Sunday, September 6, 2009


Friday, October 26th, 2007 Island of Corfu awaits us off the coast….

Our Greek owners came home about 1:30 am, after closing their restaurant; and, I could still hear them talking at 4 am when I got up to answer mother nature’s call during the night. But, you must realize that they don’t start eating their dinner until after 10 pm; we’re considered rather odd for eating between 5 and 6 in the evening!

Up about 8 am we went downstairs to fix our own breakfast. They had instant coffee and we’d picked up bread, jam and cheese at the store last night. Jim also had purchased a tin of chocolate mix for his coffee. While we were eating the owner came in and starting fixing Greek Coffee; very strong and sweet; served in a tiny demitasse cup. He insisted on fixing a cup for Jim. Jim took one sip and made me finish the cup. Not bad but think I’ll stay with the black American style coffee. By 9 am we were on the road and headed for the port city of Igoumenitsa. The weather was foggy as we left, but soon the sun broke through and we were happy to see it. As we drove we climbed the mountain and found that we were looking down over the lake (or so we thought) with fog over it. Even stopped to take some photos when suddenly we realized we were headed in the wrong direction! We’d missed a turn and had driven fifteen miles on the wrong road. We were looking down on fog over a valley; not the lake. Turned around and headed back towards town another fifteen miles to our missed intersection. Headed the right way finally, we drove for several hours over at least two more mountain ranges to reach the coast. A twisting, two lane highway that wound up and down and around the mountains. At one point we suddenly had extremely heavy fog; it was actually clouds and we broke through to sunshine at the top of the mountain. Drove for several miles overlooking the clouds; the view was like flying in an airplane. Lots of roadside memorial boxes today; on one curve I said to myself that because of the placement of the box they must have driven right off of the cliff. Sure enough, as we passed I saw the car at the bottom of the ravine about fifty feet below the road. I decided to pass on that Kodak moment.

We had our goats, sheep and dogs all along the highway again today. The dogs all run loose on the highways and in the towns. Very few of the dogs have collars and it’s unusual to see any dogs in fenced yards. It’s extremely rare to see a dog on a leash. We’ve seen several dogs running along the highway miles from the nearest town; you wonder where they’ve come from and where they’re headed? On Thursday, while walking to dinner in Meteora, we saw a dog grab a fur hat from a basket outside of a store and run away with it down the street. Seemed to know it’d done something wrong because it ran like the wind until it was two blocks away and then started to play with it like a ball.

At 11:30 we arrived at the port and found the Ferry Boat to Corfu. We drove onto the ship and they closed the ramp; we were the last vehicle on the ship. Not very crowded and we paid for our passage after we were loaded. We asked for round trip and they said that no, we could only purchase a one way ticket. We’d been told that we’d save 30-50% on our return ticket if we purchased a round trip. Well, by that time we were on our way so no way to negotiate on the price of 30 euro for the car and 6.50 for each of us. But, it was a quick trip over and by 1 pm we’d docked on Corfu and then tackled the challenge of finding our hotel. We knew it was south of the old town and when we followed the directional signs south we soon figured out we were not headed in the right direction when we started to head inland. So, out with the maps and a new plan; back towards the port and then on to Corfu city center and the forts. We knew if we could find these we could find the road that we needed for our hotel.

Traffic was packed and streets went from two way to one way without rhyme or reason. Double parking on very narrow streets was not uncommon. I was so glad that Jim was driving and I was only trying to find the names of streets. After about an hour we finally arrived at our hotel: Holiday Hotel and Casino in Kanoni. It’s just south of the old fortress on the peninsula right next to the airport. But it’s a 5 star hotel and at a very reasonable price of 80 euros per night; really good for this tourist resort. We have a room on the 7th floor that overlooks the pool and the beach. We also get to watch the jets landing next door. But as soon as they get the air conditioner working it should be even better.

Unfortunately the Internet service in the hotel is down; something to do with the satellite connection. So, for now, we’re using an Internet CafĂ© in town. They were great and allowed me to hook my laptop into their system. Also, we have CNN in English at the hotel and have been receiving really good information on the California fires. Plus, when we were on the Internet we had several good emails from neighbors, friends and family that gave us additional information.

While we were in town we found The Rex restaurant where we are meeting our neighbors from East Lake for lunch tomorrow. George and Mary are on a cruise and their ship is docked at Corfu for the day tomorrow. Before leaving California we set up a meeting place for lunch here in Corfu; should be lots of fun.

This evening we had our dinner overlooking the old fortress and the cricket field from a restaurant in the old Venetian area that is full of building built during the 18th century. I enjoyed a Greek Salad and Jim tried a Greek dish called Mousakais; a quiche like dish made with green beans, eggplant and ground meat. Also some fried cheese and of course Grande Greek beer. We sat at outside tables and enjoyed people watching as the tourist from the cruise ships hurried back to their departing ships. Then, we walked down the narrow alley shopping streets before checking out some of the sites that we want to tour this weekend. Headed back to the car so that we would arrive back at our hotel before dark; we’ve found a great little side street for parking this afternoon. It reminds us of one that we found, with the help of a friend we met in Florence, next to the Vatican. Always seems to be a space on that street when in Rome, so we’re hoping this one is as good for Corfu tomorrow and Sunday.

We enjoyed watching the airplanes landing from our room this evening while watching CNN and the horrific news on the California fires. We’re hoping for better news tomorrow on the fires as we keep everyone in our prayers as they return to their homes.

Speaking of fires; we really haven’t seen too much damage from the Greek fires of last fall except for last Sunday and Monday. Everything is very lush and green; especially here in Corfu.

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