My Big Fat Greek Adventure
Phew, what a holiday! I’m exhausted, and about a 14lbs heavier – after two weeks living it large® on the beautiful Greek Island of Corfu.
I hate to paraphrase those ridiculous football pundits, but this really was a holiday of two halves. Week One =Hell Week Two =Paradise.
Ok, maybe I'm overdoing it here (I can, believe it or not, be prone to be a wee bit dramatic at times!), but let's just say the contrast between the slum strip resort of Kavos on the southern
tip of the island and the sheer breathtaking beauty of Paleokastritsa on the upper western side of Corfu was pretty bloody dramatic.
Let me explain, Kavos late on Saturday night on a bus from the airport and well, let's just say the omens were not good.
As the bus moved slowly through the strip all I could see were flashing disco lights and young wans with little left to the imagination falling all over the place,
In fact it looked a bit like the video for Michael Jackson's Thriller. I know I should have perhaps researched the place a bit more, but I was really beginning to feel my age as the bus got closer to the hotel which, thankfully, turned out to be lovely and true enough from the strip (or The Kip, as I christened it) not to hear or feel the relentless techno beats booming from the hell-holes masquerading as bars. The owners of Blue Mediterranean, Penny and Billy, couldn’t have been more helpful and their compact and very reasonable priced Hotel had everything (bed, bar, pool) a girl on holiday could ask for. Within reason anyway! I’m probably being a bit too harsh on Kavos. But if you're like me, looking for a place of peace and tranquillity then this probably ain't’ for you. But if you're younger and just want to party all night with (very drunken strangers who dress in floss-like bikinis and muscle tops, then you’ll probably have a ball. Whichever sort you are, take this advice: hire a quad bike. It’s a really fun way of exploring the island and if like me, you want to get away from the madness, there’s plenty of beautiful beaches and restaurants all waiting to be discovered with a few kilometres. The food, away from the fast food restaurants on The Kip, was fantastic, I decided it was a case of “when in Greece”, so I mostly stuck with the local fare, which was delicious, The local dishes Sofrito (beef cooked in wine sauce, garlic and white pepper), Pastitsacla, (pasta and meat), and Moussaka dishes (mostly chicken on skewers) were all delicious. The fish was incredible, in fact, I’m surprised I didn’t turn into a mermaid I ate so much of them.
My favorite restaurants were the Savva Taverna ( a 15km quad ride from Kavos but with the best view of any restaurant I’ve ever eaten in, the Falconera (owned by the lovely Elle) and the Rose Tavern (run by the amazing Dimitri who greeted me with a “God Bless Kilkenny” every time I passed the premises) So, it is possible to escape the madness and discover lots of hidden gems tucked away not far from The Kip. But boy was I in for a treat on Week Two as I meandered north away from the flashing lights and monotone beats of Kabos. First I stopped off close to Pontikonisi Island, just south of Corfu town.
I hopped on a tiny boat out to the tiny island that’s in the shape of a mouse. According to legend, Ponkikonisis was originally the boat of the mythical Odysseus which was turned to green rock by the angry ‘God of the Sea’ Poisedon. I’m not sure why, and I don’t really care to be honest as I was happy sipping on my wine on the shore overlooking the island and what was well with the world.
I stayed one night in the lovely Pontikonisi hotel, which is basically carved out of the side of the cliff overlooking the island. It was very peaceful and only a 10-minute taxi ride to Corfu town if you fancy a bit more adventurous.
After a splash in the pool the following morning I headed west to the stunning village of Paleokastritsa, which takes a while to get your tongue around but the panoramic views and clear turquoise blue waters will take your breath away. I decided, after a week or being bitten alive by the bloody mosquitos (do NOT skimp on the repellent people) for some creature comforts so I checked into the four-star Akrotiri Beach Hotel, which boasted beautiful rooms, spectacular views and incredibly friendly staff, especially the wonderful Helena at the front desk!
After two wonderful days soaking up the sun on the gorgeous beaches of Paleokastritsa, it was time to head back to Corfu for a few hours wandering around the beautiful old town before returning to the airport and homeward bound.
Greece, I will be back to your beautiful island, until the next time.