Alan and Jean sharing our cruising news with friends, family.

20 July 2015 | Rabi Island Fiji
29 June 2015 | Suva Fiji
18 December 2013 | Auckland
05 December 2013 | Auckland
27 October 2013 | Vavau Tonga
12 September 2013 | Samoa
24 July 2013 | Moorea, Tahiti
19 July 2013 | Papeete
19 June 2013 | Nuka Hiva
02 June 2013 | Pacific Ocean
29 May 2013 | Pacific Ocean
24 May 2013 | Eastern Pacific Ocean
19 May 2013 | Western Pacific Ocean
16 May 2013 | Western Pacific Ocean
13 May 2013 | Isla Isabella
06 May 2013 | Isla Isabella
08 April 2013 | Shelter Bay marina, Colon.
28 March 2013 | Belize
27 March 2013 | Belize
03 March 2013 | Panamarina, Panama

Albania a country of contrasts

08 November 2010 | Montenegro
First day of rain
8th November 2010

Albania a country of contrasts, flocks of turkeys being herded along the side of the road in front of new houses, yards full of car wrecks, car washes keeping Mercedes clean, tractors used to plough fields, donkey carts for transport, cows grazing in suburban paddocks, mobile phone toting teenagers, entrails and lung on the menu, bumpy roads and smooth motorways, two café/bars on every corner only serving coffee and alcohol. The modern world mixing with the old makes for an interesting visit. We are completely confused about the huge number of buildings big and small that are not finished. Often the bottom story is occupied and the outside painted but the remaining one or two stories are still bare brick , no windows and mainly used to hang out the washing. The top story always has the steel rods sticking out waiting for another level to be added. We have seen these type of unfinished buildings in other countries but not the number that are in Albania. With the language difficulties its hard enough getting buses sorted without asking complicated questions as to why these buildings are unfinished.

Berat is a good example of this mix of ages, the hilly old town looking down on the new spread along the river flats. The most interesting part was the area called Kale, the old town inside the castle walls perched on the top of a hill. The climb up the steep hill required many stops for a look at the view while we caught our breathe. It was worth the effort. The fort had remnants of Illyrian, Byzantine, Venetian and Ottoman Turk buildings shown to us by a an old local who decided we needed a history lesson in return for a little beer money. The Castle is a living museum as most of the houses are occupied. Our guide showed us the ancient underground cistern where water was stored for the town . Luckily he showed us the entrance other wise we could have fallen into it, no guard rails or warning notices. The Fortress and its history is the most interesting we have seen so far. When we returned to the town below we found the Turkey market and could have purchased a live one but we decided our bags were full enough!!

From Berat we went to Tirana, the capital where we found Albanias answer to MacDonald's, Kolanta. Happy Children's meals, the chip packets almost identical the big difference was that MacDs doesn't sell alcohol or pizza. We generally try to give MacD type dinners a miss but in Tirana we found it difficult to find somewhere to eat even though there were 2 or 3 bars on every corner. The trouble was they only served alcohol or coffee, no food. We decided one night was enough in Tirana and moved on today intending to stay at Shrodra near the border with Montenegro. Once there we decided there was no reason to stay the night so looked for the mini bus to Ulcinj in Montenegro. We were told there was none today being Sunday but were not sure if that was correct or not because it was the Taxi driver who were telling us this! After lunch and a few more enquiries we decided they were probably correct. Nothing is ever clear where language difficulties and money are involved. There was an Albanian lady who wanted to share a taxi to Ulcinj so we settled on a price and away we went. The taxi driver also changed our remaining Albanian Lek into Euros, it is impossible to change Lek outside of Albania.
Once at Ulcinj our traveling companion got out and the taxi driver said he could take us to Bar for a few more Euro. From Bar we got a bus through to Kotor. A good decision.

The old town of Kotor or Kotor Stadi Grad is an interesting maze of cobbled streets. On one side overlooked by a mountain topped by ancient fortifications and on the other the bay of Kotor laps the city. Today is the first day of drizzle so not sure if we will climb some or all of the 1250 steps to the top of the fortifications overlooking Kotor.

Vessel Name: Tuatara
Vessel Make/Model: Alan Wright 51
Hailing Port: Opua NZ
Crew: Alan and Jean Ward

Sailing in the Pacific

Who: Alan and Jean Ward
Port: Opua NZ