The kids and I returned a few days ago from a wonderful trip to the beautiful Greek island of Corfu. We did some great stuff while we were there – parasailing, banana rides, and water skiing are examples of some of the things we watched while lazily lying on the beach drinking cocktails and eating ice cream, ha!
Here are some of our pics…
Corfu is one of the cheapest places to go to from the UK if you want to go somewhere hot and abroad – consequently some people get a bit snobby and look down on it as a place to go. Like anywhere, it has nice parts and not so nice parts, some areas are definitely just for the young rowdy party crowd, but we’ve been to the island before and we love it. It is located off the north western coast of Greece, east of Italy, and practically touching distance from Albania – those mountains behind the sea in the picture below, that’s Albania, see how you can almost touch it…
One day while we were walking around, we saw a man unloading crates of fruit from a truck. I made the mistake of saying “Ooh lovely fruit!” a bit too loudly, which prompted him to rush over and pop a grape into my mouth. Not being fully aware of the local customs, I was a bit worried that this might mean I had to marry him or something, so we moved on swiftly, while he called out something which I think was –
“The grapes are good yes, would you like another?”
But could have been –
“Can you learn to make moussaka like my mother?”
Just in case, if Pedro the fruit seller comes looking for me, you haven’t seen me ok? Ssshhh!
Stray cats and dogs wander in and out of the restaurants – in the main they look very healthy and well fed, hard to believe they are strays, I imagine they do well for tidbits from the tourists…
Late at night, children, 6/7/8 years old, wander in and out of the bars charming the tourists into buying glow stick bracelets from them. I was a bit of a sucker for those, I felt sorry for them and found it hard to say no to these friendly, smiling children, again though, they looked healthy and well looked after, and seemed happy. They also made a beeline for me each night because they’re pretty savvy and quickly learned I was an easy sale.
On another occasion, after swimming in the sea, we came back to the beach and found one of my sandals was missing. We combed the beach and came across a beach worker emptying the bins. I held up my sandal, and asked him in my broken English with a Greek accent whether he had seen the other one. Obviously my English isn’t usually broken, but I’m under the clearly misguided impression that I will be better understood that way. He grinned, “Ya!” he said and took the sandal from me, I followed him, delighted, expecting him to lead me to the other sandal, but instead he threw my sandal onto a pile of junk. Clearly my Greek accent hadn’t been good enough to make myself understood. We eventually found the other sandal bobbing in the sea – hurrah!
Here I am trying, and failing, to look casual, as if I hadn’t just said for the 50th time that day “Take another picture of me! Take another picture of me! Make sure I look good!” clearly showing both sandals (the picture just wouldn’t be the same with only one sandal right?)…
We took an excursion to Corfu town which is the main town on the island. The town has Venetian origins, and definitely has an Italian feel about it. It’s a very pretty and historic town with lots of little lanes to explore, and is well worth a visit if you ever find yourself in Corfu.
I had wondered ahead of going to Corfu whether we would notice any impact from the Greek economic situation. On the surface everything seemed fine, the businesses – shops and restaurants etc were all functioning well. The people working there were as friendly, welcoming, and hard-working as ever, but the kids and I definitely felt there were significantly less tourists around than when we were last there, which is a real shame for those businesses who are totally dependent on tourists for their survival. I do hope the situation improves for them all soon, and really there’s no need for people to stay away.
So, have you helped any country’s economy by buying glow stick bracelets and cocktails this summer?
End note – Yes, I know that I STILL owe someone a poem. I don’t have a good excuse for not doing it yet, very sorry, it WILL be soon!