24 bottles of sunflower oil
Trip Start Sep 05, 2011
51Trip End Jan 04, 2012
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We hopped on our first bus to Ulcinj after paying our rape charge of 1 euro to leave our bags on the seat. The view out the window was less pretty than it had been in croatia and it was obvious that Montenegro was a much poorer place
Ulcinj was a shithole and Montenegrins were not winning any awards for friendliness and helpfulness. We wandered through this bleak, unattractive monstrosity of a craphole in an attempt to find the fabled 3pm minibus to shkodra in Albania. Luckily a kid came up to me asking if I wanted a taxi and when I mentioned shkodra he brought me over to his friend who said he would take us for £5, much better than the 30 euro the taxis were asking for.
We jumped into a 1970s white Mercedes which had over 470,000 miles on the clock. The car was essentially a skip with wheels. The handles were coming off, parts of the inside of the car were held together with sellotape. We motioned to put on our seatbelts and the driver laughed – they don’t do seatbelts in Albania apparently. I had a feeling that even if we crashed, the car would instantly explode and seatbelts wouldn’t be much use anyway.
We stopped at a shop so that he could buy 24 bottles of sunflower oil and then we were off
He dropped us off to Shkodra center and luckily we were beside a tourist office so we popped in. apparently the hotel behind it was the cheapest accommodation in town, which was surprising as that honour usually goes to some granny’s flat or a bin. Hotel Rozafa was somewhere in between. It was previously a four star hotel that was being renovated. It was a huge 12 storey hotel that I imagine in communist times was probably the place to be. Now, however, it was an empty concrete fortress with a vagazzled reception that covered a crumbling interior. You could hear the wind howling in the corridors and it really reminded me of the hotel in the shining - you really wouldn’t want to be walking around alone in this place at all. I loved it however as it had more character than everywhere else we’d been.
Our room was cheap cheap and had a balcony with a full on view of the towns biggest mosque. No more than 60m away in either direction were an orthodox church and a catholic church and the 3 formed an interesting triangle.
We ate in a 4 star hotel with super powerful lighting. Albanians are really lovely and friendly people but their interior decorating sucks. Think gaudy colours and fake wood with over the top plastic chandeliers and some granny’s seat covers. We made our way back home through a thunder storm and a couple of power cuts, of which Albania is famous for. We dashed to the safety of the hotel and I sat outside on the balcony writing my diary with a full on lightning storm to entertain me.