12.09.2008 - 13.09.2008
The early bus was too early for me, so I took the 11 O'clock bus.
The road from Vlora to Saranda is the second best scenic road I traveled in Shqiperia.
It climes up the mountains south, giving at first a full view of the bay, then in a gorge to a mountain pass about 40 km south of Vlora than serpentines down steep mountains with a view far along the Ionian coast and continues on the mountain side to Saranda.
At Saranda's bus station waited a local "hotel" owner who offered a cheap room nearby and close to all places of interest.
This Xhaferi "hotel" is a kind of guesthouse but I got a large 3 single bad room with bathroom ensuite and was content.
Saranda has a large bay, protected from the weather by the island of Corfu. Along beach there is a nice promenade.
Quite many cruise ships come to Saranda mainly for a visit of Butrint.
I also came there to see Butrint, an ancient fortified city on a peninsula between lake Butrint and the sea. There are also Othman and Venetian castles near Butrint, but the ancient city is the centre of interest.
It was first fortified by Illyrians, than the Greeks, Romans Othmans and Venetians.
It takes a few hours to walk around and see the most interesting remains.
There is a cable ferry on the river for cars and people.
On the other side there is a Venetian castle and a trail to remote ruins of an Othman castle.
Waiting to the bus back to Saranda, a taxi driver tried to persuade me to pay ten times more, but hust before the bus came he decided to go anyway and gave me a lift. In town I gave him the coins I had in my pocket, a bit more than bus fare.
In the centre of town there are ruins from early centuries AD, and the most important place there is a 5th century synagogue with mosaics of menorah, ram horn and other decorations, but they are covered to protect them from the weather and you can only see the pictures.