Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Mediterranean Cruise Day 9: Corfu, Greece

The Mediterranean Cruise Blog continues, with an update from Corfu Greece. Corfu is located on the Ionian sea, situated between Greece and Italy, and very close to Albania. Typical with many Mediterranean locales, Corfu has had a rich and varied history, having been ruled by the Romans, Venetians, French and British. The old town in Corfu is very charming; you can see the Fortress and Citadel quite easily while walking around. While the summers are quite dry, apparently they receive lots of rain in the winter months, which keeps the island quite green and lush. In addition to all the beautiful flowers and vegetation, Corfu boasts more than 4 million olive trees, making this tiny island third in olive oil production after Italy and Spain.

We started the day driving around Corfu along the coast to enjoy the early morning sun. First on our agenda was an area called Paleokastritsa, which has stunning westerly views of the bay of the Ionian Sea, which opens out into the Adriatic. We saw the legendary rocky island said to be the petrified ship of Odysseus. Whether you choose to believe the legend, it certainly looks like a ship sitting in the middle of the bay.

While in Paleokastritsa we went to the Monastery of the Virgin Mary, which was built in 1288. The chapel at the monastery is quite beautiful, with a nice collection of Byzantine art and religious icons. Following Greek Orthodox custom, I paused to light some candles and said a brief prayer.

Later we made our way to the Esplanade, which is the main square in Corfu, which has a large park, lined with palm trees and also has an English cricket pitch from the days when the British Empire ruled this island.

We also went into the Church of St. Spyridon, a 16th century church built by wealthy Venetians who respected the Greek customs and Orthodox religion. It has a combination of Italian style art and Byzantine art, which is unusual for a Greek church. While in St Spyridon, I watched a steady stream of Greek men and woman, young and old pass through to kiss the many icons and also the silver coffin of St Spyridon. I went in and touched the coffin, but did not kiss it, as I felt it would not be genuine to do so.

I managed to do a bit of shopping while in Corfu, including two new rings, both with Greek designs. I love finding things with a local flavor like that. We had a delicious lunch at a traditional Greek restaurant on the Esplanade. I had a Greek Salad with ripe tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, peppers and fresh feta cheese that was “to die for”. My main course had a chicken, olives, cheese, pine nuts and capers, it was delicious! Of course, being in the Mediterranean we had a bottle of red wine with lunch, so as to observe the local customs, naturally.

Corfu was a wonderful port of call, and was quite memorable. I’d like to return to Greece and visit some of the other islands someday. After leaving Corfu, we sailed to Albania, and continued onto Montenegro. We will spend Wednesday in Kotor, which will be a new experience for me as I have never been to Montenegro.
Here are the photos from our day in Corfu, Greece:


above: The old Fortress and Citadel
Views of Corfu



above left: the belltower of St Spyridon.



Monastery of the Virgin Mary in Paleokastritsa





above: there was an old woman handing out the candles in the chapel. I bought two and lit them and said a prayer before I left.

above: a cute patio restaurant overlooking the seaside. above right: a perfect restaurant for lunch!

above: the coast of Albania
Thanks for stopping by today, tomorrow we are in Kotor, Montenegro.
-Signore Ricardo Rockhill

12 comments:

RhodesTer said...

Darn, given the success of your blog recently, I should have chronicled my recent trip to Bakersfield with photos and running commentary.. live and learn!

I'm very jealous by the way! Can you tell?

Cheryl said...

What a wonderful trip. You're seeing and experiencing such beautiful places. I'm so envious! Enjoy every minute of it. Like I have to remind you, right!

lime said...

seeing greece someday is a great dream of mine. thanks for a little glimpse of one corner of it.

Ben Wu said...

"I felt it would not be genuine to do so."

....not to mention unsanitary.

karma lennon said...

Yay! Greece! I cannot WAIT till I get to Greece. And I adore Greek chruches-they are beyond beauty.

Lois Grebowski said...

Sounds like a wonderful day. Love the photos - especially of the icons and that cool shop with all the food.

can I come a long next time?

Mags said...

Italy is the first place I'd like to visit-Greece is the 2nd. It's so beautiful! Even more so than in "staged" pictures...how lucky you are to be there, and how lucky we are that you're sharing.

Thanks!

Maybe someday...

Todd said...

RR,
Looks like you're having a great trip! Love the pics today!!!!

kenju said...

Really wonderful photos!

© Karelian Blonde said...

I am so glad you liked the island as it is in my top three places in the whole world :)

Olivia said...

My favorite photo is the rooftop stairs. Just got to love those Greek isles. Few places match for perfect picturesqueness.

But then I am slightly biased :)

gabe said...

Its nice to see you are having a good time.. We are off for our first trip in may aboard the Victoria and will also be stopping at Corfu. I'm counting the days

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