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.
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.