When the Aegean Greek islands came off the itinerary for the cruise, the storm we were avoiding dictated that we instead see one of the Ionian Greek islands. Corfu was selected by the crew. First, it was available. Second, it was out of the storm. Third, we could dock instead of use the tender so even if the sea was a bit on the high side we could still go into the port and visit.
The difference between the Aegean and Ionian Greek islands is stark. The Aegean islands are typically dry and the architecture is the often pictured white-washed buildings with churches having bright blue roofs. The Ionian islands have moisture and are greener. They are closer to and were more often conquered by Italians and others and consequently have a more typical European style. The Agean island beaches are often white; the Ionian are more rocky.
I took an excursion that drove us around a large part of the island and all the various sections (mountains versus agriculture for example). We made several photo stops and one stop at a local distillery for tasting.
Here you see a photo of a typical coastline of Corfu. Note that it’s more rocky but quite green and the beach is rocks instead of sand.
While on the road we encountered cars and very narrow passages through towns. I swear that the bus had no more than an inch clearance on each side in a couple of places. But, the traffic was mostly not a problem until we encountered the group you see in the second photo. A herd of sheep came before the goats but the goats were more fun to watch as some played at trying to butt each other.
Finally, after seeing a number of mountaintop castles and forts and monasteries, we crested a hill and drove down into a wide part of the island where there was much agriculture; various crops. One of those crops was a Japanese import: the koum-quat (as they spell it). From this orange-like fruit the folks on the island make a very good and sweet liquor that comes in various strengths. They also make various bakery products (see photo). We stopped for a tasting and then led into a large sales area where many picked up a few bottles of the after-dinner drink and some picked up the stronger 40% alcohol product. I have a bottle of the 12% product that is basically a sweet, thick wine. I’m sorry but I suspect that while I might still have the bottle when I get home it could very well be empty.
This was our first experience of European-style Medieval architecture; the villages carved into the hills with basically old paved paths as roads, these being very narrow within the villages. Sometimes the ride gets a bit nail-biting. 🙂
Next we hit Kotor, Montenegro. More about that in a bit.