Saturday, June 27, 2009

Saturday, Corfu, Greece

Saturday, June 27th, 2009 - Corfu

Pictures are HERE.

Mike and I got up and did our 2 miles of walking/running before our trip to Corfu. We thought we were doing good on time, but somehow we were rushing right as we needed to meet the family. Mike couldn’t find his flip flops, and he was stressing. He was crabby, crabby, and then Mom told me that I needed a towel. OOPS. I thought we were getting on the way out. I rush off to get a towel while Mike looks for his flip flops. We agree to meet at the exit of the ship since we are doing a private tour with someone Tracy recommended. We wait for a while for Mike, but we don’t see him. I go to call the room, and he comes down the stairs. He can’t find his key (you need it to get off the ship), so he needs my key to get his key. After a while, he finally comes back and says that he had to get a new one at the desk. Bummer.

We leave the ship and head into the port. We find Michelle, our guide, at the rental car area. It was sprinkling rain, and we were all a bit nervous about the weather. She had rented a van to drive us in. There were a lot of police in the town as the NATO summit was there, but Michelle didn’t seem to care as she ran red lights (“it is ok as the police are not paying attention to us.” We laughed and laughed as she drove a bit crazy but told us it was ok because nobody else cared. We thought oncoming traffic might care, but I guess not on Corfu. That is just the way that they drive. J She told us that Hillary Clinton was supposed to be there for the NATO Summit, but she didn’t come because of her arm (she broke it). It was pretty cool to see all of the police out in force.

Tracy had done Corfu before with our guide Michelle, so they had planned a fantastic day of activities. We went to a harbor first, and we got on a glass bottom boat. It was quite chilly as we started, and since we planned to swim in the sea, we were all thinking that wasn’t going to happen. We saw some amazing green hillsides – green everywhere. We also saw some really cool islands (one were Ulysses apparently crashed his ship). It was really beautiful. We also saw an amazing cave, and the captain of the boat even put the boat all the way inside one of the caves so we could see it up close. He was great at driving and got us right back out of there with seeming ease.

Then, we landed on a beach. The captain put us right on the beach with the ladder right at the water’s edge. Amazing. We all climbed down on to the rocky surface (not sandy beach, rocky but beautiful), and we admired the Ionian sea in the Mediterranean. The water was so blue, and the rocks were very interesting. Morgan and Mike swam in the water for quite a while. Mikeo, Mark, Tracy, and Papa went in waist deep. Grams and I just went in on our legs. The water was cold. I wasn’t so concerned about being in the water as I was concerned about freezing on the boat ride back after getting wet. As it would happen, the sun came out as if it were just for us (we were very luckya according to Michelle and the gods were shining on us). It warmed up and was a gorgeous day. We each were to find a rock for Michelle to make into a souvenir before we left the beach. There was a little fisherman hideout that we took a picture of Mark in front of to pretend that we stayed there. Lots of great pictures were made, and we drank mimosas on the beach. Amazing to have our own private beach in the Mediterranean for drinks, sun, and some swimming for a while.

On our way out, we saw dolphins. Michelle was so excited, and she said that we were in the area with the most positive energy around and that they hang out there. We were again very lucky and the gods liked us. I didn’t want to tell her that we boat in the gulf often and we almost always see dolphins. J It was still neat to see them. We saw a volcano that sticks up out of the water and the rest of it is under water. It is apparently in a lot of mythical stories. Michelle kept telling Morgan that she was like a beautiful mermaid.

After viewing the amazing scenery, we headed back to the harbor. We drove an amazing drive up the mountain and saw beautiful green mountainsides, narrow roads, olive trees, grape vines, and amazing views to the sea. We parked at the Golden Fox restaurant, and the view was absolutely incredible. I have never eaten somewhere with such a view. I couldn’t stop staring. We sat down, and he brought out some local beer and wine. Then, when we were all starving, he started bringing appetizers. I couldn’t believe how many he brought. The first one was an eggplant dish that had a tomato base and cheese with eggplant. Fabulous. Next, he brought some filet with pepper and mushrooms. Spicy and delicious. Next, he brought some cheese thing that was a square of cheese…drooling…he then brought mussels, and they were so delicious (I am not a huge mussels fan but these were really, really good). There was also a spicy shrimp dish that was great, and a really large Greek salad. Thankfully, he brought bread as Morgan ate a loaf of bread by herself.

As we are all full from the appetizers, he brings the main course of fish (whole fish with the head and teeth and everything) and lobster. We have two big plates of each to share, and the lobster also has some pasta dish on it. Morgan tried the fish with this olive oil stuff they put on it (Made the fish terrific), and she had quite a bit of lobster. It was all fantastic. Morgan got some ice cream at the end (Chocolate of course), and she rated it highly as well.

We went down and looked at the pool that had such an incredible view as you were in the water, and we shopped at a little souvenir shop before we left. On the way down the mountain, we stopped at a little store where I bought a bread basket with olives on it (it folds) and Mike bought some Kumkwat liquor It was rather interesting (we had samples). We are all cracking up as Mikeo comes by and says, “2 minute shopping warning” as he was dying to get out of the store. The store also had some anatomical (men and women) pieces on magnets and as little display pieces, and of course Morgan had to take special note of those giggling the whole time.
Next, Michelle says she will take a shortcut as the traffic is backed up a bit. Next thing we know, we are on a journey through the hillside that was rather long. It was beautiful though. At one point, there is a policeman behind us with his lights on. Papa tries to tell her that at least three times with no acknowledgement from Michelle. Finally, she pulls over and the policeman says “STOP!” Michelle waits for a couple of minutes as some obvious NATO vehicles come by escorted by the police, and then she says, “You know what, we will follow them and we know that we will get there fast.” She jumps in the convoy, and we are all a little frightened and slightly hysterical in laughter. Later, there is a red light, and the car in front of her stops. She screams at him. “Don’t stop. Did you just get your license yesterday? Don’t you know how to drive?” I am beside myself laughing at how someone is bad because they obeyed a stop light. Mike said that they are just decoration in Corfu. :)

We drove by the old and new forts as we headed to the ship. These old buildings were pretty neat. When we finally got to the ship, we were happy, tired, sunned, and FULL. We decided that we didn’t need our dinner reservations. Michelle came and gave everyone twp kisses on the cheek goodbye (except Mike who backed away after one and hurt her feelings). She went with us the whole way until we got on the bus (short ride to the ship).

We hung out on the balcony and relaxed. We went and got a quick bite to eat in the Lido restaurant. It was closing, and the food was a bit stale. I had a salad with wilted leaves and a piece of pizza that had sat out for a while. I also had a small cheese plate with some crackers. What an amazing day.

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