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Published: July 13th 2019
We see the view from our hotel in daylight for the first time. It‘s spectacular. The town of Paleokastritsa is on the west side of Corfu, and our hotel sits high on a cliff on a peninsula overlooking the stunning looking Paleokastritsa Harbour.
Our hotel is very big and quaint, and could almost double as something from a 1950s movie set on the French Riviera. There’s a light well in our bathroom, and we try hard to ignore the slightly disconcerting noises coming through the windows from the bathroom next door. I know we’re not here to watch TV, but if we were we’d need a telescope to see it from the other side of our room; I didn’t know they made TVs this small. We get in the lift. The floors are numbered 1, 2, 0, 3, 4 and 5 in that order, with the lobby being on floor 0. The indicator that tells us what floor we’re on seems to be stuck permanently on “minus 2“. The management seems to have decided that the average adult might be able to cope with this confusion, but not the younger crowd; there’s a sign that says that you’re not allowed
to get in the lift unaccompanied unless you’re at least 14.
We go exploring. We walk around the harbour past stunning views from every vantage point, and then up a hill to the Monastery of Paleokastritsa which sits at the top of a cliff. The Monastery dates from the thirteenth century, and the current buildings were constructed in the eighteenth century. It is currently home to 8 monks. We’re both wearing shorts, and the old Greek lady at the entrance decides that Issy is showing way too much skin to go in as she is, so she’s given a baggy skirt to put on, and a scarf to drape over her naked shoulders. She now looks very Greek. I watch a young girl try to throw a coin over her shoulder into a large well in the monastery’s courtyard. Apparently legend has it that if she succeeds she will get to come back here again one day. The coin lands on the paving next to the well, so it looks like it’s no coming back for her. I think I’m becoming a sucker for old Greek churches. They all look so sombre, dark and mysterious, and the icons, pictures
and murals are hypnotic. Issy says that all churches are mysterious to her. Issy’s not into churches.
We spend most of the afternoon relaxing on our balcony before heading out to a local taverna for dinner. The food is excellent, and Greek music is playing in the background. Issy says she‘s noticed that all Greek music seems to start slowly before gradually speeding up, which she says is to ensure that anyone dancing to it warms up properly and doesn’t pull a muscle when the high speed rhythm eventually kicks in. This sounds sensible when she says it, but I think beer might be starting to interfere with my appreciation of what is sensible and what isn’t. She’s starting to sound like an expert in Greek music, so I ask her what they do for metronomes here. When I learnt music, if you wanted to speed the music up you had to stop the metronome, adjust it, and then start it again, but I suspect that stopping the music and then restarting it again in the middle of a dance could be a bit disruptive to the natural flow. We conclude after much intellectual discussion that by now someone’s
probably invented a metronome app to get around this problem. We also agree that we’ve probably had enough to drink and that it might be best if we leave before the conversation gets any more inane.
We walk back to the hotel. Someone starts spraying us with water, or so we think, but then we realise that it’s sprinkling with rain. This is the first time we’ve experienced rain since we left home more than three weeks ago.
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