This is part 2 of 4 of my series about my trip to Greece. Part 1 is here.
Days 6-7: Corfu
We drove our car onto a boat and went to the island of Corfu. Ilias had booked us an incredibly nice hotel; great beach, lovely balcony… actually who cares about any of that? The jacuzzi bathtub was all I needed to see to fall in love with the place. I could have lived in that bathtub.
This was the island where I started to notice a phenomenon I’ve nicknamed “Greek walking.” Basically you get two people, sometimes more, onto a little Italian motor scooter and zip around the tiny streets at ridiculous speeds. Safety equipment? Leave it at home, pussy.
Even though it’s a beautiful island, Corfu is touristy as hell. In particular it seems to be a place for British tourists to go, as evidenced by the drunk 13 year old British teens singing along to celebrity impersonator Amy Housewine at a bar down the street from the hotel. But the most touristy part is Sidari, which you should avoid at all costs. It’s like Fisherman’s Wharf, except in Greece. It’s really almost exactly the same.
On the other side of the island, Corfu has an old-school port town with narrow streets, deafeningly loud cicadas, and more Vespas per square inch than I’ve ever seen in my life. I was really glad not to be behind the wheel here; Vespas were zipping around our car on both sides! Chaos on the street.
Day 8: The Cabin in Matsouki
After ferrying out of Corfu, we took a long road trip through some more tunnels — did I mention the tunnels yet? No? Well, major roads in Greece tend to fall into one of two categories: 1. Goat paths and 2. Freeway tunnels. Until recently, there weren’t many freeways in Greece it seems. Now they’re building like crazy, replacing their old barely-paved roads with heavy-duty freeways that tunnel right through hills and under bodies of water. It’s like 19th century meets 21st century, and not much in between.
Anyway, we hit up a little town on the way to Ilias’ father’s cabin and had some fresh fish for dinner, then we completely neglected to get gas. Oops. That evening we contemplated siphoning gas from other cars, but ultimately were saved when the bread man came by (you know, like a milkman, but for bread) and told Ilias that a nearby gas station was rumored to have gas. This turned out to be true and saved our asses in a major way, and if I ever run into the bread man I’ll give him a big juicy and total non-homoerotic kiss.
Day 9: Mycenae
More old rocks? Yes, but you’ll recognize the Lion’s Gate of Mycenae from your middle school history textbook. Still, not much is left of the place, and crappy archeological work didn’t help preserve what little still stands.
Unlike other historical sites, this was more of a dog place than a cat place. The dogs were running around like crazy and begging for food. Marc fed one of the dogs some chips and made a friend for life.
After a brief visit to the museum and a stop for pizza, we headed down for a traditional Greek play, which the non-Greeks among us could only understand thanks to Wikipedia on Marc’s iPhone. Seeing a play in a traditional stone amphitheater was a refreshingly new and different experience, but my ass still prefers the comfortably padded seats at the IMAX.
That night we stayed at hotel with some strange fire safety rules and an antique phone system that they stole from Lily Tomlin.
Day 10: Acropolis
Back in Athens, the four of us took public transit to Greece’s best known historical site, the Acropolis. Before we get into that, their public transit is actually quite nice. Athens is a county about the size of the entire SF peninsula, maybe a bit larger. They have a brand-new Metro system and large buses, all of which you can ride for 1 Euro per 90-minute transfer.
The Acropolis is a beautiful old temple. Currently it’s being restored; the restoration has been underway for 20 years or so and it looks like things are nearing completion.
Down the hill, there’s a new and impressive museum about the history of the Acropolis which I highly recommend. It’s built on top of a bunch of ruins, so they have a glass floor where you can see what’s underneath. A lot of the statues, etc. that were once in the Acropolis are in the museum, and those that aren’t are handily labeled so you can see who stole them: the British Museum and the Vatican are the top two offenders. What a surprise!
After the museum, but unfortunately before having a chance to bathe the sweat off, we headed to an Italian joint and met up with one of Ilias’ friends, Yanni, for the evening.
Oh and in case you were wondering, yes even the Italian places serve Greek salads.