Luckily we chanced upon a cheap (and sometimes you get what you pay for...) hotel, 2000 Lek, or about $20 Australian dollars. Maybe we could have gotten an even better deal, but it was dark, and we were both exhausted, so we were happy to settle.
We spent the following day exploring Sarande and its many Banks, we've never seen this many banks anywhere... Another thing that amazed us about this seaside Albanian town is the bizarre proliferation of unbuilt houses and hotels here, its as though people come up with great ideas, begin building them and then suddenly get bored (or run out of money) and just pick up and leave.
Being so close to Greece, many hotels and restaurants here have been styled in a Greek format, and Greek food, although in its own special Albanian variation is common. We found a small place by the beach where we had two big ice-cream/gelato's, and three gyro's, think kebab in Australia for about five aussie dollars, cheap by any standards.
And after we'd feasted, whilst riding along the coast I spotted a gym, packed with people staring at each other, (or was it just the one guy who tried to kick me off a weight bench he wanted...) but the first gym I'd seen since China (where the only gym I found wanted to charge me $36). Fortunately this place was a bargain, these guys only wanted 200 Lek ($2)- so I spent the next hour and a half killing myself...
It was a bit of a reality check, 'aint what she used to be' I guess. Despite this it was great to get back in the gym, and when we left we picked up some Kos; a plain Albanian yogurt- a little like Greek yogurt but I think better, that seems to be almost everywhere here, and for only 50 cents a tub.
We rode back up the 10-15% graded hill, again in the dark, and stayed up late.
Sam and Shanna Evans are from Melbourne, Australia