Thursday, March 05, 2015

Italian Escapade - Corfu

While Corfu is not part of Italy, somehow it is included in Oceania's cruise titled Italian Escapade.  If for no other reason that we enjoyed our visit to Corfu, I am happy to include it under this title.

Corfu! The last time I visited Corfu was in March 1981when we were on our way from Brindisi (Italy) to Patras in Greece. It was one of the roughest crossings I had ever experienced and, without going into the gory details (you don't want to know!), we docked in Corfu at the same time when a severe storm razed the port of Corfu. Did we get off and visit the island? Hmmm! Even amazing we were able to dock!

But, 30+ years later, on 24 October 2013, we were greeted by sparkling weather that well supports the notion that Corfu is known by many as the 'Emerald Island'! On the basis of our visit, it could happily be called the 'Saphire Island'. It was indeed a beautiful day, highlighted by breathtaking views and the enjoyment of diversity of this place.

The island is quite small, only 29 km x 58 km, with some 150,000 inhabitants and apparently over four million olive trees! Please forgive me for not doing a count! Instead, we just walked and enjoyed the various sites.

These views give testimony to the gorgeous day we had in Corfu!

 A view from our ship with on the left the Old Fortress 
and on the right the Old Venetian Fortress.

We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast and left the ship when all the conducted shore excursions were on shore. A shuttle bus took us to the cruise terminal from where another complimentary bus waited to take us to Corfu town where we were dropped off at the old fort. A great spot to begin our exploring and with lots of photo opportunities, we were just two happy little bees.  It was quite an impressive fort and once again, we wondered why so much effort and resources were allocated to such a facility. But, is it any different to today's mad persuit of arms for the army, navy and Air Force?
The Fortress is now the Ionian University. A great setting!
 Crossing the water channel between Corfu town and the fortress.
Ready to explore. Lovely entrance!

 What views were beyond that point?
See for yourself!
 But there is more.

We decided to walk to the top where the light house is located and were not disappointed! We enjoyed excellent views. Equally, having enjoyed the elevated position, we also enjoyed the much needed rest and a cool drink. Plus, we had an opportunity to talk to Tim and the family on Skype. Such a great service. We were able to show them where we were and how good the weather was for us. 
 Of course we climbed to the top!
 I love the pic above. The lighthouse to guide shipping along the coast 
The Cross guiding us to the eternal God. How good is that!
Enjoy the views with us!

 St Georges Church that we enjoyed visiting. Plain and peaceful!

As we left the fortress, we had a brief look at a museum display and checked out the fort's byzantine collection of effects. Most educational. Among other early manuscripts, we saw these:

In another of the arts, the form known as the Heptanesian basilica which dominated the church architecture of this period is a marvelous expression of the successful blending of original fermentations and the fusion of two worlds.  Quote from above
Different architecture depending on the period.

Wandering into the town, we passed the cricket oval. Corfu in days gone by was a British territory and had a High Commissioner as it's senior servant. Hence the cricket oval. There were lots of eating places everywhere, but we chose to eat our humble Danish pastry and a banana overlooking the harbour.
Faliraki Restaurant below

More walking got us through the old city where Jan purchased a nice summer dress.

So much choice!

We then found the waterfront again and considered that our ship looked close enough for us to walk the rest of the way. Hmmmm! Distances can be deceiving! It took us much longer then we anticipated and needed to stop at a cafe to use their toilet. Then bought a small ice cream to give us the necessary energy to continue.
It doesn't seem far, but.....

After a reasonable rest, we accepted the captain's invitation to share complimentary drinks for those passengers who had sailed previously with Oceania. We now belonged to that club, along with some 400 hundred others. Special citations were handed to very loyal guests, including one couple who were on their 34th cruise with Oceania and had already booked another seven!! We don't expect to join that exclusive club!
For the evening we decided to dine in the Grand Dining room. We had a delicious meal and as always, enjoyed the most excellent service. Even enjoyed the desert, despite our butler having already served us earlier with three different selections of yummies in our room, including chocolate coated strawberries. It is hard to fault the dining experience!
Grand dining room with style!
Fine dining was the ticket as we sailed to Kotor in Montenegro.
I do enjoy a French Beujolais-Villages
A good day!