Day 8: Corfu
Corfu Travel Blog› entry 8 of 11 › view all entries
Today was our final stop in Greece - at the island of Corfu. Corfu is a sad, sad story. For almost their entire history the people of the island have tried to carve out a life while facing serial conquests. Of course the last to conquer them were the Greeks. It is the second largest island in the Ionian sea.
Several of us set off for a Jenni-guided tour of downtown Corfu, taking a taxi from the port to the center of old town.
We started at the Esplanade area which is bounded by a very old fort and the sea on one side. We toured the fort, taking a lot of pictures, enjoying the spectacular view of the sea and ringing the fortress bell.
Once we left the fort we headed south on the Esplanade to see the Maitland Rotunda, which honors Sir Thomas Maitland, the first British lord high commissioner of the Ionian Islands. Past this there was the statue of Count Ioannis Kapodistrias (1776-1836), the first president of independent Greece. From there we passed the Corfu Palace Hotel and then the Archaeological Museum as we made our way to the Tomb of Menekrates. It's a simple circular tomb of a notable resident of Corfu who drowned about 600 B.C. Can you imagine folks coming to see your grave 2600 years after you died?
We kept on walking the day away - heading toward the part of Old Corfu known as Campiello, with its stepped streets and narrow alleys.
After lunch we decided to walk rather than taxi back to the ship. What's another couple of miles when you've already walked five right? At the far north side of the Esplanade we passed the elegant Palace of St. Michael and St. George. We then follows the coast road back to port and it was a beautiful walk. One thing we all noticed everywhere in Greece is that you don't smell the ocean even when you are right next to it. That briny familiar ocean scent is not present nor was it in Venice. Something special about the Mediterranean sea that leaves it with no odor I guess.
Back on the ship the group prepped and preened for our second and last formal dinner. By now we had our waiters in the palm of our hand - they brought out one of every dessert for the whole table as an extra gift and also snuck us out iced tea and other treats. The service staff really work hard on these ships to make everything go smoothly and so many of them have interesting stories about where they are from, their familes, etc.
There was more dancing as there had been each night but I found that after learning so many different dances (cha cha, samba, salsa, merenge, etc) I was confusing the steps. At least I was getting a little better with my Italian after hearing it day in and day out on the cruise. (Costa is an Italian cruise line so English is not the primary language). One thing that was interesting (and sometimes tiring) is that all announcements on the ship are done in about 7 languages so it can take awhile to get through the announcements.