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Saturday, October 8, 2016

10/8: Low-Flying Jets & Mouse Island near Corfu Town

We had had a pretty full day in Corfu visiting the city’s major sights and were waiting for the bus to take us back to our apartment in the boonies south of Corfu Town when we saw this horse and buggy. Our visit to Corfu had unearthed an interesting mix of old and new ways of life, Venetian and British influences, simple cafes and elegant homes as well as a first rate museum.
On the bus on the way back to the apartment, I suggested on the spur of the moment that we get off halfway at the Kanoni stop. On our way into town this morning, we had seen from the bus a small island off the coast and were eager to explore it as this would be our last chance to do so. 
We walked down the hill from the bus stop and across a narrow footbridge causeway
We had also been able to glimpse this adorable little church that was accessible via the causeway. Who could resist stopping there? Not us, that's for sure.
As we walked along the causeway single file, we watched anglers hoping to catch some fish in the late afternoon – perhaps for their dinner? 
It turned out that the causeway was the best place in the world we have ever been to if you’re at all interested in getting the ideal shots at planes just before they land a few feet beyond you. 
Watching the planes come in for landing just over our heads, I felt I needed to duck as they roared by. Our apartment was on a flight path and that was another reason it had not been an ideal choice. But seeing the planes so close up was incredibly neat and a real thrill. I took a really good picture of one of the planes as it flew just overhead but I deleted it, stupidly thinking, well, we’ve all seen photos of planes, so how can this one be any different? I am still so bummed I did that as I would have really liked the proof of how darn close we were to it!

We walked over to see the tiny white convent of Vlacherna for a few minutes – how perfectly picturesque the famous landmark was. According to the marble plaque above the white traditional belltower, the present chapel was built in 1685. The oldest still existing funeral gravestone dates from 1758. 

We were lucky the boats were still running from the convent every few minutes over to the miniscule Pontikonisi Island. It is said to be Odysseus’ ship turned to stone by Poseidon. 
From the boat, the convent looked quite large - believe me though, it was not!

Pontikonisi Island means ‘Mouse Island’ in Greek as, viewed from afar, the island gives the impression of a mouse. It is more widely known as its English name.

After being dropped off, and with no information about pick up time, we climbed the steps to the exquisite Monastery of Panayia. 

The Byzantine church was built in the 11th or 12th century and included the memorial tablets of Empress Elizabeth and Archduke Rodolfo of Austria .
The fact that the church happened to have a peacock on its roof  just added to its charm too of course! This is the third time this trip that we have seen peacocks in the wild, the other two being on an island off Dubrovnik and near Ohrid. I am still as intrigued by the feathered animals as I was the first time.

Since bus service was so infrequent between Corfu Town and our apartment, we had to keep one eye on our watchs the whole time we were seeing the churches and on the island. We needed to make sure we allotted enough time to walk back on the causeway and then hike back up the hill to get the next bus coming from Corfu Town back to our stop near the hotel right out of a horror movie.
Luckily, we had enough time to watch one more plane approach the runway!

What an unexpected delight it had been taking the detour to view the delightful chuches and hear the deafening roar of the planes as they landed just beyond us.

Posted from Santorini, Greece on October 17th, 2016.

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