Corfu rubbed me wrong at the beginning. Entering by boat, Corfu is beautiful, a mountainous island a stone’s throw from Albania. The megayachts are lined up outside the harbor beneath the citadel. History back to before there was such a thing as history. The promise of Ouzo and grilled octopus.
Going into the Port Authority and seeing a holding cell full of what I assume to be North African refugees piled up in a tiny cell made me both sad and scared. Going into town to look for cell phones made me think “Tijuana”. Even once we got into the good part, Corfu Old Town my opinion elevated only to “Puerto Vallarta”. I have left Italy, the land untouched by ugliness, and Sicily, the land of lust and heat, for the Mexico of Europe. I fumed.
Upon second glance, my opinion of Corfu elevated a good deal. First a good night’s sleep, then a trip to the grocery store to buy, as ever, way too much food, then curse myself for all the troubled way back to the boat with it in tow. A taxi, three longs walks down the dock with heavy bags in the first day over 80/80. (degrees/%humidity). We got the food and the next guests, our son Matt and Emma on board, went to lunch, heard all Matt and Emma’s travels so far. They both seem to be having a great time, so that’s contagious, and a-beaming we motored from the marina to the large anchorage underneath the “Old Fort”. The Old Fort was built starting in 800 A.D, and the New Fort, note the use of the word new here, in the 1500s.
We were amazed by the neighborhood, at the anchorage anyway. We anchored amid 5 yachts over 250 feet. A small, tasteful, modern 150 footer whose name I missed, looked as out of place as we did, but since we were the only sailboat, we had the tallest rig with spreader lights. Still we looked rather minnow-esque next the these big fish. Luna, Le Gran Bleu, Ocean Victory, Cakewalk, and Saint Nicholaus are over 250 feet, while Bandito, Whisper, Jamaica Bay and IBoat (squared) were only 98-140 or so feet, darling little things.
Will post an entry on those boats with close up photos.
We first climbed the Old Fort to get photos and see the panorama. The Ionian University now sits on the point of the Old Fort and on our return trip we walked down a row of buildings that house the music school. An opera singer and her accompaniment were rehearsing as well as a string quartet. The music added an unexpected element of beauty.
We walked the streets of Old Town with Matt and Emma squealing with delight at all the old European town things that we have grown accustomed to: limestone streets, cobbled alleys, old world (and in this case Venetian) architecture with arches at the first floor and rotting shuttered windows, A Esplanade (the Litton) left by the short period of French rule, that is filled with cafés and bars and shops, kids playing in the Cricket field that sits alongside the Esplanade, street after street of open shops, kids playing among a throng of tourists as if they were nothing more annoying than the heat and insects of summer.
We had dinner. Walking back we found the Elsplanade filled with people, mostly kids doing kids things, standing in cliques and looking like a mix of prostitots and mini rappers. World fashion seems to be set by pop stars. Sigh. There was a Greek festival in the park, with about 100 people in Traditional Greek dress doing those funny little Greek dances we all associate with Greekdom. There weren’t many tourists, which made that even more delightful. Full bellies and walked out, we went back to Amante and slept well.