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Greece – Day 8

Opa! It seems like this tour has just whizzed right on by. It’s already day 8! Today we explore Corfu Town and journey up to the Achílleion Palace where we will see some great artwork and learn about the tragic life of Empress Elizabeth of Austria. Later on, we have a special dinner planned at the Tripa Taverna – the oldest taverna on Corfu. Vamos!

Here is an exterior shot of the Corfu Holiday Palace where we spent last night and will stay tonight as well. All of the hotels we’ve stayed in so far have featured oversized rooms (by European standards) and breathtaking views. We’ve been very fortunate in that regard. It’s too bad they all want to gouge me to the tune of 8 Euros ($10.75 US) an hour for internet access. That’s the price I pay to bring you my travel updates.
Here is a picture of our Greece tour guide Roberto. I tried to get a picture of him earlier, but he’s always on the move so they kept turning up blurry. Roberto is originally from Spain and moved to Greece a decade or so ago. He has a very thick Spanish accent so I have a difficult time telling if he’s speaking Greek words with a Spanish accent or a Greek accent. My favorite phrase of his is ‘tacky souveneirs’. He says it whenever we are near a gift shop. He also says ‘Vamos!’ whenever it is time to leave the bus. ‘Vamos’ is Spanish, not Greek but we forgive him anyway.
Here is a picture of Mary, our local guide in Corfu. She was very enthusiastic and knowledgeable. Her accent was fairly thick, but I didn’t have much trouble understanding her. As far as tour guides go, I’d say she was pretty decent.

Our first stop of the day was at the Achílleion Palace of Empress Elizabeth of Austria. It was named after Achilles, one of the Empress’ favorite Greek mythological heroes. The Empress herself was wed at an early age to Emperor Franz Joseph and bore him several children. Her husband was notoriously unfaithful and rarely present. Her overbearing mother-in-law dictated the Empress’ time with her own children, and when one child died during an overseas journey, Elizabeth was basically exiled. She sought the comfort of Corfu and built this palace here in 1890. She lived here off and on until she was assassinated at age 61. The third image is of a statue of the anorexic Elizabeth. The fourth is of a bathing Aphrodite on display in the palace.
While walking in the gardens of the palace, I came upon the magnificent 49 foot-tall cast-iron statue of Achilles. Further in the garden, I found the statue “Dying Achilles” which depicts the moment after Achilles is struck in the heel by an arrow from the bow of Paris. Further on is a terrace ringed with statues of the Greek muses. They looked to me like street performers in white cake ready to step off their pedestals at any time. In a closed off room near the terrace, I spied a giant painting of Achilles dragging the body of Hector around the perimeter of Troy.
Yup, they’re everywhere. I saw a Starbucks on Corfu too.
Here is a picture of the Agios Spyrídon I took from near the main square in Corfu Town. This church is dedicated to Spyrídon; the Patron Saint of the island. His silver-gilded coffin is viewable inside the church. The church is also notable for the large number of silver chandeliers and other gifts that have been brought by pilgrims to the church. As is the case with all Greek Orthodox churches, I was sadly not allowed to take pictures inside.

During our free time in Corfu Town, we decided to visit the Palaió Froúrio or “Old Fortress.” The fortress was constructed in 1550 by the Venitians during their occupation of the island. The fortress lies on a peninsula that juts out into Corfu bay. The tall fortress offered promises of great views and it sure delivered. I don’t think the time was right on the clock tower though…

Here is some of the fantastic view from the summit of the Old Fortress

For dinner, we took a special trip to the oldest taverna on Corfu; the Tripa Taverna. The tavern was indeed quite old looking. The walls were lined with dusty bottles and cobwebs. There we were treated to plenty of wine, multiple courses of salad, lamb, pasta, and dessert. We were also entertained with some traditional Greek dancing. The dancers even coaxed many of the ladies of the group to join in a traditional circle dance. Opa! Overall, we had a great time there.

I’m full! It’s time to head back to the hotel. That’s all for day 8. Tune in tomorrow when we leave the island of Corfu and head to Porto Rio. On the way, we’ll take a boat ride around the private island of the Onassis family. Kalinýnchta (good night)!

4 Responses to “Greece – Day 8”

  1. on 12 Nov 2008 at 11:02 am Raychel

    Bring me back a hookah!! lol Hope you are having a blast!!

  2. on 13 Nov 2008 at 10:19 am Kristi Wellman

    The history is absolutly amazing.
    Did they get you to dance as well?

  3. on 17 Nov 2008 at 8:21 am Michael N. Hull

    Enjoying your pictures! Regards, Michael

  4. on 03 Aug 2015 at 12:45 am Chris

    Corfu is a beautiful isanld. We stay in the north when we were there several years ago and then toured around a little and found some really delightful villages. We were advised to avoid Cavos in the south which is the party resort which maybe okay if you are 18- 30 (which definitely doesn’t include us). The isanld is much greener than the Cyclades where we now live and has a lot of trees, the Achilleon Palace there is lovely and the town of Kerkira is well worth visiting too.

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