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Diary: 2017 December - Montenegro and Albania
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Description: A day of learning
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On the move again - 06/12/2017
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Today we are going to drive through Montenegro and in to Albania. Another of those blogs without many photographs!

We set up the SatNav and chose the route which would take the least time, and set off at 10:00hrs for the mountain boarder crossing at Cućišta. The drive up in to the mountains was spectacular to say the least. Deep valleys, snow capped mountains and icicles... so picturesque.

We passed a group of streams cascading over a cliff face next to the road but just to late to stop to take photos of the ice engulfed grassicles as we barrelled on towards the Montenegrin border. At last we reached the pass in to Montenegro and cleared Croatian customs We arrived at the Montenegrin police check, the temperature was -1°C.

"Passports, Vehicle Registration Documents and Green Card please." The friendly policeman asked.

"We need to buy insurance." I replied as Julia passed over our documents.

"Um... err..." he looked confused "Go and ask in the office"

I took back the passports and car documents and walked over to a group of doors and entered... there was no one there. The smell of cigarettes filled the air of the cold damp room, painted all over in an on off grey pallor. I left, and tried the next door, which was locked and so, returned to the previous door. As if by teleport, a man, matching the grey decor, was sitting behind the desk.

"I need to buy a green card or insurance for Montenegro, can you help?"

He stood up and came around the desk, did a double take at my shorts and sandals and with a huge smile on his wrinkled face announced with glee "You are a Viking!" He then turned and exited the building motioning for me to stay.

I sat and waited for about 5 minutes before he returned, looking worried "Um... err... I'm sorry, but we have run out of the forms."

It turns out that we now have to turn around and get in to Montenegro by the coastal route.

We were allowed through the border to drive through a snow drift and return, through 'No Mans Land' and back in to Croatia. We drove the stopping at the icicles to take a couple of photographs then passing the entrance to the last campsite and headed along the coast to the boarder crossing at the Karasovici/Debeli Brijeg crossing, where we sailed through without a problem, after paying the small charge for Border Insurance.

The roads in Montenegro were relatively new and in good condition. We drove to the amazing inlet, known locally as the Montenegrin Fjord, to Kotor and from there to Budva and onward towards the border crossing Muriqan - Sukobin, as we neared it, the road deteriorated in to a massive 10km set of roadworks. The sides of the roads had collapsed in what looked like a huge flood or storm and, in the dark, we ground to a halt at a set of traffic lights. All hell broke out, flashing lights and horns blasting. We drove through the red lights and worked our way along the bulldozed route. The route, obviously used by the locals who had pushed us through the red light. The drive was the longest drive of the past 3 years and I was so glad when we reached a T junction on to a main road where we passed through the first ever dual nationality border crossing.

We drove on, in the dark, following the SatNav to our next campsite. The entrance, when we got there was narrow and dark. We pulled off the main road and down a narrow track... to a dead end!

We reversed back towards the main road and a flat piece of land. After a couple of shunts back and forth, we motor moved the caravan the last few feet, on to level ground, reattached the car and drove out of the driveway with a huge CRUNCH!. We drove back to the previous roundabout and turned in to the entrance of a large carpark for a restaurant. The carpark security came out, all smiles and pointed out that this was the restaurant and the campsite was next door, back another entrance.

We turned around in the carpark and drove over the pavement and down to the campsite. We had arrived at Camping Legjenda in Shkoder, the second biggest city in Albania. We sorted out a pitch then realised that the motor movers had stopped working on one side of the caravan. So that was the crunch we heard. We abandoned the caravan in a level position with the legs down and hooked up to the mains then we went to the restaurant for a drink and a meal.

A day I hope to never go through that again!
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