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August 22, 2006 – A journey to Corfu, Greece in Europe

Crowded Cross-cultural Corfu

Made it to Corfu, Odysseus' last stop of his long voyage before he went home. Most of Corfu Town turned out to be really modern until you get to the Old Town part. Cheap accommodation was very hard to come by, since it literally is high season with boiling temps and hordes and hordes of tourists everywhere.

Ended up staying at Hotel Hermes, the only convenient budget place in town for 40 Euros per night (ask for a bedroom with a wooden floor, not carpet, during the hot summer months). Hotel Hermes was great because it was in a prime location – not too far away from the ferry port or the Old Town.

a street scene in new town

After checking in and because it was too hot to relax in the room for a bit, Rick and I went straight to see Palaio Frourio or the Old Fortress. The Venetian-influenced Palaio Frourio is set upon a hill surrounded by the beautiful, pristine blue waters of the Ionian Sea. Can get some awesome views at the very top. We walked around Old Town afterwards.

Palaio Frourio

view of Corfu Old Town and the surrounding bay

The Old Town consists of only a few streets lined with some incredible tall Venetian-style architecture. Not only was it completely jam-packed with people (even during the Grecian siesta), but stylish cafes and kitschy souvenir shops crowded the narrow streets. We actually enjoyed wandering around there at night. The town comes even more alive then.

a souvenir street

a group of elderly singers with a growing audience around them in one of the small cobblestone intersections of Old Town in the evening

At the end of the day and after calculating possible future expenses, decided to cross off possible would-have-been-really-awesome itinerary routes. Travel budget funds have gone way down right about now, since going on the Euro and being close to the end of our journey.

One of these routes was making a trip to Saranda, Albania from Corfu Town. Since it would cost us a total of 50 Euros (80 Euros if we wanted to come back to Corfu Town), and that the port town we'd be landing in was more for an Albanian resort experience rather than a cultural one, decided not to go.

Another option was taking the night ferry over to Italy. Crossed that option off as well because of lack of time. Plus, it'd be much cheaper to travel Italy with the Eurail/Interail pass (only 6 Euros extra with the pass versus 56 Euros each to take the overnight ferry).

The last option wasn't too bad economically, but wasn't too great time-wise. The plan was to overnight ferry to the Peloponnese and then go island-hopping the rest of the way (Peloponnese to Kythira to Crete to Santorini to Hydra to Athens). Initially we weren't planning to go this route because of high season. But later on, we gave it a second thought since it'd be during the last two weeks of August (should be less crowded then). Thought that possibly it wouldn't be too crowded, but that's simply not the case. For instance, the huge crowds and limited accommodation on Corfu - what we thought was going to be a pretty vacant island (since Corfu is pretty far away) scared us off. Oh well, next time - during low season and when well-funded again!

Moreover, after looking over the travel guide and observing the cultures, sites, peoples, and landscapes along the way, have been finding that Greece has a lot more to offer to the traveler than just Athens and the islands. Rick made a valid point - what's the point of traveling if all you want to do is rush to the next country/city/town/site once you've reached your current desired destination? (Yes, I must admit that I sometimes get too excited and this happens. Though if I had an unlimited amount of time and money...wishful thinking).

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