καλή μέρα, χαιρετισμός – hello!
For this final post on the greek island Corfu, I picked my top images as an appetizer for your own trip to this beautiful island.
You can go by car and take a ferry from the greek mainland or come by plane. There is an international airport on Corfu, only a few kilometers away from Corfu Town.
At least from Germany, there are no scheduled flights, but carter flights for vacationers. But, I was able to get seats without booking a package holiday. Instead, I booked flight, hotel and rental car separately and everything was fine.
Now, you can enjoy the slideshow at the end of this post as a summary. For those of you, having missed the previous posts, you can find them easily by using the category ‘corfu‘. Each post focuses on one location or aspect of the island and has a gallery of some images at the end.
Next week, I’m starting with another location.
On Corfu we saw many, many cats. Most of them quite shy, others trusting and curious. But, all of them very skinny. You can see easily, they have to work hard to make a living. Surprisingly, I didn’t see or hear any dog.
Not all of the images in the gallery below are mine. Half of them are taken by my company. He is also here at WordPress.
While I was driving our rental car, he was able to take some photos while we were on the road. So, he got the images where the cats are examining the waste bins.
Look in the lower right corner to see, which images he gave me. 🙂 To see some more images from Corfu, you could switch to his blog, too.
Today, I don’t want to write much. Instead, I want to let the plants speak for themselves.
Corfu is very green. The hills are mostly covered over by forests. In my past posts I already showed you some images taken at our hikes through forests. Many different plants are blooming, even outside the gardens and the parks, at the street sides and beside the paths.
Unfortunately, I’m unable to name them. So, enjoy the slideshow below.
The bell tower of Ekklisia Agios Spiridon stands out of the Old town of Corfu Town. It’s a landmark as you can see in the overview image .
Saint Spiridon is defied on Corfu very much, although he never lived on Corfu. He was born on Cyprus, is said being a member of the synod of Constantinople in the 4th century and became a saint after he passed away.
After the fall of Constantinople, his corpse was brought to Corfu in the 15th century, where they built this pilgrimage church. He is said to have saved Corfu several times: from pest in 1630, hunger crisis in 1550, the siege of the Turks in 1716 (Corfu never felt on the Turks, like the rest of Greece) and another pest in 1673. So, he has 4 feasts trough out the year.
This is another church in the Old town of Corfu town. I guess, this one is special. It’s decorated very rich with gold and silver. It also has some big byzantine icons.
This church was built in 1577 and thus has some renaissance elements in its architecture. Before, the temple Agios Vasilios for the virgin Spilaiotissa stood in this place. Because of the destruction of the temple, the images were moved to this new church.
In the back of the church you can find the silver coffin with the relic bones of St. Theodora.
This are many other churches in Corfu town. Some stand alone, like the Ekklisia Panaceas Mandrakiou in the image above. Others are integrated in the streets, by building houses directly to the church walls. This is especially true in the Old Town of Corfu Town.
In the gallery you can find also inside views from different churches.
Next we arrived in the worst town of our trip: Kavos.
I know, there are a few destinations for party people. I.e Arenal on Mallorca, Benidorm in Spain, Sant Antoni and Santa Eulalia on Ibiza and so on. Some of these towns are the destination for party people from all European countries, while others are primarily for party people from a certain country. Kavos seems to belong to the second category. It seems to be focused on party people from the UK. How can I know? Simply by looking around. You know, Corfu belongs to Greece and in Greece you pay with Euro. But, here many restaurants and shops offered their goods also in Pounds and pence.
Today, the image gallery is a little bit longer as usual. I hope, you enjoy them.
On our way from Lefkimmi to Kavos, I was kind of surprised when I saw so many abandoned hotels, supermarkets and restaurants directly beside the main road. I know, there are some economic problems in Greece. These problems might als have an impact on entrepreneurs in the tourist industry. But, these buildings seemed to be abandoned for a quite long time. I don’t know, what happened here. This whole town is closed for a longer time, not only one the winter.
Next stop was the small town of Lefkimmi. Nothing very special.The area around the channel is quite nice. But, that’s all to say about Lefkimmi. So, I only have a very small gallery for you today.
No parking ground. Not an attractive town, but clean. Two tiny cafes, a few tiny tables and chairs beside the street, with a view on the channel. Unfortunately, directly beside the main road. (no, there is not much traffic).
Give it a try, when it is on your track.
Next, we surrounded the lake Korission with our car. Again, we have had to pass unpaved roads with a lot of street holes. We ended in a place with deep, soft sand. Because of we did non have had an off-road-car, we left the car on the road side at the unpaved road. Luckily the remaining space was broad enough to let other cars passing by. Beside 3 or 4 other cars, we were alone. Despite the beautiful beach here, nearly no one was here. We followed the track along the lake. I wanted to see the tiny river connecting the lake to the sea. On the sea site of the track we passed a few abandoned surf clubs. Unfortunately the fauna along the track was so high, so we weren’t able to see neither the lake nor the sea for most of the time. About an hour after our start we arrived at the river. The fisherman’s hut here was also closed. A very lonesome area.
The unpaved road led us a little bit further to another unpaved parking ground, much bigger than the one we used for our tiny trip inside the desert. Here, were some more cars parking and a broad sandy track let up the hill. We stopped here, too, and walked up that track. It was quite exhausting because of the heat and the lose sand on the track. When we finally made it up the hill we saw the ocean, the most beautiful beach on Corfu and were surprised by some remains.
Although, no hotel or similar building was visible. Thus, only few people were here enjoying sun, ocean beach and silence – a place lost somewhere in the nowhere. But, it seemed once an open air bath must have been here. We found the remains of a kiosk, an open air shower, toilets and a bleachers. Unfortunately, the last visitors must have been Vandales. All the facilities were hard damaged.
Now, we’re leaving Corfu Town again, heading to the west and following the coast to the south.
We passed several tiny villages with narrow alleys, often too small to let two cars passing each other. Luckily there is not much traffic.
Outside the villages we were able to hike on tiny paths through olive tree forests. Sometimes bright, sometimes darker. But, always a warm, mild wind.
Suddenly, you turn around and stand on top of a cliff. Hearing the sound of the waves and see the turquoise mediterranean sea below your feet.
Enjoy the gallery below.
Today, I take you on a trip to the north-western coast for visiting an old castle built by the Venetian Republic many centuries ago when Corfu was part of their state.
It way uphill ist very steep, but well paved. At the foothill you can find a tiny parking lot and a restaurant. I wasn’t in the restaurant, because we have had another plan for that day.
Just in case, you plan to climb up to the castle, I’d recommend taking enough water with you. There is no option to get some (expect in the restaurant). But, it’s really worth climbing up to the castle, you have a wonderful sight over the cliffs and the sea. The air smells like a fresh pizza from all the wild herbs.
Here we are again: driving around on Corfu, stopping every now and then for having a look and taking some photos.
You can find thousands of olive trees on Corfu. This ist not so special, because this is true for Italy, Spain, Portugal, Turkey, the Greek mainlands and other countries around the Mediterranean Sea as well. But here, the trees are very old and big. Many of the forests were planted back in the 13th – 15th century, when Corfu was part of the Venetian Republic. (I already wrote about this in one of my last posts).
In this forest, the treetops aren’t too thick. They still let some light come to the ground. So, many other plants are able to grow here. I also like the light-patches on the ground.
Do you like such monochrome photos, too? There are much more to explore here and at the blog of Leanne Cole, an Australian photographer from Melbourne. She organizes Monochrome Madness, a weekly event for lovers of monochrome photos, now running in the second year. Check it out!
Btw. as always: click on the photo to see it in a higher resolution
Since Monday, June 30th, summer finally is here. During the week we have had temperatures above 30°C with a maximum of 33 – 36°C. Friday morning, I have read in the newspaper about a town nearby. They have trams and in some areas the railroads are embedded into the streets. Because of the heat, the material, used for embedding the trails into the street, became soft and a tram stuck in. What a disaster.
I like these temperatures. But, many other people are mourning about it. I guess, that’s because of all the sudden temperature jumps. Last Sunday 16°C, Monday 30°C. Thus, people don’t have a chance to get used to it.
This morning at about 4:00 a.m. a thunderstorm started and lasted until about 11:00 a.m. While we have had 37.6°C yesterday, we only have had 20°C today. Probably, the temperature will get lower for a few days (or weeks) now, ’till they jump up again. I few time I heard the sirens of emergency vehicles this morning. I don’t know, if it were ambulances or fire brigades. Maybe a lightning flash enlighten a fire in a house or a tree. Maybe rain flooded a cellar on someone got frightened to death (heart attack) by a thunder.
The hot weather yesterday made me to skip the monthly photographers roundtable, I usually attend on the first Saturday of a month. Because my car stood in the sun the whole day, it’s way too hot inside for a quite longer drive. I would have to drive for an hour and my air-conditioning system is not able to cope with these temperatures. The maximum is the outside temperature. And, that’s still too much to drive concentrated on the motorway. Thus, I stayed at home and sat in the garden.
But, even though I have a photo for you. No, that photo is not from here, where I live. It’s taken on Corfu. It’s the new castle of Corfu town. I went over for taking some photos of the illuminated castle, when out of a sudden a single lightning flash hit the earth while my shutter was open. No further lightning flashes came down that night and only a very few raindrops felt to earth.
Take care and enjoy your summer 🙂
This week’s Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness is a themed post again, and the theme is “K” – simply the letter “K”.
While there are so many words in english, starting with a k, I didn’t get an idea for this week’s posts. You know, I’m currently developing my photos taken on Corfu. And, certainly some of them will be developed in monochrome. Thus, I picked this photo showing a big part of the old town of Corfu town. You might ask me, why I mix up “C” and “K”. Sorry, I don’t! Although, the town is well-known as ‘Corfu town’, it’s not their real name! The town and the island as well are named Κέρκυρα (= Kérkyra).
Here you can see the ‘new’ castle at the foot of the hill, the mediterranean sea, the tower of Ekklisia Agios Spiridon in the middle and the hills of Albany on the opposite side of the sea.
Currently, I’m developing my photos taken on Corfu. And, every now and then, I stumble over an image that might look great in monochrome. Just like the one above chosen for this weeks issue of Monochrome Madness by Leanne Cole.
First of all, I make all my usual adjustments to a raw file: white-balance, color-balance, balancing the horizon, lightening the darks and sharpening. Finally saving the edited file with all layers and export it to jpeg.
In the case I feel an image might look good in monochrome, I switch to monochrome mode in my raw development tool for a sneak preview to check, if it would look great in monochrome. Just in case, this preview looks great, I do another export. But, this time I choose tiff for my export image format. That’s because I want to preserve all information in the image. This tiff file is the source for my monochrome conversion.
Most of my monochrome images are created by using Tonality Pro by MacPhun. Sometimes I use it as a plugin for Adobe Photoshop, but most times I simply use it as the standalone version. Even the standalone version is capable to work with layers, similar to Photoshop. And, so I develop several parts of a monochrome image differently.
This week’s photo for Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness is also taken on the greek island Corfu. In the north-western part of the island you can find an old castle, built when Corfu was part of the Venetian Republic at the end of the 14th century. In the same place, there was already a byzantine castle from the 11th century, which was overtaken by the Venetians.
In the image, you can see the final part of the track up to the castle, where you have a wonderful view over some parts of the western coast and the Adria. The exhausting trail uphill is definitely worth the effort. But, bring water with you! You’ll need it!
καλή μέρα, χαιρετισμός – hello!
Last week I was on the greek island Corfu. It’s the most northern island of Greece. I fled from the cold and wet weather in middle Europe to the sunny south with my middle son. We were there for a week enjoying the sun and the fantastic landscapes.
While the people are very friendly and the landscapes beautiful, the state of the streets outside Corfu-town is mostly terrible (while using a mild word as a definition for them). We have had a rental car during our stay and used it to explore different parts of the island. Although the car comes with insurance, neither the tires nor the under-floor are included (an aren’t includable). Thus, pay very much attention to the streets in front of you and look very carefully to each different colored spot in the street, it might be a deep road-hole.
The island is about 60 km long (north to south) and about 9 km broad at the largest point (in the north). It has about 585 km² and about 100.000 inhabitants. You have to drive many, many serpentines up and down the hills and often a speed of 20 – 30 kmh seem to be extremely fast. But, the locals will always want to drive faster than you do, disregarding the speed limits beside the streets, and even passing you in narrow curves or other places with bad sight. You’ll also meet coaches full of tourists, many motor-scooter with locals as well as tourists and also many quad bikes. For navigating on Corfu I used the map given to me for free at the car rental station and my mobile navigation device, I usually use in my car at home. I came with maps for all 42 European countries and I already used it for different countries. So, I took it with me to Corfu. Unfortunately, many streets on Corfu outside the bigger towns don’t have names. So, we often have had to choose our destination by using the “select from map” function of the device. It all worked fine!
My expectation was to visit a mediterranean island with some hills and beautiful beaches. OK, I knew, I won’t find sandy beaches, but gravel instead. But, most of the beaches are so tiny, a few beach towels were enough to cover the whole beach 😦 And, you’ll find ‘natural’ beaches. Read: dirty with sea weed, plastic bottles, beer and soda cans and so on. Usually not a place where you want to stay. Not all beaches are in the same bad condition. Some got more dirty than others. And, if sea weed really is dirt … – decide on you own. As long as it isn’t too much, it’s OK. It natural. No-one hast to sweep the beach for me. On the other hand, the water itself if perfectly clear that you can watch to the ground to see fishes inside and it sparkles in the sun. Many hotels have pools, often filled with sea water, but without a heating. Only the sun heats up the water inside the pools.
Most of the tiny towns (villages) along the coast were built at a time, when they did not have any tourists. Thus, these towns aren’t prepared for them. Often the only street crossing the town seems to go over the citizens balconies. The houses are built directly next to the street and often the street is not broader then the car you’re sitting in (don’t expect to find a sidewalk). You find pretty houses in good shape very next to houses in bad shape or even ruins of given up houses. A complete chaos! And many, many houses have signs saying “for sale”. Some of the villages at the coast even seem to have been converted into tourist villages. Stores, tavernas and hotels one beside the other. And … directly attached to the street.
Nearly the same in the old-town of Corfu-town: hundreds of small, very small and tiny shops of all shades. All stuffed with hundreds of products: clothes, hats, bags, sandals, ouzo, ikons, ….. I guess, a woman can spend days watching all these shops carefully. They are open until late night, but some already close at 2 p.m. In the afternoon there are less pedestrians in the streets.
On the other hand, in the western part of the island you can find a lake, and a small piece of land between the lake and the see. Here you can find a nice natural sandy beach. Beside 3 beach bars and a kite club you can enjoy a day on the beach. But, it’s hard to come to that place because of the very bad streets – more an earth road, than a street. No hotel is nearby.
If you’re interested in sightseeing places, like old churches, monasteries and so on, you have to be well prepared, because the local signs seem to be only a vague tip, than giving directions. What a pity!
Churches and monasteries are usually closed, because of the fear of ikon theft. Ikons are these special kind of painting of religious important people and they are common in the orthodox church (Greek orthodox as well as in Russian orthodox church). So, you can only see the churches from outside. Or you have to be lucky enough, to arrive, when the Pope (the priest in orthodox church) is in or any other ‘official’ is available to show you around. Unfortunately, even when finding an open church, taking photographs inside is often strictly prohibited. 😦 Also, because of the fear of theft of ikons and other decorations often made of gold and silver.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to talk bad about Corfu. It’s a nice island with friendly people, as I wrote above. You know, I usually choose a typical photo for illustrating my ‘I’m back….’ post. But, this time it was kind of hard to choose a proper one. Which one should I pick – which one could represent the trip: sun, warmth, turquoise ocean, friendly people, good restaurants, beautiful landscapes, steep hills (up to 1,000m over the sea), serpentines, hundreds of scrawny cats, dozens of dogs laying lazy on the streets and giving room only hesitantly, very bad streets in the countryside, very old olive trees, vineyards, breathtaking views, restaurants with names like ‘panorama’, ‘Eden’, ‘Paradis’, ‘Belleveu’ or ‘Belvedere’ …
When walking around, you’ll notice a “free Wi-Fi” at nearly every taverna, ice salon, pub and restaurant. Ask for the code. That’s the way, I was able to check my email every now and than or answer comments here in my blog. The connection quality is not always good. Even our very good hotel offered only a very small bandwidth of around 500 Byte/second (not KB/s!). That’s way too small for surfing the internet, reading blog in the evening or preparing the next day’s trip by researching the necessary information.
I decided to pick a typical postcard motive: the Vlacherna Monastery and the tiny island Pontikonisi behind it. Both are in the bay below the quarter Kanoni of Kérkyra (Corfu town). I picked this image, because there were so many churches, chapels and monasteries around. We have had the idea, there are as many churches as the island has inhabitants. In the old-town of Corfu-town you can find a church in nearly every other street and in the countryside you’ll pass one every very few kilometers or at least a sign pointing in a direction, where you can find one (some of them are quite old – founded many centuries ago). The quarter Kanoni is part of Kérkyra, the island capital, where we have had our hotel. The island behind the monastery also carries an orthodox church. Thus, I think, it fits perfectly.
In Kanoni you can find taxi boats waiting at the runway from the strand to the monastery to bring you over to the other island. All in all, this location is a tourist magnet. Many busses full of tourists come here every day. My tip, come here in the early morning, i.e. 9:00h, just before the busses arrive and as long as both subjects are laying in the sun – remember, it’s the east coast! Depending on your plan, you only need about 15 – 30 minutes for your visit. But, if your plan includes a visit of the other island, you should calculate some more time.
You don’t need to learn Greek before traveling here. English is OK. In my opinion, most of the tourists on Corfu came from an english speaking country (probably the UK). Next often I heard German and Italian. Every day we saw huge cruise ships leaving Corfu harbor in the afternoon or early evening sailing south, in the direction of the greek mainlands. When we passed the harbour, three of these huge city like hotel ships were laying on the pier.
Finally a special tip: try kumquats. Kumquat are a tiny kind of citrus fruits. They are cooked for marmalade, distilled to an orange-colored liquor, candied, candied for coating with chocolate or simply boiled down. An interesting experience for your taste.
I hope, you weren’t bored by this really long post and didn’t fall asleep. 🙂