Road Trip To Janina, Greece (Part 1)

It all started with H&M.

On a beautiful sunny day we lay on the beach debating if it was time to flip or get an ice-cream from the small, make-shift restaurant above us.  My friend Libby was visiting us from Tucson and she was loving the blue skies, warm water and slow pace of Albania.

Fresh produce stands every block.

Nap time.

Strawberry juice.

Line drying laundry.

She had only been here a few days but it was long enough for her to realize it’s not easy to get things we take for granted at home.  We celebrate finding ketchup and mint tea at the market.  Just before she arrived I was thankful to find a bath towel at the flea market.  So when I mentioned there was an H&M just about an hour away in Greece I had her attention.  Derek and I were thinking of making the trip to get art supplies, beans, brown rice and shorts (it’s way too hot for pants now) in a couple weeks.

On the beach lounger she exclaimed, let’s go!

We asked around to see if we could find a private driver but no one seemed to be answering their phones.  I recalled seeing a “rental car” business by the port so we went first thing the next morning to check out what the process was.  I had never seen such a business when I lived here before and Derek couldn’t figure out how they trust people to return the cars (remember there’s no credit cards here).

We knew we’d figure it out because we were on a mission to get to Janina, Greece.

Like everything else here, it was simple.  Show your driver’s license, passport, hand over 45 euros and the car is yours!  Libby and I jumped in and headed back to the apartment to pick Derek up.  I couldn’t believe I was driving in Albania and soon Greece – I could barely be a passenger when I lived in Tirana twelve years ago.

Good timing and conversation resulted in us getting the car for 1 1/2 days so we thought of all the places we could go before morning.

We headed to Butrint to check out this ancient city founded by Helenus, the son of the King of Troy maybe as early as 12 B.C.   It’s pretty amazing how much much of the city is still there and it’s situated in beauty that will take your breath away.  Two hundred pictures later we headed to Ksamil Islands to relax and have one more strawberry juice.  We ended the day by watching the sunset and enjoying  dinner at Lekursi’s Castle.

Tired, stuffed and excited about our road trip the next morning, we hit the sack.

Little did we know the adventures that awaited us…


Hungry for More,
Monique Alvarez
*Have you downloaded my free ebook, The Hungry Soul’s Manifesto?  It’s all about remembering what’s important in life – creating purpose and passion, instead of just passing the time amassing stuff. 
 p.s. If there are typos, spelling or grammar mistakes in this post don’t worry about.  Those are the kinds of things I’ve worried about for FAR too long.  It’s time to just get it out and who cares if it’s not perfect, it’s from the heart!


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About Monique Alvarez

I am a lover of travel, cultures, food, playing outside and the overall savoring of life. In between adventures I draw, write about the Law of Attraction, share inspirational stories, confess my personal growth, ramble about food and post pictures and tall tales of our travels. Author of Celebrate Life 365 Ways



    • Monique Alvarez says:

      I know you’ll love it Mama! (I guess I’m like a Chihuahua in that way – I have no idea of my size or strength;)

  2. Sabrina says:

    Sounds great Monique! :)

    • Monique Alvarez says:

      It’s better than it sounds Sabrina. You want to move the family here, I need a permanent friend. <3

  3. You need to post some pics!

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