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This country was the biggest surprise of the whole trip. We expected a poor, Muslim country. We found new roads and buildings all along the coast. It the communist times religion was banned and many Albanians are still atheist. We were surprised to see so many Mercedes cars. I read that in the 90' when communism collapsed, a huge smuggling racket sprang up, bringing stolen Mercedes from Germany. After crossing the border the road was terrible, and we were shocked by huge amount of rubbish on the side of the road. We arrived in Shkoder 15km from the border and from there the roads were mostly new. But rubbish was always there, Albania must be the dirtiest country I have seen in Europe.

We went to Tirana for a few hours. Driving there was challenging, drivers use their horns a lot and there seem to be no rules. Many people cycle against the flow of traffic. I got used to that and it wasn't so bad in the end. Tirana was colorful, dirty and noisy, just like many big cities. From there we went to Durres. It's a big port city with a lot of history. There are many archaeological attractions, like the Roman amphitheater or Byzantine city walls. We kept driving south along the coast. There was a lot of police on the way, but they didn't bother us.  I stopped once but the policeman was surprised and said "OK?" "OK", I replied. We exchanged a few more OKs and we took off.

The road went up the mountains in zig-zags reaching over 1000m at Llogaraja Pass. It dropped down from there all the way to the Ionian Sea, and we spent a couple of days there. We camped on a deserted beach called Drymades. It's amazing to stand on a beach and have 1.5km high mountains right in front! The only reminder that we were in Albania were the bunkers. That's right, there are 700 000 bunkers in Albania, built in the communist times. Each weighing around 5 tonnes, they are virtually impossible to remove. Many Albanians admit to losing their virginity in the safety of a bunker. That's what I call safe sex!