Or Kérkyra as it is spelt here.
Ever since I departed Athens those weeks ago, I knew it was a case of when not if I would return to Greece. Honestly folks, I really can't say enough about how lovely the people are, how relaxing their way of life is and what a peaceful existence they as individuals exude. I felt this in the capital city and I feel it here on one of their islands too. The friendly, helpful attitude of the locals could fool you into thinking this country has no economic problems and that everything here was fine and dandy. You might say this is because I am in a tourist focused area but the countless outlets here do not see much business at all. Not surprising really because there are so many of them selling the same stuff! Despite this, and remember we're talking about what drives their very existence here, these store owners that spend most of their day sat down hoping for customers can still manage a polite hello, a smile and provide some advice if you need it. In my opinion we as a nation would not be anywhere near so forthcoming in the same situation.
Speaking of lovely people, I got a wonderful surprise from the breakfast staff this morning.
Further to this - I genuinely received three different lots of hugs and kisses today - all from the female staff I'm relieved to report. These are people I've had very short and basic conversation and interaction with and I admit this took even a friendly, social butterfly like myself by surprise.
Look here, even Google remembered my birthday! :-)
So as I mentioned yesterday, the whole point of me coming to this island was for Rest and Relaxation. You saw that it didn't happen yesterday (but admittedly I wouldn't change the day) but did it happen today on my actual birthday........
NO!!! I say semi-annoyed with myself. Again, I blame the caring reception lady entirely!
To be fair, they are so proud of their island they want the tourists to see as much of it as they can. I get that. Also the weather was a bit suspect today so it wasn't sun bathing weather anyway. Could tomorrow (Wednesday) finally be the day of R&R!? I really hope so! :-)
So does anyone know many towns in Corfu other than the infamous youth-focused Kavos?
Today then I was advised to visit the very north of the island - Sidari. She also advised a visit to Corfu (the town) which was relatively close to where I am staying which is named Gouvia and yesterday I visited the beautiful Paleokastrica.
Go on folks, give this pronunciation a try out-loud I dare ya. After you've tried it, try it phonetically like this and see how close you were:
PAL - E - O - CASS - STREET - SA
So starting with Sidary in the north, here is some brief text and imagery:
They appear to have not updated their settlement count for a few years but five years ago there were less than 400 locals residing their permanently! A life with no traffic jams, noise pollution and minimal trouble I would imagine. Sounds bliss for a moment doesn't it...
When I walked down the main straight over a couple hundred meters, and in addition to the countless eateries, I did see a few hotels and villas close by and they appeared to have holiday makers staying. Certainly it wasn't a dead town like that number above would initially indicate. One thing is apparent though, not only is this all about providing for the tourists but a certain type of BRIT. Whilst waiting for the return bus, I met a Dutch couple waiting for the bus and they put it like this, all their is to do here is 'eat, walk a little, bathe a little, sleep and then eat again'.
I said 'I take it this isn't the Dutch way of life?'.
He said 'No' firmly.
We both didn't need to say any more as to which country this was entirely targeted towards.
Corfu town: Needless to say this thriving town has it all; beaches, a port, fortresses (old and new), popular socialising streets (The Liston, museums and archaeological sites. Sadly all too much for me to fit in during my short stay here. It's also only 10 minutes away from Gouvia on bus. Enough said.
And thus probably my first notable regret of my travels so far, underestimating how much there would be to do and enjoy in Corfu and not giving myself enough time here.
After a decent few hours out and about I made it back to my area and sat my Gouvia beach for a little while enabling me to capture the following image. I don't know about you but this initially made me think of Lake Garda although I'm not sure if you will get the same perspective through the camera...
TOP-TIP: Buses over here are cheap, reliable and well organised. You can travel to the vast majority of tourist
places with next to no difficulty and for not a lot of money. Best of all these buses offer AC, WiFi and have super friendly conductors on board and so all in all, a really pleasant form of public transport.
Knowing all of this, if you do come over here you could explore an entire island of this size in a week or so and you'll really feel like you've really got your monies worth. Considering this is the second largest Ionian island of seven you'll feel well accomplished having done this and you'll have seen more of the island than I will!