Balkan Stage 23 Berat to Vlorë, Albania

Oct 1, 2022

Stage 23 of 36, day 27 of 43: 93.1 km, 553m climb, 3:36 Moving, 3:42 Total,  54.8 kph max

CountryDistanceClimbing
Slovenia352.25149
Italy29.3346
Croatia950.911,430
Bosnia & Herzegovina211.01444
Montenegro29.3185
Albania392.95242
Total1965.623,796

The second night at the campground in Berat wasn’t as good as the first. We had rain on and off and the dogs and other animals seemed louder. But still I slept 6 hours total and started packing up at 6:30. It was raining a little at breakfast and packing wet tents is never fun. But that’s life. And we had banana pancakes. The thick black clouds were dramatic, and it rained right before we left at 8, but then stopped so I started out jacket-less.

Preparing to leave Berat
The trusty Salsa Cutthroat, all ready for another day on the road

The road out of town was smooth and maybe slightly downhill and we had a tailwind so the pack I was in cruised at 37-39. The pavement was wet and dirty so I got speckled with mud but the kilometers passed quickly.

A nice boat house
Old mosaic and new gas station

It rained a bit a couple of times but I didn’t bother stopping and changing clothes – once you’re wet you just keep going. Lunch was supposed to be just after a bridge at 60 km and the bridge came just after a long construction zone, muddy, bumpy and slow. The bridge itself was pretty crazy, broken, barely passable by motorcycles, not by cars, but fine for gravel bikes. I waited for the others when I got back to the pavement but no one came. And there was no sign of the lunch truck so I continued on.

Old mosque in Vlorë

Soon I was getting near the end, riding through the beach resort town of Vlorë. I don’t know if this is for real but we always talk about the Albanian Riviera – this is it. Simo caught me 5 km from the campground. He has Covid and it was a big effort for him to do the whole ride – tough guy. We finished together to find no one and no trucks at the campsite. I bought us drinks and we sat outside in the nice breeze watching the water, glad the riding was over. It was only 11:40am.

“The Albanian Riviera” from near camp
The real Albanian Riviera needs a little work
Time for a cool one – the power had died only recently so the beer was still cold

More riders finished and it turned out lunch was at the 80 km mark but many skipped it. Ype told me the delays of shopping and the slow roads made it impossible to get there in time. Tom, Peter and I walked down the beach (rocky but pretty other than the trash) to a restaurant Tom swore was open. But every place was closed. We did find a store that was open, but no power, just as at our campground. We bought some more drinks and snacks and ate by the water.

Eventually the trucks arrived with our baggage, the firetruck with our tents last. We had cold showers, washed clothes, set up tents and relaxed chatting for a couple of hours. These shorter days are really nice for relaxing longer after the ride is done.

Later in the afternoon the next storm coming in

After some reading, it was time for dinner, another excellent meal, giant, tasty and fun. Now time to sleep for a long time!

The most important member of the Bike Dreams staff, Caroline, our excellent cook

One thought on “Balkan Stage 23 Berat to Vlorë, Albania

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