|By car from Tirana to Sarande|
the 10th till the 14th of December 2004 we went with 4 people for business
to Sarande. Because of our experience with the boat from Corfu to Sarande
in December 2002 we choose for a flight to Tirana with a stop in Milano.
From there we would go by car to Sarande. The connection in Milano was
enough on paper (almost one hour), but in practice the check of the
hand-luggage at the transfer-flights took a lot of time. At first there
were only 2 of the 3 check-gates operational and there were at least
150 people waiting. Probably the detectors were adjusted too sensible,
because I (and a lot of people with me) never had to undress that much:
we had to take off watch, belt and shoes with some metal eyes before
the gate didn't make a sound anymore. This all took us about 50 minutes.
At the airport of Tirana the luggage was checked again, but now everything was ok. After paying the usual 10 euro we were allowed to enter Albania. Out-site there was waiting a crowd of taxi-drivers who offered us their services. We were picked up by a brother of my son-in-law Tani who lives in Tirana.
You may expect that the
road from the airport tot the capitol is in good condition, but far
from that. First we passed some picturesque bridges en small roads
you can expect during a trip in the country-side. That we came at
a more wider road that leads us to Tirana. The condition of this road
was mostly acceptable, but especially the first part close to the
airport was bad till terrible.
After we have put our luggage
on our rooms we went into the centre to have some food and something
to drink. I have never seen a more colourful city as Tirana (for pictures
look at the site about Tirana). It is a city where they have already
fixed a lot of things, but were there are also a lot of things that
have to be fixed. The traffic is very hectic and for sure at the Skanderbeg-square
it looks (and is) chaotic.
After a good and cheap
meal we passed by at a friend of Tani who owns a bar in the centre.
After several metaxa and some champagne we went to the hotel because
we wanted to be out of Tirane before the morning-traffic.
In spite of the inconvenience it was an experience I didn't want to miss. You have to be driving alert at a low speed and get more admiration for the quality of mecedes. I was also surprised by the great tolerance most of the road-users showed. If a car overtakes an other car at a very unsurveyable place and there is a meeting vessel coming, that vessel slows down and waits until that other car wents back to its own lane. No light-signals, no blowing of the horn and certainly no gestures with hand or finger.
Never the less there are a lot of accidents at this road. Especially where the asphalt is in a good condition a lot of Albanian drivers want to push their car to the limit and often they don't do this in a responsible way. They loose control of the wheel of they under-estimate the speed of meeting vessels.
The road from Tirana to Sarande has one advantage: there are hardly any cross-roads so you can't get lost because signposts aren't present everywhere. I expect that a big part of this road will be fixed every year, because they are working hard. A good road-system is necessary for this country.
|(click on photo to enlarge)|
|Some impressions of the environment during the trip|
|You can find this kind of road surface on the main-road Tirana-Sarande|