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We didn’t see Norman Wisdom in a cafe in downtown Tirana nor a nail bitting England World Cup qualifier , but we did see a country  behind in progress compared to it’s neighbours and experienced some hell raising driving.

We are now in Thessaloniki after two days driving from Dubrovnik through Montenegro and Albania. It didn’t start well when we were refused entry into Bosnia because the border officials were unwilling to sell us border insurance as we had no green card. We turned around and headed down the coast and entered Montenegro with no problems.

Fearing the same issue entering Albania, we approached the border cautiously knowing it wasn’t a main border crossing. Luckily we had no problems, but we were told to get short-term insurance  in Shkoder, the nearest town.  After driving around for a while we stopped and I started a conversation with a Mercedes parts dealer and soon the owner was calling his insurance comany. Ten minutes later the owner of the insurance company was with us. The sitaution was helped when a young Albanian man from London appeared from nowhere to help us with translation. He was back in Shkoder for a month and his translation helped; before we knew it we were following the  insurance man to his office to sort it out. All worked out well; I paid for 2 weeks insurance for €27 and we were on our way again.

We were aiming to get in and out of Albania the same day, but getting through Tirana proved to be a nightmare. Heavy traffic and crazy overtaking on bad roads meant we didn’t get through Tirane till after 7pm.

Landy , a man who we met when we took a break having driven over  the 2000ft pass after the capital, said we could rest up for the night in our tent by setting it up behind his house. He fed us and gave us a few beers and  a Albanian liquor called Raki whilst we chatted all night. I didn’t feel too great in the morning!

We crossed the border into Greece at 9:30 on Friday morning. All of the photos, below,  were taken on our journey to the border.

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We made it into the centre of Dubrovnik after I spent almost 2 hours downloading the second episode of Curb your Enthusiam, season 7!

Also check out this gallery we came across down a side street. Unfortunately it was closed.

http://www.warphotoltd.com/

Long day in the car Thursday. Three or four borders depending on the route we finally choose later. We will pass through Montenegro, Kosovo, Albania and Macedonia before we enter Greece tomorrow afternoon.

Photo I took whilst we were waiting for lunch.

Dubrovnik

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The A1 is the only motorway in Croatia which links  Zagreb to southern Croatia. The stretch near Dubrovnik is still under construction so we rejoined the coastal road to arrive in Dubrovnik Tuesday afternoon.

We left Venice last Thursday, driving briefly through Slovenia briefly and then hit Croatia to get our first stamp in our passports.

The second night in Croatia was almost enough to send us back home. We had two days of constant rain in a National park near the Bosnian border called Plitvicka Jezera. We sampled bell cooking and had some fantastic lamb and  local sausages whilst we forgot about the rain. I tried to enjoy the sour milk whilst Bun had Orangina.

Following that we had two days taking it easy, following the stunning Dalmatian coast south. The first aid kit got it’s first use when I stepped on a sea urchin after snorkelling. Before using it I had to get the spines extracted by a doctor in a town called Tisno on the island of Murter.  I walked in and no hanging around she saw to me straight away. I translated ‘Catasrophe’ whilst she was examining my toe!

Poor Bun has been doing all the driving since Italy. My International Driving Permit has finally arrived and is now sitting in a DHL office in Thessaloniki in Greece waiting for me to pick it up. I’ll be ready for driving when the show really starts in the Middle East and Africa!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/amillerphotos/

2ndcartoon-venice http://www.tonyhusband.co.uk

http://www.flickr.com/photos/amillerphotos/

Finally in Venice! Lots of driving and we both feel tired. Venice was the first goal and we can now take it easy for 2 days before heading to Croatia. I’m looking forward to the 1st episode from the 7th season of Curb your Enthusiasm I have just downloaded

The weather was much colder than we were expecting in Switzerland with snow covered peaks and mountain passes that are already closed. Thank you, Sally for having us and fattenining us up for the long journey ahead.

We approached Italy via the 17km Gotthard tunnel and then made our way around Milan towards Bergamo.

We stopped briefly  in Salo on Lake Garda and then drove down to Venice late last night.

The back of the Landcruiser is a bit of a mess. Waiting for some warmer weather to organise everything after chucking it in the back when we left last week. It’s taking a while to find things in the back!

Hard to imagine we will be hitting the Middle East in a few weeks or so, let alone Africa.

I’m still waiting for my International Driving Permit as I didn’t receive my license back in time from the DVLA. All will be sorted by Istanbul when I need it for the first time.
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It’s good to finally get going. It was sad leaving everyone on Thursday.

We are currently in Switzerland after covering 645 miles. We aim to take it easy on Sunday before heading to Venice.
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Day 2

Bad weather in Switzerland

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http://www.alanmillerphotos.com

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