Sunday, 31 May 2015

Corfu (Beth)

We had decided to visit Corfu based on the recommendation of a British couple we met at Camping Poseidon. I personally was unaware of Corfu's reputation as a bit of a party destination and didn't know what to expect. The couple had told us that the old town was worth a visit and since we hadn't visited any of the other islands, and were promised a campsite with a pool, we bought our return tickets and boarded the ferry.

A few hours later we disembarked and I have to say, first impressions were not good. We drove about twenty minutes north along the coast which seemed to be rather lacking in beaches and high on large shops with a run-down air about them.

Race on!
At the campsite we checked in and found a pitch away from the other campers (for their benefit, not ours) and within ten  minutes the boys were splashing about in the pool. We had another lazy day on the loungers and ate Gyros for our tea. 

You're just showing off now Alf
The lure of the pool kept us at the campsite for the second day, only venturing onto the (unimpressive) beach in the evening for dinner.

Cool as a cucumber, me


    Less said the better.

After two days of serious relaxation, we set off to explore the old town. The sat nav decided we need to go on the usual tour of the backstreets, so we got to see some more run-down areas.

After a little bit of trouble finding a parking spot, we eventually squeezed the van into a car park and made our way to the old town. The cobbled streets yielded many shops selling the usual tourist tat, with the cafes and ice-cream being slightly more expensive than we have been getting used to. The streets are very pretty however, and my sketchy grasp of history informs me that the Venetians ruled here in the past and their influence is obvious to see, there were many similarities to Venice in the buildings and densely packed streets.

After negotiating our way through the side-streets we eventually found our way up to the New Fort, where we had a quick look around (great views from the top but not much else to see) and then tried to have a quiet coffee whilst the boys chased each other around the courtyard.

Oh joy. Another old monument.

Dad, look at that irritating smudge in the corner of the photo

Views across to the Old Fort on the horizon

By now it was getting late and the boys were getting to that stage where they have to irritate each-other and everyone around them, so we headed back to the campsite, having decided that we would leave tomorrow.

The views from the top of the fortress were spectacular

The next day we got packed up, conscious that the campsite had been very particular about us leaving on time. As is our usual practice, I went to settle the bill while Nathanial was finishing off the packing, as the receptionist was very particular that we leave before noon (quite un-Greek I thought) and then also tried to short-change me, which was clearly intentional.

With a choice of times for the return ferry, we decided to head back to the Old Town (which is quite near the port) and have another wander around, wanting to see the Old Fort.

The Old Fort was much more interesting to visit than it's counterpart and we happily wandered around for a few hours, eventually climbing upwards to gain the sister view of the preceding day.

The Old Fortress Church

No, you can't try my ice-cream.

After a great afternoon sightseeing, we headed back to the van for a quick tea before boarding the ferry back to Igoumenitsa. Corfu Old Town had been lovely to visit, but perhaps not worth forking out for the ferry to see. Apparently Corfu wanted to clean up it's image after letting hordes of drunk British tourists tear up the town for years. This has been accomplished, but the stricter rules and the advent of all-inclusive package holidays has spelled disaster for many of the smaller restaurants and bars, hence the run-down feel of the island. Never mind, there are lots more islands we need to try. Next time Kefalonia perhaps?

On the mainland, we drove back to the beach we had stayed on previously with the intention of crossing to Albania in the morning, slightly sceptical now about 'recommendations' from the British couple.

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