Kalimera Corfu.

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19 June

I guess you can tell I’m not a very experienced cruise passenger (unlike most people on this ship, it appears) but it still seems a little surreal to go to sleep, and wake upon the same bed, in the same room, but a different country. Yesterday we were in Croatia, today Greece. Our first port of call was the island of Corfu, one of the seven Ionian Islands. Corfu Town is an interesting architectural mixture, reflecting its past under Venetian, French & British rule. We had a full day in Corfu, with a tour in the morning and then free time all afternoon.

Our guide took us first to the “old” fortress (built in the 15th century) – there is another fortress which is new (16th century!). I was expecting a tour of the fortress, but it seems we mainly went there to see the view of the town. It was a good view but I was a bit disappointed not to see the fortress. It is surrounded by a moat, and we crossed the drawbridge to enter it.  The old town is a jumble of tiny streets lined with shops – a mixture of tourist shops and regular shops catering to the locals. The buildings are a unique mixture of Eastern, Venetian and Georgian, all needing a lick of paint. There’s a wide Parisian-style boulevard called the Liston (because apparently you once had to be ‘on a list’ of noble families to be allowed to use that promenade), and there’s even a cricket pitch. The British introduced cricket to Corfu and it is played there to this day – the only place in Greece that does so. The guide (whose name I can’t remember) took us through the narrow lanes, pointing out some recommended shops and cafes along the way (like we had a chance of finding them again!) and took us to yet another interesting old cathedral where we were not allowed to take photos.

Once the tour had finished, Dad & I went in search of the Synagogue. It was well sign-posted, surprisingly, and we found it fairly easily, and had a little look around. There are very few Jews in Corfu now, but we saw a memorial to 2000 who perished in the concentration camps in WW2. We managed to find our way back to the pick up point for a shuttle bus (frequent helpful street maps with “You Are Here” clearly marked helped!) and Dad returned to the ship for a rest. I soldiered bravely on, exploring the lane ways, window shopping and (as usual) taking photos. I enjoyed exploring the less touristy lanes, and sat for a while in a cafe drinking freshly squeezed orange juice and watching the world go by. I walked along the sea front, where some delightful cafes competed for space with tiny pebbly beaches and sparkling blue-green water. I even found a Marks & Spencer store.

By mid afternoon it was definitely siesta time, and I headed back to the ship. A swim revived me and we relaxed as we sailed to Ithaca, our next stop. We had to anchor there and tender to shore, but as we only had a very short time there, Dad & I decided we would stay on board and relax, and save our energies for tomorrow. It did feel a little lazy, but that’s what cruising does to you!

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