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Saturday, October 15, 2016

10/7: A Rainy Welcome to Corfu, Greece

We took the morning ferry from Saranda, Albania over to Corfu, Greece and it was one of the most unusual boats we’ve ever been on. It was like a semi submarine as it rode so low on the water and there were no seats above as we had expected. There were signs on the boat instructing everyone to sit in the seats during the 30 minute ferry ride. We could understand why soon enough as it was a very bumpy ride from start to finish. It had looked very overcast from the moment we got up but the rain held off until the boat was underway. At that point, it came down in torrents.

I gingerly made my way to the stern, lurching like a drunken sailor, to get some photos of the coastline. There was a biting wind and a stinging rain but it was still almost fun for a minute or two!

The ride was so rough that I had to take at least six shots of this sign to get one that was at least legible because I wasn’t able to keep the camera steady!
We had arranged to be met outside the port by the owner of the apartment we were staying in outside of Corfu Town. We arrived in Corfu at 12:30 Greek time, an hour later than Albanian, and by the time we made it through immigration and found where we were supposed to be picked up, the owner was no longer there as she had given up and driven home. Of course, to add insult to injury, our phone hadn’t been charged. We ended up waiting for about 90 minutes in the worst storm we have encountered in a long time on one of our overseas trips for her to come back after Steven borrowed a phone to call her. We didn’t mind getting wet but our bags got soaked. Later, we had to remove everything from them as even the contents got quite wet even though about 75 percent of all our stuff was in space saving bags. What a mess!

I think we said last year we need to waterproof our bags before our next trip. Guess what – we really need to do it as soon as we get home so we don’t have to go through the same problem again! 
Normally we are spot on when it comes to making reservations for our accommodations at each spot along the way, meaning that the hotel or hostel is in a great location near to all the sights we want to see. That was sure not the case in Perama, our place outside of Corfu Town. 
Since it was the end of the season, we were the only guests in the nine unit building which was located up a very steep hill about a 40 minute bus ride out of town. Of course, since we were out in the boonies, bus service was very infrequent too! Even the owner and her family lived elsewhere so we were all alone in the middle of nowhere.
The closest place to get anything to eat was a good 3km walk away, so once the rain had let up a bit, we walked down the very steep hill (what is it with us and steep hills this trip?) to the main road and hoofed it along the coast south to the town of Benitses. 
Corfu is a very lush island due to the heavy amounts of precipitation it receives. That certainly helped explain the gorgeous flowers we saw on our walk. Gloria: I kept thinking of you and how much you would have loved seeing these. I can just imagine your wanting to make note cards as you did with some of John’s photos this summer.

The beaches we walked past seemed very rocky and not very appealing for swimming – I guess we are spoiled by the fantastic white, sandy beaches down in Florida.

Whenever I had an image of what I envisioned a Greek church should look like, this was exactly it: namely stark white with royal blue accents, the colors of the Greek flag. I hope we’ll see others like that during the rest of our stay in Greece.
Seeing this roadside memorial gave us pause for thought as the road/highway was extremely narrow and had numerous curves, there were few sidewalks along the entire stretch and the drivers drove at often excessive rates of speed on the rain-slicked pavement. On the glass half full side, the flowers along the way had been exceptionally beautiful!
Suellen: I saw this sign for the Shell Museum and thought of how much you and Ron would probably love to visit it if you come to Corfu one day.
Luckily, after walking all that way, we found a number of restaurants that were open to choose from despite the apartments’ owner who feared all might be closed for the night.
After a dinner of souvlaki – after all this was our first night together in Greece - we managed to find the bus stop and got a ride back to the bus stop at Hotel Freni, the abandoned hotel closest to the apartment. It had all the elements of a perfect horror movie – lightning, thunder, torrential rain, jungle-like flowers and vines, a deserted hotel nearby and only two foreigners in a complex high up a steep, winding hill with no one else within shouting distance.
At that point, I know dear Steven looked at me and silently wondered how and why I had picked this God-forsaken place and I had no ready answers. But I was sure the sun would come out tomorrow!

Posted from sunny Santorini, Greece on October 15th, 2016.

1 comment:

  1. Pink flowers are surprise lilies. Trumpet flowers facing downwards. Lil Red


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