Time To Go Home

 

 

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Thursday 28th September

Thanks to Adrian and Ange for a great break in their home in Corfu !

Sadly the last night was all too soon upon us.

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We spent the last evening at Aries restaurant in Gouvia, the food was lovely although some of the staff decided to nibble on a table!

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Kev looked decidedly worried that the flames were going to get his dinner, so he wolfed it down in double quick time!

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Too much time in the sun and too much orange juice and Kev certainly looked TANGOED!

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Whilst Zorba the greek is being danced by the hard working waiters, Marisa is checking photos of Rory her new grandson!

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We all had a great evening, although Kev was a little quieter than normal!

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Marisa was a little suspect about the chicken……………..

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Although Jane had a sneaky suspicion !

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Jane has tried all manor of ways to disguise her nose picking, we all thought this was the most successful!

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Tracy even gave her a round of applause….

 

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Looks like Marisa has got another, more up-to-date photo of Rory.  Chris can’t believe his luck, surely it must be his turn to look at the photos !

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Corfu airport, everyone had had a fantastic holiday, and we were all sad to be going home…….. Well there’s always next time!!!!!

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Culture Vultures

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So far, the only culture we have had this holiday has been the Greek yogurt! So Chris, Marisa, Jane and I headed for Achilleion, a palace built in Gastouri by Empress of Austria Elizabeth of Bavaria, also known as Sisi [Marisa’s nickname!]

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This beautiful Palace is perched high on a hill with stunning views of Corfu and Albania.

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There were quite a few coaches full of passengers from visiting cruise ships, but there was still plenty of space to explore.

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And at times, moments of solitude……………….

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….. to enjoy the views.

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After our trip around the palace we went to one of Jane’s favourite places to watch the planes taking off from Corfu airport. On our way across the narrow causeway we were nearly knocked down by a mad motorcyclist!!!

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We managed to get a table with a great view of the airport and surrounding area; the view was better than the food.

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Marisa was so excited that she stood and waved to the plane for hours!

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Albania

We took a day trip over to Saranda in Albania. The tour guide that took us on the ferry was called Yoda and Chris remarked that she was even more scary than Jane……… however who knows now after she reads this !

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Albania was far quieter than we were used to on Corfu. The places we got to see were lovely and clean, and the people very friendly. The was a lot of history here to take in!

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Marisa and Chris sat patiently waiting for the show to start, only to find they were 2,000 years to late!

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Butrint is a UNESCO  world heritage site and was a colony inhabited since prehistoric times.

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Butrint has been a Greek colony, a Roman city, it experienced a period of prosperity under Byzantine administration, then a  brief  occupation by the Venetians.

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The city was abandoned in the late the late Middle Ages after marshes formed in the area.  There you are I, took it all in!!! ( with a little help from Google!)

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After a lunch with views over Saranda,

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we headed to another National Park.  The road to the site was tricky to say the least, especially in a coach ! Many of the cars we saw seemed to be struggling with the gravel surface and the hairpin bends. When we finally arrived we saw the Blue Eye. a spring which supplies most of the drinking water for this area.

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They have dived 50 metres in the spring and there is yet more to explore. The water comes out at a cool 10 degrees and is lovely to drink straight away.

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A 40 minute ride back on the hydrofoil and we were back in Corfu. A great day out!

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Tickety-Boo a Week in Corfu !

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A week in Corfu with Jane’s sisters Marisa and Tracy with their other halves Chris and Kev. A visit to Paliokastritsa on their first full day so they could chill out and get a bit of sun.

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A chance to see my skills with the snorkel and mono fin…………….

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Not really sure that I have got the hang of this……………

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………My god! where has he gone??????

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After the exertions of the day a cocktail with a view before the drive home, well except for me, I had a coffee!

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Although that was still too much for some!!

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On a slightly cloudy day, a drive down to the airport to see the planes was the order of the day……

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A visit to the monastery …….

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Was followed by a session of hat trying on and a cup of coffee. We certainly know how to have a good time !

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We got a lovely view of Albania on our drive to Kassioppi.

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The next sunny day took us to Kassioppi and another cup of coffee. Then off to the beach for a picnic.  What a beautiful place!  I did have a problem at one point however, I managed to get all 4 wheels of the Ferrari off the ground, not through excess speed though, but because the road was so steep and the angle so sharp the car ended up like a see-saw. We did manage to get free after a couple minutes (seemed like a life-time!) much to the relief of us all!

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The beach was a bit busy for a picnic, but we managed to find a quiet spot !

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Kev buys a bespoke hat from Agatha, but Tracy says no to the earrings!

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I had an unsuccessful geocache hunt in this picturesque bay which had everyone wondering what the heck I was up to!

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A swim in the pool was a must every day…….

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And a swim in the sea was a bonus if the day went to plan

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Chris did struggle with the finer points of using the sun beds, but luckily Jane was on hand to give him some help!

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After having  such a wild time during the days, the only way we could keep the excitement levels up was by going down to Gouvea (the Las Vegas of Corfu) to see the Albanian Elvis. The show was actually very good but there were time when he reminded me more of Freddy Starr than Elvis Presley !!!!!!!

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To keep the excitement up to fever pitch we had a celebrity BBQ chef flown in. My cousin  Adrian and his wife Ange popped over to see us, and stay in their villa.

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I’m sure I said hot dogs for tea!!

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And what a good chef he turned out to be……….. must be all those tips I have given him over the years !

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The morning after the night before!

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Ange turned out to be multi talented too, she can water the garden and drink a beer a the same time!

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Well what can I say……. captions please!

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Marisa and Chris prepared us all a lovely meal, and being very organised (unlike me) they also did most of the washing up!

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The next morning after all the hard work has been done , time for a leisurely breakfast in the sun.

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Followed by a serious sunbathing session, now that Chris has got the hang of the sun bed!

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And happily for us, we all love that Kev loves a nice slice of cake, which means we all get to sample his fine selections!

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Trains and Boats and Planes

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Monday 18th September A.M

Andy was looking for an experienced helmsman to help take his newly-repaired yacht back to its mooring at Ipsos.

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I gave the boat the usual “once over” before taking up the commission ……………..

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There were a few last minute things I wanted fixing  before I was happy to set sail on such a demanding voyage………….

 

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So, confident I could get the yacht back to its home port and moor safely I set sail. At the crack of dawn with the sun just rising over the yardarm we left Corfu town for Ipsos.

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With Ipsos in sight……………..

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…………I stepped out of the way and handed back control to Andy. There was obviously no way was I going to be in charge as we entered the harbour. The boat was berthed with such precision in a gap so small it would of been difficult to park your bike!  Thanks Andy for letting me come along for the ride.

 

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Monday 18th September P.M

After the morning’s expedition, Jane was ready for me to set the compass in the direction of the nearest supermarket to stock up on provisions for the imminent visit of her sisters.  The first stop was the local bakery to get some cakes (really for Kev, but i’m sure we will have some!)

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…………if you look carefully you can see the last two people off of the plane, and of course it had to be Tracy and Kev!

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Tracy entered the country in her normal shy retiring way!………….

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Closely followed by Marisa, Chris and Kev.

 

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Back at the villa, the first thing everyone wanted to do was jump in the pool. Then it was time for a little light refreshments, beer, wine and bacardi followed by a lovely home-cooked meal! After the peace and quiet of the last two weeks, I think we are in for a lively fun-packed 10 days !  ( P.S There were no trains, it was just the way my mind went!)

 

 

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Finding the Durrell’s House

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Friday 15th September

A lazy day was planned. After an early morning watching the mist on the Albanian mountains and waiting for the sun to rise…………

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…….. we sat beside the pool just chilling, reading our books and catching a few rays……..

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……. then to round off an exhausting day Andy came down and cooked a fantastic BBQ, Rachel sipped a glass of wine and offered him some handy hints!

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Saturday 16th September

We are both fans of the T.V. series  “The Durrells” which is filmed on Corfu. We wanted to get a picture of the house featured on the programme, but were told that it was difficult as it was located by an hotel complex and not accessible by the beach.

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So in the best paparazzi style I set off to get the elusive photograph

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After risking life and limb  by wading through uncharted waters……..

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Success! The photo that I was after! It looked beautiful.

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After a morning walking around Gouvia and Kontokali we decided to check out another of Ange’s recommendations, Pelekas. This turned out to be a bit easier said than done. We followed Andy’s instructions and took the first road sign and then we never saw another! So after an unexpected scenic drive, we ended up at our intended destination, the top of a mountain with stunning views from one side of the island to the other!

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If we looked really hard we were sure we could see Age and Ange’s villa! (maybe wishful thinking)

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Sunday 17th September

Today was all about a stroll around Corfu town, seeing the sights and doing a bit of geocaching.

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The caches are situated in some interesting places and you get to see parts of towns you might not ordinarily visit.

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This place, Mon Repos, was situated close to one of the coastal caches. Famous for being the birth place of the Duke of Edinburgh, it too has recently been used as a filming location for the Durrells.

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Spoiler alert!! One cache is hidden behind this bust of Gerald Durrell! It looks like it’s a Greek custom to touch his nose!

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Now, this ancient ruin is situated overlooking the old port, not me you understand, the building that is!

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Life’s a Beach !

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Wednesday 13th September

Today we did a little more research of places to take Tracy, Kev, Marisa and Chris. Although it’s not an arduous job we still have to put a lot of effort checking the views………..

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Checking out the best beaches…….

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Checking out the pebbles on the beach and making sure the water is warm enough!  And that took all day, no rest for the wicked!

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We were both glad to get back to the villa and watch the Albanian mountains turn red as the sun went down (with a glass of wine of course!)

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Thursday 14th September

This is the church of Vlacherna, a lovely building in a stunning location……..

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This is one of Corfu’s most photographed spots, sail boats cruise past and people stroll past gazing in to the crystal clear waters…..

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However, if you turn around and look behind you, there is the main runway of Corfu’s airport right in front of you ……………

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It’s quite fascinating to stand and watch these planes taking off and landing, so close to you that you think you could touch them. And in such a beautiful place too.

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Jane could have stayed all day, but I had more important fish to fry……….. namely another geocache to find……….

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This time the cache was located on top of a hill overlooking the church, with Mouse Island in the distance. Whilst I went hunting, Jane kept an eye out for incoming aircraft !

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Even though Kev and Val aren’t with us on this trip, Kev likes to keep me informed of places that we might like to visit.  He is always reading travel books and planning several trips ahead…………….

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He sent me an email about an out of the way beach called Notos……….

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Seldom very busy………

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And the calm waters over an exceptionally seabed make it ideal for snorkelling………. so we just had to go……

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Just as well the water wasn’t too shallow otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to get my stomach in!!!!!! (must remember to hold it in for photos!)

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And so after a hard afternoon of snorkelling, there is nothing better than to sit back and reflect on the days’ adventures!

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Corfu Town

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Monday 11th September

Jane suggested that today we go in to the main town and do a bit of SHOPPING.  With this in mind I set about my daily exercise routine with extra vigour; I didn’t want to collapse halfway around town whilst looking at hand bags!

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Corfu town is a mixture of lovely well-kept buildings, and quite a few with a faded elegance which gives this place a character all of its own.

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Whilst I was admiring the architecture Jane had spotted something far more interesting. As I was looking for a new pair of swimming trunks I felt that I should join her in her home from home! How disappointing, an M&S on this island, in this heat without any summer wear!

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Anyhow back to the architecture. After a good wander around we both found a few bargains, I got 2 pairs of trunks and a pair of shorts, all half price as it was end of season, and Jane got a dress. I can’t see that its end of season as it is still so hot, however I can’t look a gift horse in the mouth!

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Back at the villa,  Rachel had noticed a few stray leaves in the pool, and after her hard day’s work with the horses she was there like a shot to get them out!

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Jane couldn’t believe that I hadn’t noticed the leaves, I myself think its because she pours my Bacardi and cokes way too strong!

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Tuesday 12th September

After such a hard day’s shopping yesterday we thought that a pool day would be in order today.

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What a beautiful quiet place (if the dogs don’t bark!) to sit, read and relax. I love travelling and staying in our caravan, but sometimes a break from filling up the water barrels and emptying the loo can be very therapeutic .

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At the end of the day, in the cool of the evening, we drove a short way down the road to Dassia for a walk along the beach.

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Time for a sundown geocache, and to watch day turn into night !

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Kassiopi

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Friday 9th September

The weather this morning was definitely looking a bit moody!

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Yep, looks like there’s a storm coming in!

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So we waited in the comfort of the villa, reading, dozing and surfing the internet whilst waiting for the sun to come out. Ange had written down a few suggestions of places to visit so Jane took the time to plan a route. First stop the Durrells house in Kalami, the real house, not the T.V. house ! You can now rent the top floor for holidays and the bottom half is a restaurant.

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The second stop was to find my first Greek geocache, it wasn’t too difficult, as there were  lots of clues!

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To celebrate the find, we drove to a little bay with a view of Albania………………

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We found a little Taverna where we sat and watched the boats coming and going, nothing too taxing you understand !

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Kassiopi was our main destination for the day, and what a lovely place it was. It had a tranquil unhurried feel to it (well it did at 4pm, not sure what it’s like at night!)

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Jane spotted an ice-cream shop, so we wandered around the harbour with a double caramel special in hand admiring the small yachts. (We also had time to track down 2 more geocaches!)

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As we were running a little later than planned, we decided to grab a little snack in Gouvia on the way home, and whilst it was still light, just enough time for one more cache………

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Not so lucky this time, and its getting dark, time to give up and get some tea. Nice to see the historic Venetian arsenal though, built in 1778 with rather large windows, you can see why the Venitians came up with the blind idea!

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At last, a little snack for tea….. a gyro with chips………lovely!

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Saturday 10th September

Well thats not what we were expecting!  A little wet for a game of chess and a little windy for a game of draughts!

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After the rain cleared, we went for a walk up the road from the villa. This is a very quiet area with a few houses and lots of olive trees. We walked for about an hour and didn’t see a soul, we did  however see a lot of shot gun cartridges.  I don’t think I want to get on the wrong side of any of these farmers!

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On the way back we saw this turkey, he didn’t look too happy, I think someone had just told him its not long until Christmas! He wanted to spend the break on the island of Paxos, but the farmer told him to get stuffed !

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Sunday 10th September

Thats better, the sun begins to peak through early this morning and only a little cloud. This is a panoramic view from the bedroom balcony!

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So off to Sidari today. The resort itself was ok, but just on the edge is an area of stunning small inlets and bays. This particular photo is of an area named “Canal d’Amour”.

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A little further along the coast is Cape Drastis, yet another truly beautiful spot, you can see a small boat anchored in the bay in the distance. Just 3 people had the benefit of that secluded beach!

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Further around the coast is Arillas, a little place that we visited the last time we were in Corfu. On that occasion we took time to sit on this bench and contemplate the meaning of life!

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An ideal place to sit and watch the sun go down. Me with an orange juice and lemonade and Jane with a vodka and coke……. oh the joys of driving the little white Ferrari!

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Paleokastritsa and other places

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Tuesday 5th September P.M.

After our wild night out in Gouvia a little chill-out time was required…..

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Wednesday 6th September

A fairly early start, as we were taking Bill and Owen to the airport. What a lovely sunrise this morning!

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Jane had a little visitor this morning, a big grasshopper was enough to make her take a little  jump back in surprise!

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An early morning swim is a great way to start the day, especially if you only have to take 5 steps from the kitchen to the lovely refreshing water.

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Then breakfast with a view……

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Life is not always so easy, and after a stressful morning of reading by the pool we had to drive 30mins to Paleokastritsa to sit on the beach. I first came here about 35 years ago, and to say it has changed  a lot is an understatement! My cousin Adrian recently found a postcard I had sent my Nan and Aunt at the time, and the place looked unrecognisable with all the recent developments.

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However the beach was the same……

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The boat hirers were still there, new jetty though!

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And the sea was as warm and clear as I remembered.

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Thursday 7th September

Before we left, I had booked a Ferrari for the duration of our stay on Corfu.  However the guy at the rental offices assured me that a Peugeot 108 was the better car for the roads on the island, and that it had a similar performance. He was half right, a small car is ideal for the narrow roads, although I would have loved a car that could climb a steep incline without having to change down to 1st gear!

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Jane selected a short walk from the guide book, 1.5 miles was all she said it would be……….

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What she had failed to notice was. it was straight down!……….

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However the scenery was lovely with lots of succulent type plants …..

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…. breathtaking views……..

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…… and crystal clear water.

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Jane was surprised at the unusual cave formations and the large cracks in the rocks!

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The only problem with a long walk down, is that there is a long walk back up again. However the walk back up was not as hard as I had feared, as it seamed to be easier to get a better grip.

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Afionas, the village at the top, was quaint and picturesque with lots of colourful plants in the borders.

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The vantage point at the top offered great views over the many nearby small islands.

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Although the donkey wasn’t that bothered, he was more interested in his lunch!

 

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Corfu

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Monday 4th September

After a trouble-free taxi journey to Heathrow terminal 5, we arrived in good time for our flight to Corfu. We were a little hungry after the early start, so Jane persuaded me to have a low calorie full english breakfast, that really hit the spot and lasted me until the food was served on the plane.

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We arrived at Age and Ange’s villa just as the sun was going down. We were greeted by Bill (Age and Ange’s son) and his friend Owen; they took our bags and offered us a glass of wine for which we were very grateful after the journey.

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The view from the bedroom balcony was as stunning as we remembered. You can see Albania in the distance and we have decided to book a day trip as we have been told great things about it.

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The sun was sinking and the moon was rising, so time to drive off to get some food.

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We arrived at Ipsos and the sun had completely disappeared and the moon cast a golden glow over the sea. We had a very pleasant stroll along the front choosing which of the many establishments we were going to honour with our custom. We decided on the traditional Greek meal of moussaka and chips, which was very tasty!

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The next morning we awoke to a glorious day.

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So first things first, jump in the pool……………..what a way to start the day!

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I got chance of a catch up with Andy (Ange’s brother-in-law) whilst sat on the veranda having my breakfast. He and his other half Racheal live here in Corfu and it is great to benefit from their local knowledge!

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It was Bill and Owens last day, so I suggested a meal out if they could think of a nice restaurant. Bill thought that the local town of Gouvia would have something for everyone, and he was right.  We settled on Melodies restaurant where the food was lovely.  Melodies has a tribute act bar, and that night the Albanian Elvis was on, but the lads had an early flight so we headed back home (actually Jane and I were tired!)

 

 

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But before we left we still had time for dessert!

 

 

 

 

 

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