The Office

This has been my office for the week. At the top left you can see the GPS transmiiter that sends my current location the the rally organisers. This allows them to see my location at all times and to know if I am on track or heading the wring way. Top left is my ICO showing kilometres ridden, it is used together with the roadbook (centre). As you can see, I am at kilometre 192.

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Bunkers

Albania is covered in these bunkers, about 170,000 of them. Built during the communist era, you can read all about them on wikipedia. On my last trip to Albania, although looking for them I never saw any. This time I have seen three in a couple of days.

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What are the chances?

They put us in a hotel owned and run by the brewery next door. Free beer all night! What could go wrong?

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Illyria Raid - Breakdown

Today was a good day. After really feeling it on the first day I took a relatively easy second day and recovered enough to feel much better on day 3. Yesterday we left Greece and entered Albania and headed for Pogradec. The trail was a lot less technical but still challenging. I did manage to lose the trail at one point, as the roadbook was not very clear on one particular section.

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Illyria Raid - day 2

Yesterday was the first day of the raid, and to say it was hard going would be a bit of an understatement! I left Ioannina at 08:00 and was ready to give up after the first 30km. But as it turned out, that was the easy bit. The terrain was bery rocky, with the occasional boulder thrown in, and the occasionall small stream. On one section a rock slide completely blocked the road, making it impassable for the SSVs, fortunately there were enough other competitors around that we could lift and drag the bikes across.

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Illyria Adventure

Finally, after being cancelled last year due to some pandemic or something, I am sitting in Athens airport on my way to the start of the Illyria Raid. I have about an 8 hour wait here for a connecting flight to take me to Ioannina and the starting point of the rally. I’ve walked the delarture lounge, looked around WH Smith (in Greece, who knew?) and had a coffee. Only thing left to do now is write some rubbish here.

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Horizons Unlimited Meetup - Montenegro

Driving through Kolasin you could be in the Alps, little wooden houses adorn both sides of the road. The houses start to thin out a bit and it’s not long until there are just trees. Riding along the narrow road I pass some pretty serious looking construction traffic travelling in both directions, and the road surface starts to deteriorate slightly. It’s not long before I come across the reason for the construction traffic, as the road opens out into what looks like a quarry. It’s about the size of a football pitch with one or two big lorries and diggers scattered about.

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Lake Komani

Still a few days to kill before I need to be in Montenegro so I decided to follow up a tip from a local I spoke to whilst staying in Shkodër. He suggested I should take a coach tour to Lake Komani. I think he was only suggesting this because he ran tours to the lake, but it got me interested so after checking out the map I decided I would make my own way there the next day.

Lake Komani is not far from Shkodër, only about 60km, but after heading south and turning of the main road to head inland the road quickly turns to gravel and potholes.

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Albania

The road across the mountain from Kosovo to Montenegro felt like one of the longest I had ever travelled. It was narrow, twisty and seemed like it would never end. The only thing it had going for it was a complete lack of traffic, not a single car did I see. It took most of the day to do the short distance across the mountain then the road opened out a bit, becoming much easier before I reached Podgorica. There was still a week or so before I had to head for the Horizons Unlimited meetup in Montenegro, so after spending the night in Podgorica I headed south across the border into Albania.

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How can anyone be so stupid? pt 2

My insurance doesn’t include cover for countries not part of the EU (e.g. Kosovo, Montenegro, Albania) so when entering these countries its a legal requirement to purchase nominal ‘insurance’ cover at the border. I was so keen to do this when entering Montenegro after having my passport checked by the Kosovan border guards that I headed straight for the first hut displaying the ‘insurance sold here’ sign. I paid the €10 and in return received my new insurance certificate, interestingly it looked a lot like the Kosovan certificate I had bought a couple of days ago.

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