Crossing the Llogara pass

Today we were driving north along the coast in direction of the Llogara pass but first we found a small peninsula with a castle of Ali Pasha and a submarine bunker of Cold War times.

At Porto Palermo lies a tiny peninsula which is connected to the mainland only by a narrow strip of land. The well preserved castle is generally associated with Ali Pasha of Tepelena. But it was probably built by the Venetians as it has the same triangular plan with round towers found in the Venetian fort at Butrint. But its design is very unusual in having no courtyard.

Entrance to the castle

Roof top exit

At the other side of the bay lies the submarine tunnel clearly visible from the coast. During the reign of Enver Hoxha Porto Palermo was an important military base. The Soviet Union stationed a total of twelve Soviet whiskey-class submarines in the area. After Albania left the Warsaw Pact, Hoxha appropriated four of these submarines and stationed them in Porto Palermo. In order to be able to leave the protected bay in the event of a blockage, the construction of a 650 meter long and 12 meter high submarine tunnel began, with a second entrance on the other side of the hill.

Entrance to the submarine tunnel
Lovely villages along the coast

Coffee break

The Llogara pass at about 1.000 metres is the watershed between the Adriatic Sea in the north and the Ionian Sea in the south.  To the south, the pass is very rugged and steep, with the coast only three kilometres away. It offers impressive views over the Albanian Riviera.

Llogara pass, today a comfortable road

Bunker below the ruin

At the pass there are a couple of restaurants and enough space to park. From there we took a walk up the mountain in direction of the antennas. We had a great view over the coast to the south but in the shady areas snow and ice was on the track and it was cold as soon as you were not standing in the sun.

View back from Orikum
At the coastal town of Orikum we had found a laundry, where we could dump all our washing with the nice owner. The next day we had picked up everything washed, dried and folded for 1,-/kilo. What a great service! 
Flower of the Day

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