Kerkyra Experience - Days 2&3

Trip Start Feb 28, 2011
Trip End May 26, 2011

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Where I stayed
Maltezos Hotel Gouvia
Read my review - 4/5 stars

Flag of Greece  , Ionian Islands,
Saturday, May 21, 2011

Whew, it's been a while, but I finally found the time to finish my Kerkyra story and soon the Makedonian blog as well!

After a very good sleep and a Swedish-style breakfast and some map-study, we headed south to the Achilleion Palace or Sissi's Palace. The empress was notorious of being fond of the islands, spending a lot of time on Madeira, as well as Corfu on the turn of the century. The palace is a tasteful mix of glamour and sophistication, nicely fitting (I guess) into the empress' image and style. I think that the Achilleion Palace is a premiere example of the splendid summer palaces, reminding the visitor of the carefree lifestyle and amazing extravaganza of the late 19th century royalty.

I hired an audio-guide, so I really got the whole picture and the historcal guidance regarding the palace and its various occupants. (Erzsébet királyné halála után II. Vilmos császár német vette meg) The palace did not suffer any major modifications after its conveyance to Wilhelm II. neither and it was used as a hospital during the wars and as a casino later on. It has been transfered to the Greek government only during the 80's and nowadays it is still used occasionally for some protocol purposes.

After this exquisite trip back in time to the turn of the last century, we explored the "compulsory" Old Fort and some of Kerkyra Town centre. There was some Parade-like event with all the schools and institutions marching with bands. The immense cruise ship in the port has been replaced by another one overnight :)

Then we switched the car for two quads. Now this was supposed to be quite a stunt (I reckoned) as my roommate has never driven a quad. Or a bike. Or a car. The most he has driven continuously was on his driving licence exam... Whatever will be, will be, I thought, he will get used to it, slowly. He did. After a trip in the sea and a Guinness jump. When we got the quads they had no petrol, so we had to fill them up at the first petrol station, situated at a couple of hundred meters away. The road was separated from the shore with a small living fence. We started reaaaalllyy carefully and slowly so that he could get used to the throttle and the quite tricky handlebars of the quad. We were making good progress and I thought this will be easier than I predicted. Then, I suddenly looked back and the guy, or the bike was nowhere. After a couple of seconds I saw him coming up from the shore, barefoot and with a very anxious facial expression... What did happen was that he turned the sensitive handlebar too sharply and the bike climbed up the shoulder, over the fence, jumped a few meters and finally got trapped in the sand, just a before the water... Quite a massive machine, I thought - that must a have been a hell of an thrillride, I must try it :)

After this small detour, fortunately we had no further problems and we soon left the tarmac for some off-road experience. We headed for the north-western part of the island and en route we traversed one of the higher mountains of the island. The view was indescribable: Both of my favourites, Sea and Mountains in one place, intersecting and embracing each-other. The bathing point of the day was Paleokastritsa Bay, famous for its crystal clear, but also very, very cold waters. I saw a lot of fish, quite a few big ones, like 30-40 cms, just a couple of metres ashore. Check out my pictures of the bay and I have made a photosynth as well.

On the way back, my roommate so got into quading, I could hardly keep up with him :)

After a couple of beers, we went to sleep early.

The third (last) day on Kerkyra was a curt one, as we planned to catch the 2 PM ferry back to Igoumenitsa in order to get home in due time (as it turned out, we should have departed even more earlier). This was more of a mountainious than seaside day, as we conquered the biggest mountain of Corfu (Padokratora) with the road (modern) passing through the beautiful mountain villages of Sokrakio, Zigos and Spartillas. These settlements weren't so much infected with tourism as the ones by the seaside and one could formulate and approximate idea of how the daily life on Corfu for natives or locals could be.

After short splash on the eastern shore, almost running out of fuel, ferry to Igoumentisa, a few kilometres by foot (including a Highway portion), we were home. So that I could start preparing the presentation for the next day (final exam, no biggie :) ).

 Kolozsvár (Cluj-Napoca), 16.06.2011
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