Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Albania May 29

arriving in Sarande in a lovely fresh nor wester
We have had such limited email access in Greece  but every now and then we find a
tendril of wi-fi and can send messages, even ( I hope) photos of us
sailing in to here.

Today we have had our first proper sail and we are now in a different
country! we have arrived in Albania, only 15 nautical miles from Corfu
town, but it could be another planet.

The Promenade, Sarande

It is only twenty years since the fall of the Communist era, and only
100 years since Albania was an independent country.

This city is Sarande, which is near an archaeological site called
Butrint that I am very keen to see. We will go tomorrow. We have an
agent here who arranged our berth and immigration all very efficiently
for sixty euros. Now we have to go and get some of the local currency,
the 'lek' ( about 138.5 leke to one euro apparently)

This city has all the communist era hallmarks, and surprisingly few
trees. Albania has a population o f 4 million and many more sheep, a
bit like NZ. The local languages are Gheg and Tosk. Hard to tell them
apart, really! Place names can have about three variants depending
whether they are Gheg, Tosk or Italian-derived.

Funny how your world on a boat diminishes on the one hand into whether
things are working on the boat ( sails and lines,  electrical systems,
plumbing, engine etc) and then, depending on where you get to, it also
expands enormously! We are thrilled to finally have the alternator working properly thanks to Panegiaros the marine electrician/mechanic in Corfu. This means we can motor at more than 4.5 knots! Freedom!

Albania is a place that all the yachting pilot books say to avoid ( so
naturally we are here). I think the books are out of date but we will
see. they say that the economy here is detrimentally and very directly
affected by the Greek downturn.

Anyway that's it for now - we have found so far that the Albanian
internet is considerably faster ( and cheaper) than the Greek version.

Our berth - we feel very secure next to the coast guard boats! 

No comments: