Greece · 7 Days · 13 Moments · August 2017

The Colours of Corfu

15 August 2017

Well reader and dear friend. After our journey together it is time to bid you farewell! On one last walk around town we decided to pay a final visit to the Old Fortress, which holds...well...fort overlooking the town. The fortress is where the town actually was during Byzantine times like many defensive towns. The fort we see now was build by the Venetians and the winged lion of St Mark is imprinted everywhere in the style of my beloved Serenissima! The temple like structure built onto the side is actually the rather dull church of St George. Potent on the outside, pitifully predictable within. This seems rather a fitting place to leave you. A place so intertwined with my favourite city. Until next time I wish you all safe travels and as always 'May the road rise up to meet you and may the wind be always at your back.' All my love, Neil

14 August 2017

After the walk up to the monastery it was time for a bit bit of rest and relaxation on two of the local beaches. The first, just below the monastery itself was the small but relatively quiet beach of Agios Petros. Most tourists flock to the leaching on the other side leaving the beach with just a handful of sun seekers. The sea is perfect but very VERY cold!! This does, however provide amusement as one watches the faces of the bathers tentatively enter the water. I let out a shrill scream myself! The second beach just fifteen minutes away was down a path and a windy stairway which nearly finished us off. The beach at the bottom was incredible and again had the transparent, but freezing turquoise waters. However this was NOT a beach for a middle aged couple as we easily had twenty five years on everybody else there. Oh reader, in my Ibiza days.....oh well!! Back to Salto this evening for our last meal out on the island.
Well our last day, my dear reader, has been both another search for nostalgia and a trip to what is arguably the most picturesque part of the island, Palaiokastritsa! Here the lush forests give way to coves with crystal blue water between rocky outcrops. It is also one of the busier parts of the island tourist wise. First we walked up to the Monastery of Palaiokastritsa, a place I again visited all those years ago. This Byzantine monastery dates from the thirteen century although the idilic white building we see today is only a few hundred years old. The architecture of cool tunnels and whitewashed stone covered in purple bougainvillea provide a welcome respite from the harsh sun. Only three monks live here now but with the crowds of tourists I imagine they never get lonely!!

13 August 2017

Well reader, what a nostalgic day I had today! It is about 28 years since I was last in Corfu. I came here with my cousin Tom on a package holiday. You know the ones where you don't know were you're staying until they call your name on the bus. We were very lucky to have been put in a huge flat in the town of Kassiopi at the very north east of the island and it was my mission today to go and find where I stayed and see how it had changed. The drive up the coast road was delightful . Every cove here is a beach and the water an azure blue. I think that maybe why nowhere seems too busy. The town of Kassiopi has not changed a bit. After so long I easily found my way to the harbour with no difficulty. I even found the flat we stayed in. It is still a very picturesque little town. So happy. Our last stop after a sojourn on Apraos Beach for a couple of hours was the 'sunset' beach of Loggas. A beautiful cliff-bordered beach unfortunately too windy to get down to but still spectacular.

12 August 2017

The views at lunch just below the Achilleion were spectacular. The only issue we had at the restaurant was wasps!! There were so many in fact that the waiter had to place a plate of incense on the table to keep them away. If you look at the food you can see them in there! Time for a relaxing beach afternoon and we headed over to the long and very windy Issos Beach on the other side of the island. To be honest the island is small enough to travel quite easily although traffic can be slow. The beach and the water were beautiful and it was a much needed relax after the previous cruise disaster! Our evening meal tonight was in a rather good restaurant called Salto! Modern cuisine with fresh ideas. A great contrast to the more formal meal last night. Well goodnight reader. See you tomorrow.
I've decided to split today into two parts as this App only lets me add ten photos to each which is a little fussing!! Today we picked our car up from the airport which is very close to the city. So close in fact that we decided to walk. It was 31C by then so we arrived a little moist. However, on the way we came across a 2600 year old cenotaph to Menekrates, consul of ancient Oiantheia. The car rental went as smoothly as possible with these people with a huge amount blocked on the credit card as a security deposit. Our first port of call was just a little south of Corfu Town to the beautiful Achilleion Palace. Built by the Empress Elizabeth (Sissi) in 1890. Sissi was obsessed and relatively erudite in classical literature and architecture and styled the palace thusly. Ionic columns and Greek statues adorn the palace while Pompeian geometric frescoes adorn the grandiose stairway. Unfortunately many items were removed when the palace was converted into a casino.

11 August 2017

We had the great idea of going on an organized trip to the idilic island of Paxos and Antipaxos! OMG!! It was .... well let me fill you in my dear reader. There actually wasn't enough room on the boat for all the people so Jesus and I ended up sitting on the engine in the bowels of the boat. Delightful. It took three, yes three hours to get to our first stop of the beautiful Paradise Beach of Antipaxos. We watched the beach from afar as you couldn't get off the boat unless you jumped into the water! Now I'm sorry, but unless there is champagne on the beach or I'm in a remake of the Poseidon Adventure, I DO NOT jump off boats!! So we WATCHED the lovely beach for an hour. Then we sailed to the blue caves, some wonderful rock formations we reversed into a few times. Again...delightful. Our last stop was the island of Paxos for a spot of lunch. Paxos if you didn't know is where people park their boats whilst buying minion stuffed toys and eating horrible food. I found that out.
Before I get onto the awful trip today, let's look on the bright side and look at the wonderful meal we had last night!! What a beautiful restaurant. It's called The Venetian Well and anyone who knows me knows that wins points already!! The ambience was amazing on a candlelit courtyard with, you guessed it reader, a Venetian well in the centre. Everything was perfect, the food was divine, the wine...well what would I say, and the service excellent!! Go if you come to Corfu, just do it reader!!

10 August 2017

Our ACTUAL excursion this morning was to the Museum Of Asian Art in the St Michael and St George's Palace here in the town square. The building itself is impressive but houses a collection of pieces from China, Japan and other Asian countries. The pieces are exquisite, some of which I'm showing you here but to be honest, Google works fine nowadays, reader, so if you want to see it in more detail, you know what to do. I really enjoyed this museum and it is worth a visit if you find yourself this way. However when we left the building the temperature had shot up to 38C so it was time to head back to the house to cook up some lunch! (Thank you M&S sauces!). Finally ventured down to the beach below the apartment for a swim after lunch but in true middle aged Brit abroad style kept my flip flops on so the stones didn't hurt! All I was missing was a knotted hankie on my head! Chat to you later, reader, I think it's time for another nap!! Don't want to exert myself!! Ciao!
First, reader a little aside about last night and early this morning before getting on to the events of the day! Our evening wander took us round the other side of the peninsula to the old harbour, where we found a lovely if somewhat busy restaurant called Belissima. The wait was a little longer than expected but it was softened by being invited to a large beer. One thing I've noticed here is it when you order appetizers you seem to get a quantity a lot larger than we are used to back home. I guess that they are usually shared between more than two. I ordered lamb cooked in parchment which was delicious but to be honest even I'm getting tired of such strong similar flavours after only two days! The restaurant though, highly recommended. Now this morning was probably just like yours! Jesus's phone has not worked since we got here so I set off to find a prepaid card. On the way a stumbled across, yes, M&S so immediately had to visit the food hall!! Somethings are universal!

9 August 2017

After a long (and I mean LONG) nana nap, Jesus and I decided not to waste the whole day and do something!! This meant a walk around the old town, towards the centre. If I could use one word to describe the old town it would be KUMQUATS! No reader, that's not a euphemism. There are kumquats everywhere! Kumquat liquor, kumquat sweets, kumquat soap and of course candied kumquat. I hope I'm spelling kumquat right but I've said it so often now, reader, it's lost all meaning. Corfu seems just as humid as Valencia, where we live so an afternoon stroll really needs a dark coloured shirt if you don't want to end up looking like a drowned rat. I absolutely had to stop for a beer to cool down...had to! The town seems like an eclectic mix of places I've been to and liked before. I am reminded of Sicily, Venice and Nafplio to name a few. Of course the fortresses on either side of the town hark back to a more bellicose past. Well good night reader. I'm hoping for a better night's sleep.
Sleep came too late and too little to be wide awake when I ventured into the street to find a supermarket. Already at 28C, I first checked out the small pebble beach just below our apartment. Imbari Beach. It looks surprisingly inviting and I think worth a venture if not this afternoon definitely first thing in the morning when it is almost deserted. This part of town, just beyond the tourist area of the old town was obviously in its day full of palaces and courtyards, but now had a charm of beautiful decay, but without being dirty. The supermarket was ten minutes from the apartment down the tourist route of olive oil and soap shops, many of which you'll be seeing more of. The supermarket was basic and chaotic and afterwards I searched for fresh produce such a fruit and meat to prepare my version of a typical sofrito. Catch you later darling reader x
Arriving full of cold to such a beautiful destination is never advisable. Between suitcases and sweat there is no happy medium. We landed on time and were gratefully met by our host Damianos, an exuberant, charismatic man who greeted us with two kisses before driving the short if somewhat chaotic journey to the Airbnb apartment we have rented for the week. Both my partner, Jesus, and I have spent the last few days in the damp of England and the seasonal virus has not spared us. We arrived tired and ill, sniffing and blowing through the few tattered paper handkerchiefs we had left. The apartment sits perched on the edge of the old town looking across the straight to Albania and right above the small Imabari beach. The apartment, it has to be said, is wonderful. Our host has left us with everything from beach towels to vodka, and the view across the water as I write this at sunrise is spectacular, even through bloodshot, sleepless eyes!!