IT'S ALL GREEK TO ME

4 November 2015

Greece is in a different time zone from Italy and Croatia, so we had to set our clocks forward last night and will set them back tonight.  A 24 hour day light savings time!

We arrived in Corfu to the news that there is a dock strike, so we couldn't pull into the dock, but had to anchor offshore and take the tender in, which is kind of fun, all scrunched together with the boat zipping over the distance from boat to shore.

But our day had started with breakfast in our room and then heading down to the Star Theater for the morning lecture on what we were going to do today.

They've got this thing down to a science.  The talks are recorded and played on a loop until someone on the crew interrupts when it's time to leave the boat and start your cruise.  The guy pictured here, Aaron Styre, runs most of the programs live.  He's very entertaining.

On shore, we met our tour guide, Angelica (actually she has a more complicated Greek name but decided "Angelica," the Anglicized version, was easier for us)

She loaded up the bus and we were off.  We tested our Quiet Voxes to make sure they were working.  This is what a well used Quiet Vox looks like.

On the right is the knob that turns it on.  In the middle is the window which shows what channel you are on (that gets set automatically and should match the same channel your guide is on...gets interesting when you cross over another guide's settings!) and the blurry thing at the bottom is the doohicky (I'm sure that's the technical term) that plugs in your head set.  Then you hang the thing around your neck and your tour guide doesn't need to shout and you can hear her a block away in case you get lost or left behind

Our first stop was way up in the hills at the Paleokatstritsa monestary.  To get there you go up a steep hill with hairpin turns.  In a big bus.  Up and up and up and then you park the bus and get out and walk up and up and up.  But when you finally reach the top, you are rewarded with an amazing view.

We toured the grounds and small chapel, full of icons.  But my favorite photo from that was this lovely woman, who was either selling or giving candles you could light in front of the icon of your choice. I snuck this picture of her.

There are lots of cats on the monastery grounds.

Angelica told us we were going to the top of the mountain to look at the view.  She wasn't kidding.  This is the village of Lakones.

Towns were built, in historic times on the top of mountains like that to discourage pirates and so the people could look out to sea to see if pirates were invading.  The road to Lakones (La-cone-es) is steeper and more narrow than the road to Paleokatstritsa.  In some spots we were about 6" from the wall on either side as we passed through the town.  But my word did it have a view!

I must mention that little blob on the top left of the water.  Here's a close up--

The myth goes that Poseidon had forbidden Odysseus to return to Troy, but some sailors helped him escape and he returned home, but on the way back to Corfu, Poseidon, to punish the helpful sailors, turned the ship (and all the sailors) to stone, and they have stayed here ever since.

After our too brief view stop there was another long ride to the town of Acharavi, where we had a nice Greek lunch awaiting us at The Pumphouse restaurant.  It was a very nice restaurant and 3 or 4 different groups at there at the same time.

The open air and the hanging vegetation was a wonderful invitation to bees and we had a few who shared our meal with us (one met his demise under a decanter of wine...what a way to go).  We had a salad course, and a meat course and we were sitting there waiting for our baklava, which was surely the logical next course, when the main course arrived.  We were already stuffed and didn't have a clue what it was.

We shared 2 plates and I think I had 2 bites.  It was good, but I was just too stuffed.  We never did get our baklava.  They gave us grapes instead.

Next we drove to Old Corfu and toured Esplanade Square, where we heard about the history of Corfu.  (On the way, though, the bus was stopped by the Corfu police.  I don't know why.) This, for example, is the symbol of Corfu -- a ship without a steering wheel.  I think that is also from that same eventful trip by Odyssius.

Angelica pointed us to the shopping street and where we could get some coffee and people watch and told us to be back at the bus at 4:30...15 minutes from then!!! Char and I just opted to go right to the bus, stopping en route to check out the back side of the Old Fortress, which overlooks Albania, across the water.

We got on the tender and headed off to the Viking Star, there in the distance.

Dinner tonight was a Greek Buffet in the World Cafe, where a chef was making fresh gyros.

We have two excursions scheduled for tomorrow, a 4 hour walking tour of Dubrovnik and a 5-1/2 hour tour called "Vinyards and Vistas."  The way my legs feel tonight, I am opting out of the morning's walking tour (that's the free one).  Bob says he was in Dubrovnik before and there are LOTS of stairs and cobblestones.  I think I'll save my legs for the vineyard.

We ended the night in the theater watching the ship's performers do an original show called La Pelagrina.  The less said about it the better.  Linda called it "enthusiastic" and Walt called it "silly."  I just called it "stupid."  We decided the whole point was to show off their wonderful projection screen, which was better than the show itself, for sure. Char was smart--she turned in early.
 

FOOD OF THE DAY

This is a combination of lunch and dinner.  Lunch started with bread, and a salad of
tomatoes, onion, and cucumber.  Then came a course with stuffed grape leaves,
a thing made of butter beans, cheese pie, tzatziske, and a meatball.  We thought we were
finished, but then course 3 arrived (which I didn't eat). 
By dinner, I was hardly hungry, but the ship had a Greek night and the chefs were making gyros,
so I had them make me a small one,
and I had a fried mushroom, a spanakopita and finally we got our baklava
Fearing they would run out, I took 2 but when I went to take a picture of the tray, I saw they had plenty,
even for the guy I saw carrying a plate of 8 of them.

 

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