Trip Start May 19, 2011
5Trip End Jun 03, 2011
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We have a ship's tour planned for half a day. I’ve tried to plan the port stops in a balanced way, knowing that both Bob J. and I will want some down-time to sit back in the cafes of the old town centers, try some traditional foods and just generally re-group after touring. (Athens will be the exception to this practice.)
We meet up w/the ship’s tour group shortly after the ship is cleared to disembark passengers. Onto the shuttle bus we go – headed out on our tour of the Palaces of Corfu.
Our first stop is Achillean Palace – the summer home of the romanticized & assassinated Empress Elisabeth of Hungary. Her palace sits high above the sea (I think we’re on the Ionian Sea today.) The grounds are magnificent with Greek sculpture everywhere and the obligatory statue of Lord Byron – who is revered by the Greeks.
Inside, we are treaated to views of room-after-room of beautiful furnishings & artifacts – albeit a later time period than that of our previous day in Dubrovnik. We learn that after Elisabeth’s death, the Palace was acquired by Kaiser Wilhelm…..and we all know HIS reputation. So, when we tour a room that is dedicated to articles from his residency, I am not surprised to see his desk, for which the seat is a saddle. Apparently, the good Kaiser was compelled to ONLY use a saddle as a seat when writing.
From there we travel to San Repo (spelling?)…this was one of the summer homes of the Greek Royal Family (which family is now exiled from Greece after the elections of 1974 that abolished the monarchy). This is also the birthplace of Prince Philip, husband of QEII of Great Britain….Philip being a Greek royal.
This residence is reached by a VERY long walk on foot & up a beautiful winding drive. The approach to the home is beautiful, but nothing compared to the commanding view of the sea once @ the "house". While there are beautiful furnishings…what’s most surprising is the collection of ancient carved marble artifacts excavated from near the site of the house….among them pieces dating to 4 BC. Bob J. is suitably impressed.
Our tour then takes us on a drive of that portion of the island and we stop at a resort on a promontory overlooking Bird Island. The view is stunning – we all take pictures and bask in the 80 degree Greek sun.
The shuttle bus stops outside the “Plaka” of Old Town Corfu and we passengers are asked if anyone wants to get off there, rather than being driven back to port. Bob J. and I are the only ones who choose the option and we head over to the Old Town Plaka – walking through a magnificent park with lots of photo ops. The trip, so far, has been one big Kodak moment.
We decide on the outdoor café “The Listen”, situated with a view of the park and the tremendous activity of the Plaka - which is closed off to vehicle traffic. We have a good meal and have our first taste of Greek fried cheese in our salads. Much photo taking ensues, along w/the obligatory photo of Bob w/his local beer.
We make our way back to port, stomachs full & decide that we’ll skip dinner in the dining room tonite. We’re both too full from our Greek meal.
Bob J. heads out for his now nightly 9 pm rendezvous w/Lloyd Baskin @ the Piano Bar. I’m content to settle in, watch a movie & plan for the next day.
Tomorrow: Olympia, Greece