Charming Corfu

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When you picture the Greek Islands, chances are that white buildings, blue framed windows, pebbled streets and an old fisherman named Michali will come to mind. But this picture basically involves only one group of the many islands in Greece. The Cycladic islands are located in the southern most portion of Greece including Mykonos, Milos, Paros, Naxos, Santorini and approximately 200 other lesser known islands. This summer, for the first time, I took notice of another group of islands known as the Ionian Islands, one of which was charming Corfu (Kerkyra). These islands, being further north, are characterized by their green landscapes, turquoise-green waters and English and Italian influences.

Arriving in Corfu was surprising because it didn’t feel like any other island I had been to. Since it was raining on that mid-July day, we made our way straight to the apartment that we were renting in Dassia. While this is a small town in Corfu, Dassia’s beach is also known for the many ski schools to visit with friendly instructors. After putting our things away, we decided to go check out the ski school and see if we could ski in the rain.  Having never tried skiing, I anxiously made my way to the dock where I had a quick ski brief before getting my lifejacket on and heading out for my very first lesson. Whilst watching my brother zoom by with a mono ski having practiced since the age of five, I was holding onto the metal bar that jutted out the side of the boat while thinking that it will probably take me years to get it down. With the first pull of the boat I was up and the rest is history. The days that followed I started skiing normally, without the practice bar anymore and came to love this sport that gave me an adrenaline rush each morning. So since we would ski every morning for a few hours, the rest of the days were spent exploring the island.

 

Skiing in Corfu

 

 

Walking through the streets of the main town was so unexpectedly entertaining. Because of the English and Italian conquests of the 1600’s, the buildings have many such elements about them, including their decorations. The people in the town spoke a few languages and there were statues of important English nobles which could be seen throughout. We walked up to a fortified castle-like structure, used by the Venetians to defend themselves against Ottoman intrusions, before it fell under British rule. With the day spent walking around the town, we had a coffee on the famous Liston Street before heading back to the apartment.

Walkway in Corfu

 

Corfu Window

 

The next day, we rented a little boat near our apartment and spent the day going around the coast of Corfu. This was probably the best 100 Euros spent, because we could explore the island and then stop to swim wherever we wanted to. We even got to see the villa of Lord Jacob Rothschild in Kasiopi while moving down the coast. We found our way to a little cove called Agios Stefanos where we saw plenty of taverns run by local families, crowded with vacationers. We figured that this would be the perfect place to relieve our hunger. With a little trouble parking the boat, as we were not the most experienced captains, we finally made our way to a table and ordered some Corfu island specialties as well as our favorite Greek classic dishes. We ordered Pastitsada, a traditional Corfu dish consisting of veil or chicken cooked with fresh tomatoes, cinnamon, wine, onions and many different spices, served with pasta or potatoes. Sofrito is another dish made up of veal cooked in wine sauce, garlic and white pepper. Of course with our order we added a Greek salad with lots of Feta cheese, some fresh calamari and tzatziki (a garlic yoghurt dip).

 

Best Greek salad

 

Corfu Blue Waters

 

Cruising in Corfu

 

After that meal we were ready to continue on our boat adventure. As we started back for Dassia beach, the weather started to change again and rain quickly began to fall. While at the moment we weren’t too happy about the weather, looking back on it, it just added to our adventurous day. The ocean was calm but the rain was falling hard. We decided to make our way to the town, where we came close to the forts that we had explored yesterday. Only today we had a nice view from the ocean. From down there the walls of the fort looked enormous, allowing our imaginations to wander back to those 17th century battles. By the time the sun started to go down, we made our way back, returned the boat and walked back to the apartment.

Around 11pm, while hanging up our bathing suits and towels, I began to hear music coming from outside and realized the ‘Tiki Bar’ was closer than I thought. We got dressed and headed out once again to dance the night away. Our ski instructors were even there and had a few drinks with us..

The days remaining involved a lot of food, skiing and even more swimming. There were so many friendly people who we go to know and who we can now call friends. After promising to come back and spend another summer vacation there soon, we finally had to say our goodbyes on our last day and headed off to the airport.

Island Corn

 

Corfu Beach

 

Caves in Corfu

Corfu was such a change from what I was used to. Swimming in a clear and cool ocean while looking at the greenery around was something truly magical, especially for those used to the dryness of the Cyclades. Corfu is the perfect place for those looking to enjoy the ocean while spending a vacation on the greenest of the Greek Islands.

As a free lance writer, Lydia’s passion for traveling and photography inspire her to create journals giving us a glimpse into her Greek travels. Also as our social media coordinator she will be sharing ideas and discoveries with us.

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