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:
Views of Corfu
above left: the belltower of St Spyridon.
Monastery of the Virgin Mary in Paleokastritsa