What to expect when you arrive unexpected in Corfu Old Town, Greece 

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I haven’t been writ­ing for a long time now, but I have a really good excuse :): I have been and am work­ing as a ski instruc­tor, which means stay­ing in the cold for hours, being lazy after, sleep­ing long and more. So bare with me, I am back with GREECE, sum­mer, sun, won­der­ful islands and beaches.  One of my loves from the sum­mer of 2016 was Corfu.

The Old Town of Corfu is UNESCO World Her­itage and is strate­gi­cally located at the entrance to the Adri­atic Sea, very close to Albany. From the 15th cen­tury, Corfu was under Vene­tian gov­ern­ment for some four cen­turies, then pass­ing to French, British and Greek rule.

Corfu is very…very touris­tic. Its streets are swarm­ing with peo­ple look­ing for the per­fect tai­lored vaca­tion, with sou­venir shops, Greek din­ners and per­fect beach days. But it still is very, very charm­ing. Like a per­fect tanned Greek guy that smiles at you and you stop to smile back at him. And although you know he gives that same very smile to other hun­dreds of women per day, it still makes you feel spe­cial.

I arrived in Corfu with the ferry from Lefkada. It was the only air­port on the Ionian Islands that would fly to my next des­ti­na­tion, Por­tu­gal. So I say to myself, why not give Corfu 1 extra day to have the chance to see it. So I do. I arrive two days before my flight. I planned to stay in a camp­ing site, but as I was wait­ing for the bus to take me there, a guy approaches me ask­ing me if I need a room. I was lazy and tired so I let him explain what he has to offer. He says “very beau­ti­ful  apart­ment with my own bath­room…” The price per night was 2 1/2 times more than I would have paid in the camp­ing, but the thought of a com­fort­able bed won. So here I am, in a Greek stranger’s car dri­ving towards Ale­pou. It’s a 10 min drive, so we arrive soon. From out­side, the resort seemed promis­ing. But the inside was like a jour­ney to the past, some 30 years back. The linens were at least clean and the ter­race was charm­ing, so I took it. The next thing I did was to ask my host how to arrive back in the old town for a stroll. He offers to take me, so in less than an hour, I am back in the city.

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It is already pitch dark, but the small streets smelling like sea and grilled octo­pus, are full of lights. On every cor­ner, there are tables await­ing their gen­er­ous tourist. Sou­venir shops with open doors into the streets, invite you to gaze at hand made jew­elry.  Most com­mon col­ors: white and blue.

To have a won­der­ful expe­ri­ence in Corfu old town, you don’t need a map. Just your eyes wide open and happy feet. At both ends of the town lies a fortress. Down­hill is the New Fortress and up the hill the Old one.

The New Fortress

is bet­ter to be vis­ited first because its gates close at 15:00 and there is no way you could get inside after that time. The Old Fortress has its inner court open until 20.00 so even if you can visit its inner cham­bers, every­thing else is open.

The Old Fortress

has its inner court open until 20.00 so even if you can visit its inner cham­bers, every­thing else is open. The Old Fortress has its inner court open until 20.00 so even if you can visit its inner cham­bers, every­thing else is open.  At night, the Old Fortress it is also quite eye catch­ing as its beau­ti­fully lighten, so dis­cretely that you may think the Greeks are short on elec­tric­ity. But they are not. They are just cre­at­ing that ambiance of inti­macy, you would like to feel if you would be walk­ing hand in hands with your beloved.

I actu­ally find Corfu Old Town charm­ing both by day and by night. By day is elec­tri­fy­ing. You don’t know what do to first. Sit at one of the tens of cof­fee shops tables and gaze at the peo­ple pass­ing by. Try the espresso, then the caffe latte, then the mac­chi­ato then…might have a caf­feine over­dose :).  Or go to the sea. Or have a Greek break­fast. Take a book, a cof­fee to go and sit on the grass. It’s quiet. It’s just start­ing to get warm and the breeze just tells you are doing the right thing.

The fresh market

in the Old Corfu town is also inter­est­ing to walk and taste in. Prices are not the small­est I have seen in the fresh mar­kets of Greece. I arrived there thirsty and hun­gry, so I stopped at the first stand where I saw cac­tus fruit, and I ate 5 of those in 5 min­utes. The Greek cou­ple sell­ing it saw how eager I was to eat right away, so they offered to wash and peel the fruits…an offer which I could not refuse. Sat­is­fied and thank­ful I con­tin­ued my quest to sat­isfy my taste buds. Next stop, avo­cado stand. Again, look­ing like a hun­gry kit­ten, the seller invited me to take a seat inside the stand, offered me a clean knife and a plate and I enjoyed the avo­ca­dos dis­cussing Euro­pean pol­i­tics and watch­ing the flow of the fresh mar­ket in Corfu from the back­stage.

Walk­ing alone through the streets of Corfu, I talked to strangers who were stop­ping me to say hello, and inquire about my jour­ney. It must have been my smile or joy that made them think approach­ing me is no haz­ard. They were locals, Greek men, used to flirt, used to con­nect with tourists, with the habit of mak­ing you smile. I got invi­ta­tions to a cof­fee, a din­ner or a later hang out :). I was called  Tran­syl­va­nian queen and I still don’t know what I did to deserve this title :).  But nev­er­the­less I admit I find the Greek flirt­ing appeal­ing and I have learned to appre­ci­ate in life a flirt I can under­stand from one I can’t. For exam­ple, the Ger­man or Aus­trian way of flirt­ing is like Man­darin to me. I have no idea when it starts and when it ends.

In my 1 1/2 days in Corfu I min­gled into the crowd, with no rush to find the happy hol­i­day feel­ing. I was liv­ing it for the past 6 months. I was blessed with a third eye, the one of the relaxed trav­eler whose vaca­tion days are nei­ther counted nor con­tain check­lists.

Thank you for read­ing. If you like this arti­cle, please share.
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