Kathryn and Ken's European Vacation
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Day 34: Corfu, Greece
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Day 29: Istanbul, Turkey
Day 30: Kusadasi, Turkey
Day 31: Rhodes, Greece
Day 32: Alexandria, Egypt
Day 33: Cruise at Sea
Day 34: Corfu, Greece
Day 35: Dubrovnik, Croatia



MS Rotterdam


Another sunny day with a high of 26°C


Day 34: Sunday, October 2, 2006     Corfu, Greece

This Place 'Bugs' Me

Currency:  euro
Language:  Greek

Corfu (Greek: Kérkyra) is a Greek island in the Ionian Sea. It lies off the coast of Albania, from which it is separated by straits varying in breadth from 3 to 23 km. The principal town of the island is also named Corfu, or Kerkyra in Greek. Corfu Town is one of the most interesting cities in Greece due to the heavy influence of the Venetians who for centuries controlled the island. Like the other Ionian islands Corfu was never occupied by the Turks, which gives it a character very different from the rest of Greece. But Corfu town has seen other influences as well including the British, the Normans, the French, and the Greeks and Romans whose ancient buildings are still in evidence in several archaeology sites and the excellent archaeological museum. The population of the town of Corfu is about 30.000 and is quite cosmopolitan compared to the other Greek islands. It is an interesting mixture of old tavernas, new cafes, discos, clubs and shops of all types plus an amazing old city that sits in a protected area between the two fortresses.

We did not arrive in Corfu until alter 1:30 pm. We caught the shuttle bus to the Spianada in front of the Old Fortress. This is the largest square in Corfu and the heart of the town.  Essentially it consists of two squares, divided in

the middle by Viktoros Dousmani Street. The northern side of the Spianada is dominated by the Palace of Saint Michael and Saint George, built by the British in 1824 and used as the official residence of the high commissioner, the seat of the Ionian Senate and the headquarters of the Order of Saint Michael

The entrance to the port at Corfu Town with the Ancient Citadel (Fortress)

and Saint George, created for the purpose of awarding medals to residents of Malta and the Ionian islands who had performed important service for the Great Britain. It is now the home of the Museum of Asian Art and the Municipal Gallery. 

The northwestern side of the square is dominated by the Liston, the huge building complex, which stands out for its arcaded terrace, today full of cafes. It was built under French rule in imitation of the Parisian Rue de Rivoli and ever since has featured on most of the postcards of Corfu Town. There is a cricket green opposite the Liston and there was a game on while we were there.  On the other (southern) side of the Spianada, the Upper Square, the island bands often play on the open-air bandstand and musical evenings are organised.

The Liston Square

After visiting the Esplanade, we wandered west through the town.  The town is a maze of narrow streets dominated by the 16th century New Fortress. Around every corner can you can find a chapel, old mansion or secret garden square. The narrow streets radiating off from the Liston, house small shops of every commercial nature, dominated by the 'gold shops', as well as shops and stalls selling local items like wild honey, fig cakes and handmade lace.  As we wandered up the hill we came to the New Fortress.   Although it is called new, it actually dates back as far as 1576.  The New Fortress, also known as the

Kathryn in Corfu's narrow streets

Fortress of San Marco, was built by the Venetians near the Old Harbour of Corfu town between the years 1576 and 1645, shortly after the second great Turkish siege.  
After circling the Fortress we walked downhill to a marina on the waterfront.  We found a lovely park in the Georgiou Plaza which gave us a great view back up at the New Fortress.  We continued back along the seashore and ended up back at the Spianada.  Kathryn wanted to do a little shopping so Ken people-watched and had a beer in a cafe along the arcade.  When Kathryn was done shopping, we decided to have a look at the Ancient Fortress.  The Old
The New Fortress

Fortress was built at a natural stronghold site. It is a Venetian construction of the 15th century, built on the older Byzantine walls of the 13th and 14th centuries; the Venetians completed the fortification with a moat, which resulted to transform the place to a small, artificially made, islet. 

We paid 4€ each to tour the castle.  This proved to be a waste of money as everything inside was closed up.  We went down some steps to the water and then came back up and walked around the main grounds.  We were just starting to climb some ramps to get to the top when Kathryn was bitten by hundreds of tiny little bugs.  Pretty soon they started to swarm Ken too.  We decided to give Ken's knees a break and avoid the bugs, so we left.  We caught the shuttle bus back to the ship.

Ken standing outside the entrance to the Ancient Fortress

We set sail at 7:30 pm and regained the hour we had lost earlier.  We had double the entertainment this night.  First was an Irish world class flautist by the name of Gary Arbuthnot.  This was followed by the Filipino Crew Show which is always entertaining as members of the ship's crew perform songs and dances from their native country.  The hi-lite was a cocktail waiter by the name of "Booze" who always seemed to be around when we were having pre-dinner drinks.  In addition to be a great salesman, he had an amazing memory for names and called the men Sir Al, Sir David, etc. and the ladies Madame Arlene, Madame Donna, etc.  Everyone on the ship knew Booze.

Corfu Town Map

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