians. Sit down just past the border to have a DIY breakfast from the items in our bags, and spot our 'illegal' friend that we'd seen the day before last. The taxi's here are way to expensive, so set off on foot to cover the 4/6km into town. After a bit a taxi catches up with us, and the price drops by two thirds!
On the way into town the taxi driver spots a furgon and flags it down, so we're transferred in the middle of the street, and for 200Lek we're on the way to Korca where the beer of Albania is made - integrated transport of what?
Quite a bit out of town who overtakes us? The Japanese tour bus! We wave like mad and they spot us and wave back! Arrival in Korca is problematic as there is no Lonely Planet map, so working out where stuff is located is a nightmare. Eventually we find a hotel that seems to be quite nice, and with a bit of haggling I get a room for €29. No breakfast that that's perfect as we intend to be out of here at 06:00 tomorrow.
Find a fast food place to eat - which makes a nice break from the Italian food that seem to be the norm in this whole area of the world. After that we have a look around a street market that's selling everything from hats to welding gear. Oh, and odd shoes. I manage to buy a large heavy bolt that I intend to place in Phil's luggage with out his knowledge.
In the late afternoon walk up to the Korca Brewery - there's no chance of a tour of the place, but there is a beer garden next door that sells mugs of beer for €0.50, and chicken and chips, or sausage and chips for not much more.