Discovering Old Corfu

Saturday 9 to Monday 11 March

The ferry to Corfu was pleasant. I was surprised by the short distance between Albania and Corfu. For a country that was locked down for so many years, the rest of the world was a simple, short boat ride away.

We were given instructions to take a taxi from the port to Old Corfu, where our hostess for the Cute Little House in Old Corfu, Angela would meet us.

After multiple messages from Angela it turned out she picked up the wrong couple. This came to light when a local man asked who we were waiting for and wondering why his couple hadn’t shown.

We got settled into the cute house with tiny rooms and steep stairs. But there was a washing machine and we were truely ready for it. Our journey had been through dry lands with clear weather, no rain and plenty of dust. The first load was done before we went out for an evening meal.

We found a beer and grill house. Bruce was more than happy with the Greek IPA he ordered.

We slept in on Sunday as one should. Then we tamed the hot water system and loaded some washing into what was the smallest and slowest washing machine on earth. Then had a slow breakfast.

By the time we got down to the main street Kapodistriou, a carnival was in full swing. Finding a seat for coffee took time and patience. A parade went by with costume dress reminiscent of the French courts of Marie Antoinette. The paraders then wandered the streets posing with the ordinary people. Another parade went by an hour later and in that time we managed to find a table and order a coffee. Service was slow but gave us an opportunity to sit and watch.

The buildings on the north side of Kapodistriou are beautiful colonnaded buildings, reminiscent of the Venetian rule in Corfu. On the other side was the cricket ground, testament to influence during the time of the British Protectorate from 1815. This was where the young children paraded in their costumes.

Then there was a different parade, groups of people, children and adults, dressed as donkeys or chefs or dragons, making a lot of noise and very uncoordinated. I think the adults were having the most fun.

The whole parade came to a stop – there was nowhere to go in this tiny old town.

We found a nice place to eat and shared an interesting meal of stewed artichokes and potatoes, lamb shank and spicy wild greens. The excitement was over and we found we were the only people eating in the restaurant. But we are used to that – travelling off season.

Monday was a holiday. Clean Monday or the start of Lent in the Eastern Orthodox Church. The day started grey and we considered it would rain. We had coffee in the main square whilst people were flying kites on the cricket pitch. Small children and frustrated adults struggling to get theirs into the sky but there were a half dozen kites that were seriously high. Hexagonal in shape with a tale.

We learnt from Wikipedia that the kites are flown on Clean Monday to leave behind sinful attitudes and non-fasting foods.

We visited the old fort and climbed to the lighthouse for a great view over the old town and across the waters to the mainland. It was quite chilly but as the afternoon progressed the skies cleared. Perhaps the rain won’t come. More kites were being flown from the fort.

After a debate – New Fort or long lunch we wandered off to the New Fort the long way, exploring the back streets of Old Corfu. After many footsteps we found the fort, but it was closed for safety reasons? Not much else was open so we went back to our cute little apartment and did some work. Bruce had work for Pete and I had a new job building a website for Andrew Watson’s new Shipwrights’s venture.

Being a holiday we struggled for somewhere to eat. Clean Monday is a family day and tourists are forgotten. We had found a grill and beer place where Bruce enjoyed the beer. Staff were friendly too.