Now that I am back home and have wifi that doesn’t run at a snails pace I have been able to upload a selection of photos from the trip for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!
Last days of a holiday are always difficult as there’s the packing up, checking out and then the hanging around at the airport. Fortunately for us our flight wasn’t until 9pm and we still had the hire car so we could make the most of the day.
We spent all the afternoon back in Corfu Town this time visiting the Old Fort and the park below it where they seem to have encased Lawrence Durrell in carbonite…
After an early evening meal we made our way to the airport where the plane, full of rowdy pensioners (and us), left early!
Back to reality with a bump as we made our way back home with late road closures and the overhead matrix signs as usual not reflecting reality.
Now time to plan our next adventure.
It’s our penultimate day in Corfu and we are beginning to struggle to find new things to do, part of the problem to coming to an island so small and not being the sort of people to just sit and relax by the pool!
We have been so lucky with the weather so far but today looked like it might not continue as the clouds over our first destination, Achilleion Palace, were very threatening but also mesmerising to watch. However, when we got there the clouds parted and it was lovely and sunny. The rest of the day continued in the same vein and so still haven’t seen any rain.
We didn’t actually go into the palace as we have been before and it is expensive for what it is. However, there is a cafe right next door called “Bella Vista” and it really isn’t overselling – the view is stunning.
From Achilleion we drove down to the coast and walked across the split back to the Vlacherna monastery and then took a boat over to Mouse Island, so called because it is apparently shaped like a mouse although it is impossible to tell that from the ground.
Finally we drove to Kaiser’s Throne just a few kilometres from the hotel. Apparently Kaiser Wilhelm II used to holiday in Corfu at Achilleion but loved the view from Pelekas which is where the “throne” is and you get some fantastic 360 degree views across the whole island and beyond.
Our final evening was spent in the “posh” restaurant of the hotel where it is much more selective and not self-service. There just a few places and they are all outside overlooking the sea. A great way to spend our final evening.
While Corfu is a small island traversing it can take a while as the roads are narrow, windy and not very well maintained. So a trip from Ermones to Kassiopi which is about 25 miles takes an hour and a half. Of course it’s not a bad view as you make your way over but you do have to be alert to not dropping off the side of some cliff.
Our first stop on the way was Angelokastro a beautiful fortress at the top of a set of steep steps, although nothing like those at Kotor. It’s a great place with a fabulous view.
From there it was on to the seaside town of Kassiopi from where we could stand and look across the water to Saranda in Albania where we were yesterday. We had some food in the same taverna that we eat in last time and I shied away from the calamari remembering just how much I got before.
Back at the hotel in the evening there was the most enormous electrical storm which thankfully didn’t last long but did take out all the electrics in both our hotel and the one opposite the bay.
Corfu is a small island and so it is difficult to find new things to do but today we stumbled upon somewhere we hadn’t been before. On our way to the very beautiful Vlacherna Monastery we stopped at some Roman ruins that we had seen before but never got round to.
Opposite was an unprepossessing entrance with what looked like a pretty garden the other side. On closer inspection it turned out that this was the birth place of our very own Phil the Greek! Having recently been round his latest home it seemed rude not to also see his birth home too. While the grounds were extensive the house itself was pretty modest but still more stately and grand than our own home. He wasn’t slumming it!
We drove on from there to Vlacherna which is a tiny monastery on the outskirts of Corfu Town. The last time we visited it seemed a really peaceful place but, as you can see from the image above, it is also in the flight path for Corfu airport. While we were there three planes came in to land. Not so peaceful after all.
Finally, we drove to Corfu Town itself and wandered the streets in search for two things: a cafe that Helen had said had great coffee and an Olympiacos shirt. After going round in circles we eventually found the Cafe Bristol and I’m told the coffee was as good as Helen remembered.
So today was our last day at sea sailing over night from Montenegro back to Greece to leave our floating hotel for one on terra firma.
The whole cruise operation is a slick one and with a ratio of two guests to every crew member it is hard not find someone no matter where you are on board. Thomson style themselves as the friendliest cruise and we can attest to that with every crew member keen to offer a smile and a cheery hello. This makes for a happy ship but if you are going from one end to the other that’s an awful lot of hellos!
We got chatting to the two stewards that were working in our section of the ship – one from Egypt and the other from the Ukraine. They work for a stretch of between seven and nine months and then get to go home before the “company” (Tui in this case) call them up again in what can be as little as after two weeks at home. They can get to leave the ship and visit the places it docks but in a number of cases they need a visa. It must be tough and I’m impressed they continue to smile.
The biggest smiles, however, are held by the members of the entertainment team and in particular the ten that make up the troupe that put on the show each evening. This usually consists of 45 minutes of song and dance numbers – one evening it was Broadway hits, another it was The Beatles and the final night “Africa”. It is surprisingly good fun, if a little camp, with the quality probably better than you should expect given that it is included in the price.
So at 9am we were off the boat and onto a coach to take as to the airport where we picked up a hire car and drove over to the hotel. We were here two years ago and we were pleased to see that it was just as we remembered it – complete with the abundance of wasps. Tomorrow we start phase two of the holiday!
Greece is a beautiful place and it is easy to get carried away with the snapping, especially now that everything is digital and there is no cost for processing.
Obviously, nobody is going to sit through that many pictures, even on a slideshow at five seconds per picture that is an hour and 25 minutes! So Helen and I went through them all last night with a view to reducing them to a number we thought people might stand. So here I present the 83 photos that best sum up our holiday. If you want to see them on a single page click here.