Saturday, October 4, 2014

BURINT, near Saranda


 Burint, a City and Hellinistic sanctuary  dating back to the sixth century BC is one of the most important archeological sites in Albania.
It is located just north of the Greek boarder on the Ionian sea across from the Greek Island of Corfu and named a UNESCO HERITAGE site.


















   

Harold and our guide "Kela" waiting for the ferry to take us across.

A view of the Saranda waterfront from the cockpit.



Albania from Saranda to Orikum


A distance of just over 100 km but it takes over three hours to drive.

The road follows the coast line of the Ionian sea and there is not a strait piece in the road. Also we had to cross mount Cika with the highest peak being just over 2000 meter above sea level. 

Needless to say much of Albania's landscape is rough and rugged. There are approx. 20 mountains  higher than mount Cika.




A view of mount Cika and the road to the top.







A view from part way up the mountain of the Ionian sea.

On our way we see a variety of livestock freely roaming the road.

Here a "juvenile" piggy on the side of the road.
Mommy does not like it at all and crosses the road to go and get him/her

Here a couple of donkeys, unconcerned crossing the road.

A view of "Dhermi Beach" in the distance from a side road cafe. 


This is a "large" herd of at least 12 cows and some calfs.

Albania

In Sept of 2014 we went back to the boat and toured Albania.

Albania has been in turmoil ever since gaining independence from the Ottoman empire in 1912.    In 1943 it was occupied by Germany, and one year later communist partisans ruled the country, first alining themselves with the USSR, and later with China. In the early 1990's Albania ended 46 years of communist rule, and a multiparty government was established.   
The transition has proven challenging as successive governments have tried to deal with high unemployment, widespread corruption, dilapidated infrastructure, powerful organized crime networks, and combative political opponents. In 2009 a coalition government was established, the first such in it,s history. 4 years later a peaceful transition of government took place and albeit slow, Albania seems to be on the road to recovery. It has appliedfor, and been accepted as a "candidate country" in the EU.
Albania is one of the poorest countries in Europe, with a 22, to 23% unemployment rate.
70% of the population are Muslim and the vast majority are "Bektashi" of the Sufi order. They are very moderate, and not hostile to other religions and strongly denounce the violence between the more radical Muslims.
One of the reasons that Pope Francis latest European visit started in Albania is because in many ways the extraordinary peaceful coexistence between people of different religion in Albania is a model for the rest of the world.
In spite of different people telling us to be careful in Albania because of the crime and corruption we met nothing but wonderful, friendly people.
A visit to a "Tekke" (Bektashi,s Shrine) and conversation with the "Baba" (spiritual leader)
Was most interesting.

The "Bektashi Tekke"



 Harold with one of the gardeners in front of the "Tekke"



Lunch in Gijerokaster the birth place of Enver Hoxha. The dictator during the communist era 

  
in Gijerokaster 90% of the houses have roofs with slabs of stone, not slate, but STONE. 
Very unique!!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Getting hauled out of the water



 On Aug 25th at 11.00 hr, Le reve was scheduled to be hauled out of the water and be stored on the hard in Cleopatra marina in Preveza.

This marked the end of our cruising season for 2013.
All in all we traveled just shy of 800 nm (1460 km) in 62 days (Aug 25 to Oct.25) from Didim Turkey to Preveza Greece.
During that time we visited 15 Islands and 5 mainland ports. Some we visited several times. The bottom picture shows only part of the 800 boats in storage at Cleopatra marina.
Right beside Cleopatra there are two more marinas, Aktio marina, and Ionion marina. Of these Cleopatra is the biggest, but all and all there are some 2000 boats stored here.



Sunday, October 27, 2013

Our last cruise for the season

Our last cruise for the season from Lefkas marina to Cleopatra marina in Peveza. But first fill the tanks so as to eliminate as much as possible condensation in the tanks during winter layup.
Two pumps, one for each tank.
The filling station attendant can not be bothered to watch us fill the tanks and he tends to his fishing!
One more time trough the bridge that connects Lefkada island to the main land. This is a pontoon bridge and swings on a large steel column. It opens each hour on the hour.
We stopped on the town dock before going to the marina to have lunch on board.
Arend and Henny Bonsink and Cees and Elly de Jonge are posing for a picture once the boat is docked in the Prevesa town marina.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

A culinary experiance.

Our friends found this very unique, and very, VERY good restaurant in one of the small side streets of Lefkas, it was called "the Seven Seas". The tables are set up just on the street as many are here in Greece. However where the seven seas was located the street was so small there was only just enough room for one row of tables along the one side of the street.
We were all taken into the kitchen and had a look at what was cooking this night. 
This pot has pork, and that one beef, still and other had something else. All and all there must have been 10 different pots on several regular home stoves. We got a very detailed explanation of what everything was. 
The ovens were even loaded with different kinds of food. We managed all to make a choice, and it was no doubt the best meal we had in a restaurant in Greece. Thumbs up for the "SEVEN SEAS" culinary

Exploring Lefkas on bike.


Joanne is going with Elly and Henny for a bicycle ride around Lefkas. 











Just finished changing the wiring of the bow thruster so it will be charged by the sun panels.