Thursday, April 16, 2015

Korfu






Korfu was one of the most beautiful vacations we had. It is the biggest from the Ionian Islands, full of sun and light, new and old architecture, beautiful beaches and perfect blue water. The Greek name Kerkyra comes from the Greek mythology. The god of the sea Poseidon fell I love with the nymph Korkyra, the daughter of Asopus (an important Greek river) and the nymph Metope. Poseidon kidnaps his love and brings her to the island and gives her name to the island. Together they have a son Phaiax, from which the name of the inhabitants came: phaiakex.
We left with the plane from Bratislava and arrived in the early morning at the Ioannis Kapodistrias Interational aiport in Kofu. From there a bus was waiting for us and took us to the other side of the island: to Agios Geogios south (there is also a Agios Geogios north). We arrived at the hotel Aquis Sandy Beach at 7 in the morning and had breakfast, and then we had to wait until 2 in the afternoon to have free room. I was pregnant in 3 months and I slept on the couches in the hotel’s entrance.  The hotel is actually a complex of small buildings spread on a very large area. Between the buildings there are long pools, nice cobble stone streets, gardens, pool bars, restaurants, and places for children, theater, beautiful palm trees and flowers. To get to our room we had to walk between many beautiful buildings and when we finally got there we saw the most beautiful, cozy room; cool from the air condition, a soft bed and a nice bathroom. 
View from our hotel window
 
 Pools in the hotel area
We left our luggage in the room, changed and rushed to look around.  We walked around the hotel area and saw where the restaurant and pool and the evening programs are. Then we rushed to the beach which is one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen. The beach is long and full of golden warm sand, the water is warm and clear and many colored fish. In that beautiful sea I saw the most wonderful flat blue fish in my life swimming by me so close that I could almost touch them. We simply love to lie on the golden sand in the sun or to swim for hours in the sea, and the Korfu beaches are perfect for it. 
The beach
In the evening we had dinner in the hotel’s restaurant. The hotel is all inclusive and the selection was pretty good, plenty of meats and a lot Greek food full of eggplant and zucchini. We had also a great selection of cakes, especially Greek cookies with honey or sugar and water. After dinner we took a walk in the small little village near the hotel where we could find a lot of shops with fruit, cakes, drinks, ouzo, olive oil soaps and products, condiments and souvenirs. To my happiness I found a fruit specific to Korfu which I never saw in all my life: Kumquat. It is like a very small orange and very delicious and they are making from it jams and sweets. 

Enjoying restaurant by the beach

The next day we decided to visit the city of Korfu, one of the most beautiful cities in the Greek islands. We took the bus from in front of the hotel and stopped in the middle of the Korfu town.  We walked along the streets. Some streets are large and paved with stones and full of shops, some streets are small, narrow and very crowded.  
Streets in Korfu town
The Annunziata Tower
The city has two very large and beautiful and old citadels. The old citadel is called Palaio Frouri. It is a venetian building build on an artificial island. It has a round shape and on top of it there is big cross that can be seen from very far, especially since the citadel is lighted in the night. Near the citadel was built a Doric style church called St. George’s Church.  

 The Old Citadel

 The Old Citadel
 View of St. George's Church near the citadel
The new citadel is called Neo Frourio and is a very large fortification that dominates the north part of the city. The city is full of old historical buildings like Palaia Anaktora or the Palace of St. George and Michael.


We entered the beautiful Old Town of Corfu, an old town include in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, one of the most beautiful medieval towns in Europe.  The old city is full of venetian  buildings and arcades, the streets are small, narrow and paved with cobblestones. They are full of restaurants, bars, ice cream parlors, shops and souvenir shops. You can buy Korfu t-shirts and Kum quat liqueurs and souvenirs. The old city is always crowded, full of tourists and pigeons.


Streets in the Old Town


 Shops with souvenirs in the Old Town

Korfu kitchen towels and other souvenirs

One of the biggest attractions in the Old Town and near the old citadel is the Spianada square. Spianada square is one of the largest in Europe an dis divided into two Ano Plateia which means Upper square and Kato Plateia which means Lower square. It’s full of gardens and green places and venetian buildings and arcades.

 The Spianada Square
 The Spianada Square
 View of the citadel from the Spianada square


One of the most beautiful places in the square there is a long street with venetian arcades, called the Arcades of Liston full of restaurants. There we sat and enjoyed a beautiful meal and Greek mineral water.

 The Arcades of Liston
Enjoying a meal in the Spianada square, behind me a pigeon with trousers which i only show in Korfu

The square contains also other architectural attractions like the small church near the beach Panagia Mandrakina , The Maitland monument and the Music Pavilion.  

 Monument in the Spianada gardens

From the restaurant we went to walk along the beach and watch the port, the white ships floating on the blue waves, the seagulls flying, the fortress and we sat and enjoyed how the sun sparkled on the wander clear and calm sea.

View of the port
 View of the port
The city has also a lot of beautiful churches.  One of the churches is the Panagia Mandrakina, just on the beach, a very small and cozy church, unfortunately i haven’t seen it open while we were in Korfu.

 Panagia Mandrakina

Another church and the most important is the St. Spyridon Church containing the preserved body of the saint which is considered to be the official patron of the island. The bell tower of he church is visible from almost from everywhere in the old town.



St. Spyridon Church

Also there is the the Panagia Spiliotissa Cathedral in the northern part of the Korfu city, a beautiful red and white building.


Panagia Spiliotissa Cathedral
In the middle of the city, behind old buildings there is also a very beautiful synagog.

 Inside of the synagog

Plaque in the memory of the Korfu Jews who perished in the Holocaust
Before returning to the hotel we stopped and had a orange juice and cookies. The best fresh squeezed orange juice in the world is the Greek one.

Snack in the center
One day of the vacation we took a trip to Albania which is very near to Korfu. We took the boat from the Korfu port and started to the city of Sarande. If you are pregnant don’t go on any boat trip. I was sick on the boat all the time and I usually have no experience of sea sickness.  

View of Sarande port

We arrived in the city of Sarande and walked around the city. The beach is beautiful, the sea blue and calm, palm trees and banana trees. The beach is full of luxurious hotels however behind the hotels there are poor buildings which look old and ugly. The food is cheap and we had nice cookies, coffee and ice cream there. 

 Beach in Sarande
Returned to the hotel and Korfu we spend our time sleeping, bathing and sitting in the sun, we had juices in the beautiful restaurants near the hotel. On the last day we stayed late on the beach and watched one of the most beautiful sunsets. The red sun was sending his last rays over the golden sand and the sea splashing pleasantly on the shore. 







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