Since we’d ‘sprung forward’ again, something our phones refuse to recognize, we were up and ready to go in short order. We watched over our breakfast plates as we sailed into and docked in Corfu. It was a charming place of pink, yellow, and green buildings, although not much of the blue that you associate with here. Except that, for the first time in what feels like forever, we had a bright sunny day. It was so warm that TBG went with shorts (and I sort of wish I had, too).
We had a tour that included the small town and the Achilleion Palace, along with a visit to a local tavern for a sampling of olive oil and wine. I was delighted that there was only 14 in our group, but, boy, were we in for a workout. The small town held a Museum of Agriculture and Weaving. The museum, while small, was packed with a ton of information. Seeing what it took to create olive oil, I was more appreciative at our next stop, where we got to sample local olives and olive oils, along with white and red wines.
Our travels, all on foot, took us past little homes and lots of cats. It was nice to be able to stop and pet a few of them. One little black kitten I would have happily slipped into my pocket.
Then we headed over to the Achilleion Palace (1889-1891), the summer home of Empress Elizabeth (known locally as Sissi). It was neo classical filled with Grecian statuary. She loved the story of Achilles and much of the palace was dedicated to him. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and wove lovely stories among the facts. The gardens were especially beautiful and the view was spectacular. Because this is the end of the tourist season here, there were very few people other than our ship mates, so that made it nice to be able to take our time and not be jostled.
On the way back to the bus, there was time to do a bit of shopping and more cat petting. Yeah, I’m not hating this. Then we head back to the port. We saw The Monastery of Virgin Mary, located on a small island just off Paleokastrista. The monastery is now closed, but it has a small museum of Byzantine and ecclesial art there. We also got to see Mouse Island, named for its shape, not for a preponderance of mice. We did not visit, but we did stop and explore the Old Fortress in Corfu town. By the time we got back to the ship, I felt as if I’d done a 40 mile hike!
As we left, the guide, Anna, pointed out Albania to us and gave us a brief history between Corfu and Albania. Apparently, they used to struggle with people, especially young men swimming across at night, looting and then swimming back at dawn. The people there were desperate and there was little to no money. She assures us that they have a much better relationship and there are currently 1400 Albanians working on their island.
Back to the ship for a bit of lunch and a rest. The sky grew hazy, mostly due to agricultural burning, but the sun is still shining. It was a lovely stop and I can see why so many people speak so glowingly of it. I wrote the last of my post cards and mailed them off. (*yay*) Then I worked on my Down the Chimney assignment and quilted a bit. Then I had a nice soak in the tub, just to make sure there was no issues tomorrow. At 4:30 p.m. on the dot, the Captain pulled the gangway and off we sailed. The sea was smooth as silk and it was still pleasantly warm out. I dried my hair on the balcony while saying good bye to Corfu.
Dinner was, again, yummy. I feel like a broken record. I started with a mushroom tartlet that was so good TBG had to order one for himself, then I had some spaghetti carbonara (it was very good, but paled against that of Le Gallo D’Oro) and finished with a surprise – there was another soufflé on the menu (Drambuie, this time). TBG had seared ahi, then the tartlet, followed by coconut cream soup (more a dessert than a soup) and lamb over turned vegetables. He ordered a slice of chocolate cake and the waiter brought him that AND a soufflé.
It was so warm we wandered the decks and tried to see the stars, but it was still too smoky. We found our photos from the night before (no great shakes, not at their prices!) and headed back to our cabin. Tomorrow is a much anticipated day at sea. Good night!