Pirenza, Albania and Croatia

Path in Pirenza, Greece – Friday 17th September
The cruise boat Aquamarine docked back in port at around 7am and we disembarked shortly afterwards. We spent a few hours in Athens, watching the changing of the guard in front of the Athens city hall, before lunch in Plaka. We had traditional Greek food with a kebab and a lamb stew with feta cheese. We then drove to the port where the other half of the Contiki group would arrive from Mykonos Island. Reunited with all the Contiki people we headed north towards Pirenza. It was a long drive and finally at around 9pm that night we checked into the hotel and had a late dinner.

Amazing Albania- Saturday 18th September (Keat’s Birthday)
Back on the bus for another early start, we headed for the Greece – Albania border. Driving through Albania was an interesting experience, with lots of bumpy roads and dirt tracks. This country is a stark contrast to the previous European countries we have visited. Albania is not part of the European Union and the people do not have the same living standards. This gave way for some interesting sites by the side of the road- including watching some men skin a freshly killed goat, and donkeys pulling carts.
We arrived in the town of Duress in the afternoon and checked into our beachside resort. While this place was not of the same standard of prior hotels, it still had some features. The highlight would have been watching the sun set over the beach- even if the beach was covered in rubbish and the resort swimming pool closed as it resembled an algae swamp. Dinner was at the resort and consisted of a greek style salad, powdered potato and rissoles and watermelon.
Montenegro and Dubrovnik, Croatia- Sunday 19th September
Another early start saw us leave the wonderful resort in Albania at 7:30am for the third day straight of long driving in the bus. In the morning we left Albania and travelled into the country of Montenegro- a new country since 2006 with a population of 650,000. Montenegro is also a member of the European Union. We had lunch in a town of Montenegro before making our way along the scenic ocean roads winding through mountains and beaches. We went across a river on a quick car ferry and finally made our way to the Montenegro – Croatia border. Croatia is not part of the European Union so again this meant passport checks at the border. We checked into the hotel in Dubrovnik at around 5pm before a buffet dinner.

Day in Dubrovnik – Monday 20th September
We started the day with a walking tour through the old town, led by a local guide. She talked about the Bulkan war in Dubrovnik in 1991 & 1992 and how she couldn’t go to school that year during the bombings. We walked around the old town streets, and then walked on the top of the city walls looking down on the old town with views of the Adriatic sea. At about midday we got on a boat for an island cruise. We went swimming at the beach on one of the islands off Dubrovnik. Next step was another island where we had a seafood lunch right on the water- it was fantastic. That night we had a buffet dinner at the hotel and then went into the Old Town to the Bouso Bar on the outside of the city walls overlooking the ocean. The bar is consisted of tables and chairs on top of rocks with the ocean lapping on the rocks. Then we joined the group for a pirate party that night.

Split Croatia – Tuesday 21st September
Today we had lunch in Split on our way to our hotel at Zadar. We sat and watched the port from a hotel while drinking Croatian wine. We then looked through the markets and an old Church. Tomorrow we are off to Austria where we are going to a very old theme park called Partar, vitit a Schnapes museum and see a Mozart performance.

Photos are can be found at the following links
Here and Here

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