If you didn’t start reading on Day 1, you might want to start from the beginning …
Jet lag forced me awake during the wee hours of the morning, again. At least this time the Internet worked but even if it hadn’t, I wouldn’t complain about sitting in the dark five stories above the sloshing waves in my swimming suit surrounded by tropical warm air. I checked email, typed in my journal, posted photos on Facebook, and watched the sunrise slowly light up the ocean.
When I went to bed last night mosquitoes buzzed my ears like Tom Cruise and his fly-by in Top Gun. Mosquitoes always find and torment me. I can be in a place where mosquitoes don’t even exist and get bites all over my body while everyone else stays untouched. Mikayla wanted to sleep with the large sliding door open to hear the ocean, which was nice, but meant no AC. To keep safe from the little vampires I covered my entire body in the sheet and spent the night with a constant layer of sweat covering my body.
I thought I was doing Mikayla a favor by suffering in the heat all night and letting her have the door open. Stupid me though: one, for not thinking to close the screen and, two, for not warning Mikayla about the little buggers. When she got out of bed in the morning she looked like she’d come down with an instant case of the chicken pox. That’s when I noticed the little monsters everywhere; on the ceiling, in the closet, under the bathroom counter…tons of them everywhere. They must have put up a neon sign at the open door last night flashing “Free Henke Buffet” to the entire bay and feasted on her all night long. I felt so bad for her and proceeded to hunt down every last one of them I could find. Every one I smashed (using the sun block) left a bloody stain on the wall. When I finished Mikayla said “the walls are covered with my blood.” (It took me a while to clean it all up.)
The hotel breakfast was nice, lots of food to choose from. I really liked thick plain yogurt mixed with honey, fruit, and a little feta. We lingered while we ate and chatted while enjoying a grand view of the mountains and ocean.
Our travel guide listed Corfu city as one of the Greek “must see” experiences so we drove into town and spent a good chunk of the day walking through the old town (shown in the picture above), exploring the fortress, and perusing the market.
Thanks to the old fortress, Corfu is the only Greek location that never fell to the Turks (and they are quite proud of that). The city dates back to the 8th century and because it was primarily controlled by the Venetians, has a very Italian feel in architecture and city design. Our guidebook suggested we dive in and lose ourselves in the labyrinth of narrow streets that weave through the tall stone buildings. We parked at the waterfront, got Mikayla her cappuccino, and did just that.
It was a blast exploring the old town. The streets were bordered by old stone buildings that rose at least four stories and, at times, so narrow I could stretch my arms and touch both sides at the same time. The cobblestone alleys were clean and quiet and I felt like I was intruding on the private lives of everyone because windows, doors, and shutters were wide open. We heard the sounds of cleaning, food preparation, and quiet conversations. I wanted to stop and invite myself in to take a tour, visit, and see what life was like in Old Corfu.
We took a lot of pictures and twisted and turned many times before we broke into the open area in front of the Old Fortress. We walked through the mansion gardens and then we toured the fortress/citadel/castle.
The old castle is massive and was fascinating to explore. We crossed over the bridge, through the large doors, and beyond the tall stone walls that protected the small city inside. We both wished we could step back 500 years and hear the chickens, goat hoofs clicking on the stone roads, children laughing, and drunken men slurring their feeble attempts to seduce the young ladies. In the movies the dark ages always seem so glamorous and regal; yet to imagine the day to day living with its hard work, stress, and menial tasks helps me think about it a bit more realistically. Whose job was it to sweep the streets, take out the trash, and clean the latrines? Even royalty with all their servants had quiet, hard lives compared to the comforts and luxuries we have now.
We hiked to the lighthouse in the top/middle of the fortress which had a great view of the city. Then we went back in to town and found a nice little café. We sat outside and enjoyed our lunch on one of the many umbrella’d tables on the pedestrian road that cut through the middle of the shops and restaurants.
We drove back to the hotel and did some afternoon snorkeling. The south beach was perfect for jumping off rocks and exploring underwater life because it got deep fast. There were fish everywhere and we also saw several jellyfish. Mikayla was tired of the saltwater so she swam in the pool for a bit while I listened to 80’s music and soaked up some sun.
The day was already a huge success, but our evening ride up the mountain to find a place to eat capped it off with a sweet red cherry. The switchbacks up the mountain were especially sharp, narrow, and steep. They don’t waste any time with the roads. If it needs to go up, they don’t mess around with wide loops around the mountain. The roads carve their way straight up. Roads in the steep mountain towns are often wide enough for only one vehicle. If you met another car head on, one of you will have to back up until you can slip into one of the steep side streets or driveways.
We drove through Lakones, Krini, and Makrades…all very cute little towns. We ended up having dinner out on the edge of a cliff that overlooked our Hotel and the coast around it, a million dollar view. The sun set, we feasted (on a very affordable menu especially considering the view), and then descended the mountain in the dark to call it a day.
Coninue to Day 5…