Corfu: Relaxing on a Greek Island.
After spending three weeks in Poland, Vlad and I realized that while we thoroughly enjoyed city sight seeing and "cafe" living, we began to miss the ocean, beaches, and a warmer climate. With this in mind, we decided then and there that our next destination would be Greece. We booked a flight to Athens on 8/10, full of excitement for warm weather, delicious Greek food, and swimming in the sea!
When we arrived in Athens that Sunday, we encountered the city empty with most businesses closed. To our surprise, we later learned that we got to Greece right before the annual holiday period when most natives go on vacation for two weeks. Unfortunately, this became an issue for us when booking accommodations, transportation and figuring out any further details of our trip. The most popular destinations - such as Santorini and Mykonos - quickly became out of reach due to the lack of availability as well as sky rocketing prices.After being turned away from multiple apartments on Cyclades islands (the most popular group of Greek Islands on the Aegean Sea), we decided to change directions and take a short flight to Corfu - a popular island on the west coast of Greece, close to Albania.
After landing in Corfu in the evening, we boarded a bus to bring us to the hotel. It was an hour+ ride along the east coast of the island, through some small, picturesque towns. We patted ourselves on our backs thinking that the universe was throwing us a bone, and that our trip to Greece would turn out well! Little did we know that our hotel was nowhere near the cute towns, and far away from most civilization. After riding in the dark for 20 minutes, we finally arrived at the Seaside Resort. Those of you who know me know that 'cuteness' of any place ranks very high on my list of desirable attributes in pretty much ANYTHING in life. Seaside Resort was... how should I put this.... NOT cute. It was basic. No frills. It was like a plain, untoasted, soggy bagel, scooped out, and also perhaps moldy. But, I'm a big girl, and I can get over a lack of cuteness if need be. After all, it's just a place for us to sleep - no big deal, right?
We decided to get over our disappointment with the hotel and instead fill our bellies with some delicious Greek food so we headed to the only small town that was within walkable distance - Kavos. As we were walking over, we stumbled upon a beautiful outdoor wedding celebration of the daughter of the owner of our hotel. It looked like a lot of fun - with people drinking, eating and dancing. We wondered how they were able to get away with so much noise outdoors - after all, it was already eleven pm. And then we realized that there simply was not a whole lot of people to be disturbed. Kavos turned out to be a tiny hamlet, with some small grocery stores, gyro shops, a club, a bar, a lounge, a few combinations of the three, few medical emergency spots aaaaaand that's pretty much it. The more we walked through it, the clearer it became that we arrived at the Greek Jersey Shore. The clientele proved this as they paraded in barely-there outfits, with helium balloons and drinks in their hands. What we were hoping would be peace and quiet, was replaced by loud ntsss ntsss ntsss beats in the air.
Needless to say, this was not our scene. Corfu was not how Vlad and I imagined the Greek Islands would be. We made the most of our stay there though and made it a point to explore the entire island from all sides which turned out to be beautiful. We just ended up on the wrong side of it. We rented scooters and rode up north towards two quite beautiful beaches - Santa Barbara and Agios Ioannis Persisteron, the latter of which had a pebbly seashore with gorgeous views of the mainlad. Scooter riding was especially exciting as I finally decided to give it a try and successfully rode it around a few parking lots! In the end, Corfu had some redeeming qualities - such as the Vlacherna Monastery or Corfu Town which is a very picturesque and colorful place and we're glad we got to visit. But when it came time to leave for the next part of our trip, neither of us was too upset... :)
For more photos of Corfu, check out the Gallery page.
Flight from Athens to Corfu was very quick.
Wedding in the olive tree garden. Kavos town at night. Kavos town during the day. Helium baloons are popular attraction among the young crowd. Surgery spots are medical centers ready to take in anyone whose night got a bit out of hand. Classy T-Shirts.
This is where we stayed on Corfu. The place was a summer resort which many Europeans enjoyed. Before the recession hit Greece, the area where we stayed was thriving with hotels booked at capacity. Today, many of those hotels are abandoned.
This was our room. It was our least favorite places to sleep so far. Mattress was so uncomfortable that I thought it would poke out my ribs. The room looked like the cleaning lady skipped a few shifts. No bueno. Day of exploring the island on a scooter - Santa Barbara Beach. Vlad after a swim + tiny people. Santa Barbara was a typical sandy beach with some waves. We drove a bit more north and ended up in a taverna in town called Agios Ioannis Peristeron. The view from this place was really nice. We had a small snack of tatziki and garlic bread and coffees. Few steps away from the restaurant there were beautiful pebbly beaches and we settled on one for few hours. It was my favorite spot and view on the island. You can see the mainland Greece in the background. Vlad floating. Resting after a swim. Vlad reading on the porch in front of our room. This was the beach on the property of the resort. It was right outside of our room. It was really nice to jump in for a refreshing swim at any time of the day. The water was shallow for about fifty feet before it started getting deep. Day trip to Corfu Town - we started exploring by going to a local market. Too bad we couldn't pick up any of the local fish. This is one of many stalls selling fresh seafood.
Doesn't it look more appetizing when it's grilled? We picked up some oranges as a snack. Fruits and vegetables in Greece are fairly inexpensive. I presume this guy is a local priest of some sort. Next we headed to the New Fortress in Corfu Town. It is located on a the west hill of Agios Markos and was built at the end of 16th century. The view from it was specacular. Looking at the town from the New Fortress. In the far distance you can see the Old Fortress. Corfu Town is serious about safety - your safety. Charming rooftops and old buildings.
Peeking through one of the fortress' narrow windows. This dog was probably tired from the heat and decided to take a nap. It was very strange to stumble upon him in the dark fortress; we first thought that he was dead!
Picturesque little streets and restaurants in Corfu Town.
Side street. Local Market.
Vlad at the market, listening to one of his podcasts (probably FATK) while I did some window shopping. Since I can't really buy stuff because of our limited backpack space, I just got some local olive oil soap that we can use on the road. Only a 10 min bus ride from Corfu Town is famous Vlacherna Monastery, situated on the tiny island of Pikontikonisi. The monastery is also very close to the Corfu Airport runway. Watching the planes land and take off was a fun activity and took about 1.5 hours of our afternoon. Easy Jet plane making a turn right before take off. And we soon took off in a similar one ready for the next part of our adventure in Rome.
Love the photos of this town! Keep enjoying yourselves! xo
Corfu actually looks a lot better than what I imagined - especially the old town & the water, which is not surprisingly beautiful :) I guess it could be a little more upkept, but overall looks cute! The airbnb you booked looks like a pretty sick NYC apartment, whaaaaat! haha jk.
I love the photos and the island. I can't say I read the post...saving that for a rainy night. But very nice indeed!
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