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Published: September 21st 2010
The fortress that greeted us on our arrival in Corfu
We decided that relaxing in Greece was way too good to give up just yet. So, on Saturday July 31 we set our sights on Corfu. This time we avoided the monotonous, never-ending train ride that would take us to Athens and then to Patras and opted to take the bus, which in Greece is a way better form of transportation, to Igoumenitsa where we caught a ferry to Corfu. The ferry got us there just before dark. Dan stayed at the Pink Palace 5 years ago and said they had a shuttle that would likely be at the ferry port. So after getting off the ferry at the “small” port we trekked to the “big” port to see if we could find that shuttle. To our disappointment there was no shuttle so we found a payphone to call the hostel and find out when a shuttle would come. It was still an hour or so until the shuttle would show up so we walked around to find some food. By now it was dark so Ashley was a little apprehensive about walking down a dark street, away from the main drag, with no light; but we found some killer pitas
These are the guys with the fire and plate smashing
in a small kebab shop. Tzatziki is so delicious! Anyways, a little later the shuttle showed up at the port and though we had to detour to the airport to pick up more weary travellers, we got to the Pink Palace by midnight…or maybe it was 11pm.
Once we arrived we had a shot of pink ouzo (it’s not pink in real life) and checked in. It was Saturday night; anyone who’s been to the Pink Palace, which is probably half of Calgary’s population, knows that Saturday night means Toga Party. As tired as we were from travelling all day long, and although Dan had been to one already, we decided we couldn’t miss out. Who can say ‘no’ to wearing a pink toga, Greek dancing and plate smashing? Not us! We danced our butts off which is no easy feat when you have been living the lazy life and are winded after one song. There was Greek dancing and fire and plate smashing. Everyone got a free shot of ouzo (we each got 2) and a plate smashed on our heads. I have to tell you, if you are ever presented with the opportunity to have a plate
Fire and ice
I don't know what to say about this one. It was the result of Dan taking 5 successive shots when the Greek dancers were playing with fire.
smashed on your head…run…run very far away, very fast. It’s not that it hurts a lot per se; oh, who am I kidding, it hurt since I had only had 2 or 3 drinks by that point. In other words, not enough to dull the pain. One of the dances involved a dancer carrying a table with his teeth; stacked on the table were plates, glasses, ouzo, and fire!!! Let’s just say that it’s exactly what it sounds like and it was pretty impressive. The rest of the night consisted of a long walk on the rocky and seaweedy beach and finding a neighbourhood kitten who quickly became attached to us.
Skip to the next day and we slept in until 11am. We went down to the beach and sunned ourselves. Unfortunately, the beach by the hostel is not so pleasant. Think rocks, rocks and more rocks. We got into the water but it wasn’t as calm or sandy as the water in Kavala. The waves were really rough and there were rocks under foot which made it scary to put your feel down because you never knew what you’d be stepping on. The tide took us to the
View from our room
Not a bad way to wake up in the morning
other side of the beach, which, thankfully, was sandy so it was easier to get out. Too bad we didn’t know about the sandy beach earlier. We spent the rest of the day relaxing at the hostel.
On August 2 we thought we’d get out and meet people and decided we’d go on the Booze Cruise. Not really our scene but some of the activities sounded fun. By the time we went to town for a snack and headed back to the meeting point the event had been cancelled. They said there were choppy waters which didn’t mix with booze but we thought it had more to do with having a smaller girl to guy ratio. We still had most of the day to kill so we rented a scooter and explored the island. Let me tell you, taking a scooter around the island is a fantastic way to see Corfu. We were on tiny roads where we couldn’t see if there was a car coming toward us and other roads had inclines so steep you’d think you were in Alps. Imagine a small scooter (80cc) with two people loaded on it putt, putt, putting up a steep hill.
Pomegranates growing on a tree at the hostel
It was exhilarating. We found a great sandy, if not touristy, beach not too far away in Glyfada. The sand was so hot we had to run between our beach chairs and the water and the water was freezing cold. But it was lovely to just float in the water. After some aimless wandering we went to a medieval fortress on top of a cliff. Unfortunately, it was Monday so it was closed, but we walked up to it for the view which was breathtaking. We had a drink at the café near the fortress and enjoyed just being there. By that time it was 5 and we wanted to give ourselves a couple hours to get back in case we got lost. We got back an hour earlier than the scooter had to be returned so we went in the other direction for a while longer. We ended up on a gravel road which doesn’t evoke much confidence on a scooter I must say.
On August 3 we were successful in our quest to go on the Booze Cruise. Unfortunately, they didn’t have much choice of the booze part of the cruise. There was cheap beer (yuck!) and
During our scooter ride we came across this fortress. It was so fortified they wouldn't even let Dan in,..
a couple unknown mixed drinks (yikes!). The boat couldn’t dock very close to the beach so we had to walk through the water to get to it. A line of tourists walking armpit deep holding our bags over our heads; quite a sight. Our first stop was a 50 foot rock sticking out of the water for cliff jumping. Dan was eager to go and was in the water in no time. He had to swim over to the cliff and then climb up it; currents are amazing and this one was strong going the wrong way to swim there. To get up the cliff you had to swim into a hole in the rock, so that you were in the middle of it, but it was open to the sky. The rocks there seemed like it was all one, but with holes all over so it was really easy to climb, despite it being sharp and needing sandals. Ashley, on the other hand, was way too much of a chicken to even think of jumping off the cliff; it was way too scary for her. Dan got enough adrenaline for the both of us. After the current pushed him
The view from the fortress
Did we mention cliffs and clear blue water?
back to the boat he decided to go back for another jump. The water was crystal clear and beautiful, from the top of the cliff you could easily see the bottom despite it being at least another 10m deep. The boat also pulled into a bat cave. That was some of the chilliest water I have ever been in; we're talking glacier cold minus the ice. It was so cold because it was in a cave and out of the sun. It’s amazing how much the sun contributes to the temperature of the water. Anyways, we all jumped into this freezing cold water and swam into the cave. The people at the front of the line screamed and then hundreds of bats flew overhead. I’m glad I was at the back; hundreds of bats flying overheard while I’m treading water is not my idea of a good time. Another, smaller, boat with a family followed us into the cave. Apparently their engine quit and our captain could not get it going again. So, the captain tied them to us and they followed us for the rest of our trip. I felt bad for them. I mean, who wants to be
It wasn't so bad...really!
towed behind a loud party boat with a bunch of young people drinking? The last stop was a private beach where we hung out for half an hour. Unfortunately, like a lot of Corfu, the beach was filled with tiny little rocks. So we sat on the beach for most of our time there. That was the end of the cruise and we headed back to the hostel. For the rest of the night we ate some dinner and relaxed in our room. On a side note; dinners at the pink palace are really quite good; three course meal with all the food groups, even if the soups lack a little imagination.
The next day we left Corfu to head back to Germany.
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