We left Berat just after lunchtime and headed for the coast just south of the city of Vlore. The first part of the journey towards the city of Fier was on a road that defied the laws of physics with the limited tarmac available being on a different plane to the surrounding countryside. We have never been at so many different angles while driving. It was if Stephen Hawking had leapt from his wheelchair and solved the space-time continuum with us as his experimental space craft. It was a bloody nightmare. But as this is Albania fun and laughter were never far away. So first of let’s start with the sculpture. I am no Henry Moore but I can spot the difference between a Lowry and a Turner. Are they Sculptors? But I can recognise piss poor and the next photo is certainly that. Do not just laugh at the Easter Island genre but the size of the little soldiers head in the accompanying relief. See why they loved Norman Wisdom. They are besotted by the wee English clown.
And as we travelled along this road that was more like travelling across the ocean than any flat piece of land we come across buildings shaped like ships in the absolute middle of nowhere. We have not seen anything for dozens of miles except the odd mosquito infested swamp and we come to this.
One of the other amusing things you spot as travelling around this amusing little country is the hanging of cuddly toys from the rooves of buildings. These are the sorts of things you win at a travelling fair, or worse a village fete run by the Rotary Club. These foam-padded figurines are not just suspended but hung as if IS is going from house-to-house on a murderous spree of inanimate objects. We have been reliably informed they are to frighten away evil spirits. As if.
And lastly before we get to the meat of this East European sausage of an entry we have the problem of being a full-blooded male driver and flying by the local petrol stations. About every ten minutes or so I have to cross my legs and take a sharp in-take of breath because of this.
Once past Fier the road improves immensely and we pass through the Coastal city of Vlore. This is the Albanian version of Southend. It is not on sea it is on mud. It does not matter how many drug money financed tower blocks they build it will never be somewhere special like Blackpool, it will always be Southend. There is no sand, just mud. In addition, most of the tower blocks are not finished as the drug barons get occasionally lifted and the finance stops. Dreadful place. But as you get just a bit south the place improves remarkably and Radhime just happens to be one of those places.
We pulled into the auto camp, plugged-in, got the chairs out, freeloaded on the WiFi and chilled. Within a couple of minutes two very disturbing events happened; A pack of cows wandered from the campsite and more worryingly we were joined by an Australian couple.
If my memory serves me right our chums were called Paul and Shane and to clear things up Shane was the girly half of this couple. Yes I know to this nation of ours soon to depart the EU, Shane is normally a boy’s name associated with the Alan Ladd movie. Forget all that they were a great couple and we were all sitting around the van sucking on some sherbets when it started to pitter-patter. When we were wet through we opted to move inside to finish our slurpy before heading over to the restaurant for dinner.
Well within half an hour after the first drops of the wet stuff this happened. Watch this Flood.
Panic stations ensued. The wall between us and the river collapsed and the campsite and us were rapidly sinking. Us Anglo Saxons masterfully moved our motorhomes up on to higher ground and resumed drinking while laughing at the French chap in an inferior slidey-door contraption getting stuck in the rising waters. We laughed, had another beer and then rescued him. Not for the first time in the history of France this has happened I’m sure.
Over the Lamp Post
With the Pizza Oven short-circuited we made do with a few prawns, some cold chips and a bucket of wine. We had a fantastic evening, thank you Paul & Shane. Before leaving we took a couple of pictures to see of the after effects.
But even the floods did not take away a great stay in a great place with great people. And never park in a dry river bed, we did once, but we are stupid.
Love to All