Road Trip To Janina, Greece (Part 2)

Half asleep I rolled over and heard thunder crash.

I tiptoed into the living room to see what time it was.  The bright computer screen said, 4:29 a.m.  I tried to convince myself that the rain would be over in a couple of hours, but I know better.  When it rains in Saranda, it reaaallly rains.  The only other place that rivals these kind of monsoons is Tucson, Arizona.

We finished breakfast, but it was still pouring.

What to do?  We had a car and a plan so we decided to go for it, Google map in hand.  I was the driver, Derek was the navigator and Libby was the photographer.  The trip is 110 kilometers, which is about 68 miles.  Road conditions on a good day make it about an hour and a half trip, we were told.  Every so often we’d flag someone down and make sure we were headed in the right direction.

I have never seen so many green mountains in my life.

The stunning scenery made me forget that we had been driving for over an hour and we still had not reached the border. Thankfully the roads were some of the best I’ve seen in Albania, however all three of us were sensing we had taken a wrong turn but none of us wanted to say it.

Finally I see a building – the border!

I gather passports, car documents and proof of insurance (necessary in Greece) and hand them over to a young man with a stern face.  We sit and wait for what felt like half an hour but was really just a few minutes, in silence.  I am reading the man’s face and I can see there is a problem.  Borders can be tricky.  The key is stay calm and play your cards right.  The border patrol unfolds a piece of paper and turns it toward me.  It states the car rental company gave me permission to drive the car, but only within Albania.  My heart sinks but I think fast.

Let me call the owner, he knew I was coming to Greece.

I dial the phone number silently praying that he will answer the first time.  As soon as I say hi the phone disconnects.  Three seconds later the phone rings and it’s him.  I tell him the situation and put him on the phone with the border patrol.  The conversations is only 5 sentences long but I can sense it did the trick.  He ends the call, hands me all my documents and tells us to have a safe trip.

Thank goodness they were from the same town and knew each other’s family.

By now the pouring rain was turning the roads into rivers and mud was running down the mountains.  Would our Ford Fiesta make it across?


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 love being a mom and wife! Playing, reading, cooking, cleaning, are my first and favorite jobs. I also work as an Art Agent (representing my husband and other talented artists). I love finding outlets for artists to sell their work and I don’t mean galleries and boring exhibitions. I have put hundreds of hours of research into finding out where and how art sells TODAY. I use my creativity and intuition to help artist thrive, so they can keep creating.


  1. Sabrina says:

    So enjoyable to read! Seeing through your eyes, the picture is so crisp. :)

    • Monique Alvarez says:

      Oh that’s wonderful to hear Sabrina because most of the time I’m not sure how to convey how life is here.

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