Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Plane Spotting at Αερολιμένας "Ιωάννης Καποδίστρια"

The journey moves on  to a two day tour of the Ionian island of Corfu, or Core Few as the Brits call her.  the Greeks say Kerkyra or Κέρκυρα.  I had visted here 35 years ago. I also had a letter published in the Radio Times in 1969 which corrected Cliff Michelmore's pronounciation of Core Few.

Further to disgorgement from the high speed Cruise Olympia at the flourishing mainland Greek port of Igoumentitsa we proceded to Corfu on the ineptly named Kerkyra Express, a converted Japanese whaler by the smell of her.
The rainswept and grim local ferry port resembles Northwich-on-sea  market on a normal day
The ineptly named Kerkyra Express -  stately transport to the nearby island of Corfu
Apparently this leviathan 1,199 ton vessel was originally called the New Hiyama and possibly survived a tsunami - a disorder of mine is to see what former names have been painted out by the Greek owners who specialise in maritime salvage and reuse
Corfu venetian facade
I booked the Ariti Grand hotel near Corfu town with views over "the lagoon" and Mrs N's reaction are initially favourable until she peers through the triple glazed balcony door...
..to see  the lagoon and international airport.
A little later we explore the town.
This is the first Greek town I know which has a cycle super highway - Boris please note. 

We were pretty shuttered after our long stroll

It's always vaguely amusing to to read Greek transliteration of English place names especially when they are in φαντασμένος πολτός

By now you have already read the wikipedia link provided above to dsicover the British influence in Corfew - in particular ginger beer and cricket.  This beer was proper however and quite good. The cricket square is now used mostly as a car park.

Cathedral square souvlaki restaurant - pretty decent value .

Wet stone pavements remind me of the Third Man
Other than the international airport  lagoon I did not recognise much of the town since my last visit 35 years ago. Consiserable touristic tarting up has taken place.  The next day Mrs N wants to search out the palace that Sisi built and I want to spot aircraft.

Achilleion (Greek: Αχίλλειο or Αχίλλειον) is a palace built in Gastouri, Corfu by Empress of Austria Elisabeth of Bavaria, also known as Sisi, after a suggestion by Austrian Consul Alexander von Fartberg. Elisabeth was a woman obsessed with beauty, and very powerful, but tragically vulnerable since the loss of her only son, Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria in the Mayerling Incident in 1889. A year later in 1890, she built a summer palace in the region of Gastouri (Γαστούρι), now the municipality of Achilleion, about ten kilometres to the south of the city of Corfu. The palace was designed with the mythical hero Achilles as its central theme. Later Phil the Greek of Buck House was born nearby at Mon Repos . Its uses include a casino and now it's a museum.

So here we are standing in a long line of cruise ship sail ins.

We stroll through the lush gardens looking for the souvenir shop and cafe

Time for a muse - Joy mirth and merriment
In the palace now (obviously)

Low hanging fruit

Cruise ship passengers - Why do they look so bored?
The views from the garden are something else.
Looking south towards Benitses village
and  north towards Corfu town
We drive to the Northwest of the island to visit my childhood haunt of


Somwehere is the mythical petrified ship of Odysseus.  This is no longer the quanit little village and bay from my childhood although the beach is ok and probably the raw sewage is dealt with better these days.

I remember my father ordering lobster here - we don't see it on the menu. We swim, eat chips and move on.

We trundle on behind a tour bus designed to fit perfectly through Corfiot villages

Views from the top of the island are fine
The olive trees are wild and not well looked after - tourism provides the income here

Trip Advisor Tip: The restaurant  at the Ariti Grand did not serve a la carte food catering mainly for Romanian package tours and screaming kids.  We ate our evening meal here and were looked after very well.

Early next morning we dodged a blockade of cruise ships in our local ferry to Igoumenitsa and then to resume our journey across the centre of Greece to the island of Evia on the east coast. I never mentioned the Durrell family...

With scenes redolent of the the Adriatic campaign of 1807 we navigate through the blockade
Britannia rules the waves

A room with a sea view? Mein Gott....
I have a pimple
Mrs N catches up on sleep away from the airport lagoon view.


  1. We can always count on your eclectic view on your surroundings. Again you haven't disappointed. Thank you Nick. Hope to meet you again in 2016. Happy Holidays!!!

    1. Good evening Sonja and thanks for your kind comments. I should learn my lesson and not revisit places which I loved as a priveliged child fortunate to have parents who loved to travel the then unspoilt Greek islands. All the very best to you both and my Christmas holiday task is to fit luggage to Spock so a visit is imminent!

  2. Well, at least you didn't have to leave the room to do your plane spotting. Me thinks it may have been a little loud at times.

    I wonder if that many cruise ships in port is a normal occurrence or if there were an unusually high number in the blockade that day.

    1. Thanks Brandy for your comments. Unfortunately there are a number of Greek islands which appear to exist solely for cruise ships, although Corfu can soak them up better than Mykonos. We stick mostly to the mainland where we are plagued mainly by Brits on flotilla yacht excursions who really venture further than 100ft from their boats...

  3. Am having holiday envy - airport not withstanding. Enjoy.

    1. some time ago....looking forward to next year!


Site Meter