Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Our trip was from Istanbul to Athens, a 6 hour layover and then onwards to Corfu. All went well as far as Athens where we discovered that our booked car didn’t exist. After an hour faffing around they found us a car and we drove out to the seaside at Raffina and found a large and almost empty taverna right on the waterfront for a fish meal. I had smelts, tiny fish simply dusted with flour and fried and Nick had some calamari. The day was grey and rather cold. We moved on to another place near the port for frappes, our favourite Greek drink, Nescafe all zoomed up with ice, milk and sugar (believe it or not). Much nicer than passing time in an airport terminal. Then on to Corfu where at first we couldn’t find the luggage. Turned out it was at the “International” terminal in the next room because it had trans-shipped from Istanbul. This time there was a car.
It was night well and truly by the time we got to Kalami Beach. The season does not really begin until May 2, so the village was firmly shut and stayed that way for our five nights there, including little supermarkets and cafes. The view however, was gorgeous and it was very quiet and peaceful. We stayed in the Tassos boathouse right opposite the White House in which Lawrence Durrell lived on Corfu. What a great place that must have been for a child!

Dawn over The White House roof
Our place. We had the top floor with the nice verandah.
The White House from the beach
Mention of the Durrells

We spent a day exploring some of the rather splendid architecture left by previous occupants and visitors to Corfu. The Achilleion Palace, built for the Empress Elizabeth of Austria being one such place. Later it was lived in by Kaiser Wilhelm and a room was decorated with some furniture and mementoes. But basically this was a summer palace for Elizabeth, with glorious gardens, patios and outlooks.

Entrance view
A modest statue of Achilles looks out over the countryside
The wisteria walk
The dying Achilles, that pesky spear in his heel. Note the lovely colonnade and patio behind

One of the reasons for Corfu was to experience a Greek Easter, but to do that properly you have to stay up till past midnight on Easter Saturday. As Nick didn’t fancy driving an hour home at that time of night over the very bendy roads, we didn’t do that bit. With hindsight, we should have stayed in an hotel right on the Liston right in Corfu but then we wouldn’t have had the scenery and peace and quiet.
We did go to Corfu town for the procession and pot throwing on Easter Saturday morning. So did everyone else! They made us park the car at the New Port and bused us for free to close to town where we joined the scrum. We heard the music and saw a small amount of the procession. Mostly we saw the back of other people’s heads. However, we got to see the pot throwing. The custom appears to be that if you throw out the old the spring will bring you new things. The pots are thrown at 11.00am from windows of houses in the city, so the road has to be emptied of people below. Lots of whistle blowing!

Cheers greeted this big pot
The pot is on its way
The pretty Orthodox cathedral
The elegant Liston arcade opposite the cricket green

”I will get every piece with my trusty broom”
Some houses are a bit past their prime

After we wandered the Old Fortress and then the streets, eventually settling on a nice restaurant for lunch and later back home.
Corfu is an island filled with pretty coves and beaches as well as wild mountains. We explored quite a few and had some memorable meals, mostly because the food was good. The Easter Sunday lamb at  Paleokastrista, however, was very dry and overcooked by our preferences. We saw some up the road wrapped in intestines. That might have kept it more juicy and flavourful and certainly the Greeks were flocking. We made up for it by admiring the view which was just stunning. The bluest of waters and small boats waiting to take tourists on visits to the local bays and beaches. However, we still found that many of the small towns were quite closed and there were very few people. If you are going to Corfu, go when the tourist season is on.

Windmill near Corfu town. Three old blokes work on their tan.

Waiting to ferry tourists round the caves and beaches at Paleokastrista
Kassiopi Harbour with Albania in the background
A tiny fishing boat coming into Kassiopi

Corfu was lovely and very different from other Greek islands, much more of an Italianate flavour. Given that it was ruled for centuries by the Venetians I suppose that is not surprising. We enjoyed it greatly for the scenery, the quiet and the simple but good food. Nick is getting quite adventurous!


  1. im having so much fun reading about your travels. :)

  2. Brings back a lot of memories. Lovely photos, as always.


  3. Thanks people. The holiday is lovely.