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EXPLORING CORFU
 
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EXPLORING CORFU

Arriving at the Island

We traveled to Corfu by ship from the port city of Patras where we had backtracked from Athens. Patras is not a destination town, but it will be someplace you probably encounter on your way to and from Corfu to the mainland if you take a ferry from Italy. The city is not large, but has nice people and offers decent restaurants while you await your ferry departure.

Transportation by ferry is a real treat compared with air travel. You will be treated graciously, your luggage will be handled with care and all along the way you can breathe fresh salt air and have an ever changing panorama of things to see. Truly, it is a delight!

Hotels in Corfu range from inexpensive to luxurious and costly, but almost everywhere you will find something comfortable for you and your budget. On the right is a port area hotel that we thought perfect for an overnight before setting off for Venice.

What turned out to be totally Greek in character were the old fellows in the restaurant below playing backgammon until late in the evening. The game doesn't have to be loud, but making noise is is a food group for Greeks.

We rented a car at a good price in the port area with no advance reservations. When we returned it after a hair raising ride through the center of the city, the rental agent offered us herbs for calming while he twiddled his worry beads, offering us a wonderful window on Greek culture.

 
PELAKAS
We arrived in Corfu early in the morning by ferry from the mainland so we had time for coffee before the nearby car rental agent offices opened. When they did, we were there and soon after we were on our way to Pelakas, the beach where my American Greek husband had fallen in love with Greece so many years ago. At that time everyone slept on the beach and dined when locals descended from the town above with pots of hot edible fare fresh from their wives' kitchens. I wished I'd been there at that time too!
 
 

 
We stayed at the little hotel on the beach in the photograph on the right below where there were piles of wooden shipping palettes. We thought it peculiar and asked what they were used for. We never would have guessed that this beach is so extremely crowded in the summer that the palettes are used as lanes so that folks can get to the water without stepping on anyone. Maybe 7 billion people in the world today really are too many. Instead of buying toilets for the poor, maybe Bill Gates should provide all of us with full and free family planning services. Maybe I'll write to him and Melinda about funding for Planned Parenthood, maybe you'll want to as well.
 

 
SMALL TOWN CORFU
After just one night we moved on to another small and exquistely beautiful beach town, Paleocastritsa. Keeping the sea to our left we drove north enjoying the small town quality of Corfu at that time of the year, before the hoards of visitors descend.
 

 

 

 

PALEOCASTRITSA

Small town Paleocastritsa is a magnet for visitors to Corfu. As you can see in these photographs it provides wish fulfillment to all who find their way there. In many ways it is breathtaking. We stayed a few days in the hotel pictured below where the key to our room worked in many other locks, but then who's worried? We're in Greece to forget our troubles and our fears, right? In one of the ground floor shops, a bakery, they produce chocolate croissants that one could simply eat and die happily. We didn't die, but we were very happy a few times a day.

 
 
 

 

Driving the Mountain Road Overlooking Paleokastritsa

 

Below in the photograph on the left you can see the Paleocastritsa monastery from above. It's a very nice piece of real estate. Tours to this Greek Orthodox Monastery are as popular as the cave tours and a lot more substantive.

 

This is a very private and beautiful beach just a few minutes drive from Paleocastritsa.

 
TOURS IN PALEOCASTRITSA
As is always essential, guided tours are offered and cave tours top the list.
The cave tours are a good way to get out on a boat and see all the coves and beaches that make this area so popular. The caves would like to be more than fifteen or twenty feet deep, but they aren't.

 

 
PALEOCASTRITSA MONASTERY

GREEK GARDENS
By now, I'm sure most of the traveling people in the world have seen the movie, "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" so you have some idea of Greek extravagance. Gardens you will see in Corfu will be no less extravagant, nor will window gardens as you can see below.
 

 

FIXER UPPER FOR SALE

Leaving Paleocastritsa we were ready for some back country driving and Corfu did not disappoint us. It is a beautiful island with much to see and experience beyond the immediate visual gratification of the developed tourist areas. We drove up into the central hilly or mountainous areas of the island and were delighted with everything on each curve of the tiny narrow road.

Below is yet another of our dream real estate purchases. Just by the side of the road this little beauty was just waiting for some folks with cash and dreams. There are many of these real estate treasures in Greece and many of them are to be found in Corfu.

 

 

DISCOVERING OIL -- OLIVE

I never would have thought that olive oil production would have been a significant activity on such a small island, but there you are. Ignorance is just that, not thinking. We drove by small plantings of olive trees with black nets spread on the ground beneath. Each time I asked poor Stassi, Greek by birth, what they were for and we finally figured out that the nets catch the olives and of course the leaves, bird feathers and more, animal spoor and whatever else comes their way during the month or so the nets lay on the ground.

What is magical is looking into an olive grove. I wish I were an artist and could capture even a little bit of the magic. We drove on a narrow winding road and suddenly came upon an olive oil processing plant, a building no more than a hundred feet wide. We pulled in and hoped to find a welcome. The photographs below will tell a story

 
 

 

 
I offer you the opportunity to guess which of the men below is my American Greek husband and which is the Corfu born Greek.

 
 
KASSIOPI
A decidely upper end resort town in Corfu, sail in and enjoy the ambiance.
 

Below on the right is the view of Albania from Kassiopi. It was so near and yet so far as Stassi put down his foot to anymore countries. I was heart broken at the missed opportunity. On the left is the lovely woman who rented us a room in her flower bedecked guest house.

 

A CORFU LANDMARK

 

These were just a few of the seeds I collected in Corfu. I write a website on plants, cooking and curing and never cease collecting the seeds of plants I encounter around the world. If you are interested visit the site at GreenGardeningCookingCuring.com.

I'd love to hear what you think of it and if you find it useful.

Your Author on the right in Paleocastritsa with Stassi

If you still have a bit of wanderlust when leaving Corfu, maybe you would thrill to an overnight ferry to Venice as we did. Loading the ferry was exciting in itself realizing how many goods traverse countries in Europe. Once the dozens and dozens of huge lorries were loaded in the hold, we were off and there was another delight. Leaving Corfu by ship heading north gave us a moving view of Corfu's coastline. Seeing it as the evening fog rolled in was just perfect.
 

Corfu City Fortress, Paleo Enetiko Frourio

Corfu City Seascape

Corfu City Seascape

 

 

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