Sunday, October 28, 2012

Corfu – October 23, 2012

Corfu – October 23, 2012

Although I had previously signed up for a ship tour, I had decided to go off on my own, and I canceled the tour.  I decided to go to the Achilleon Palace, and when I got off the ship, I found a taxi driver to take me there for a reasonable price.  He was pleasant, but he spent too much time in the taxi trying to persuade me to let him take me other places for more money.  Finally, I had to put an end to the sales talk firmly, and then the trip went well. 

 How different Corfu was from previous places on this trip – very green and lush with palm trees and other tropical vegetation.  The driver said that Corfu gets lots of rain, completely opposite of the Italian islands and Malta, which were all very arid.  Another difference in Corfu was the unkempt appearance of the island, with rough, poorly paved roads, unplanned, scattered, run-down buildings, and lots of litter, much like the appearance of a poor Caribbean island.  In the past, Corfu had been the playground of the rich, but no longer.  Now the rich go elsewhere, to much prettier places. 

The Achilleon Palace was the summer home of Sissy of Austria for eight years before she was assassinated.  It was very pretty, ornately decorated and elegant, sitting atop a hill overlooking the bay and Corfu town.  Getting up there must have been very difficult, but once there, it was beautiful.  I got audio phones for my tour of the palace, stayed there an hour and took photos.  On the way back to Corfu town, the taxi driver took me by an overlook to Mouse Island, a small island in the bay where young couples go to get married.  Then he dropped me off at the “top” end of Corfu town, from where I walked down toward the ship.

Old Corfu town is a warren of narrow alleyways, only a few feet wide, and lined with souvenir shops.  The town is completely paved with local stone, and it is very interesting and even pretty.  The town is much nicer than the surrounding areas.  As I walked along, I soon found that churches are everywhere.  So many small, orthodox churches, each ornately decorated.  Outdoor restaurants fill every open space.  The “old” fort sits at the “top” of the town, and the “new” fort sits at the bottom.   I wandered around the narrow alleyways, stopping into many of the churches for photos. 

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