Monday, 9 April 2012

Corfu, Greece: Day 2

          Today was a little more relaxed day. We couldn’t see much in the morning as the      weather played spoilt sport. So we lazed around in the reception area over-using the  WiFi. My father meanwhile managed to start an elaborate conversation with the manager  about greek politics, economic policies and the EU. We could sense their hopelessness when he spoke about the state of his country. Their was a certain bitterness in him when he spoke about the politicians and how they're running the supposed democracy...

   Once it stopped raining we made way to the Corfu Town. There was supposed to be a performance by a marching band there, but the rain didn’t let little Johnny play. Again.
Once the rain calmed down to a drizzle we parked our car near the city center (which is no where near the center of the city) and walked towards it. The city center is actually near the sea. And this sea has the clearest bluest water I’ve ever seen. You can actually see the fish swimming underneath!

Walking through the city center and looking at all the sign boards in Greek I found myself a little uneasy. And when I knew why unpleasant memories from a long forgotten past of a girl sitting helplessly in Physics class as her teacher explained something about omega and sigma and lambda and...oh well no wonder it was all Greek to me back then! (∑∏∆∂ῼΨ- this is what it looked like to me, back then and now)

We walked around a little more and inevitably ended up at a Greek Tavern called Markas. We decided to try something new instead of sticking to the ‘safe food’ spaghetti and salad. We ordered fried kalamari (squid), chicken burger (Bilal’s order, obviously). Grilled feta cheese, chicken steak. I tried the grilled vegetables and for the first time in the past few years got told ‘finish all the vegetables on your plate’ by my parents. The fried kalamari was to die for. Fried to perfection and made a little extra spicy to please our Indian taste buds. It was absolutely delicious! And this is coming from a sworn sea food hater. So next time you’re here, don’t miss out on this heavenly dish!

After our excellent lunch we were in the mood for an afternoon siesta, but the sky
suddenly cleared up and there was sunshine everywhere! We couldn’t miss this
opportunity! So we immediately hit the highway to go to Paleokastrista (have fun saying
that aloud to yourself :D) which is a hill side point in the western side of Corfu. The drive
was as nice as yesterday. Again, a lot of wild flowers and olive trees. It was a
steep climb to Paleokastrista but the view there was so worth it! Picture postcard! The
blue waves rolling up to the huge white rocks and breaking out into white foam on
contact with the rough surface…The whole experience of looking at it from up above was out of this world. If it wasn’t that chilly we could’ve spent some more time there.

In the evening we returned to the city center and strolled down one of the market streets- Agios Spiridos. As it was a Sunday most of the shops were closed. But the ones that were open were so nice that we plan to go back there tomorrow morning. The street mostly consists of ‘Olive woodwork shops’ which are brimming with knick knacks carved out of olive wood.

 It’s amazing how much beauty man is able to bring out of a simple chunk of wood. It reminded me of something I’d heard a few years back (source unknown) ‘I don’t carve out the lion from stone; I just remove the chunks which are not lion’. The shop had everything from gracious figurines to key chains. Wooden chess sets and tiny laughing Buddhas, polished salt ‘n’ pepper sets and lovely tea coasters.
Then there were some shops selling traditional Greek sweets. We bought caramelized almonds (which I am munching on as I write this) and sesame covered pistachios, and also some mandarin oranges boiled in sugar syrup.
There was one shop which really caught my fancy. It was tiny shop with steps leading downwards. Once I entered it was as though I had stepped into the underwater world of Ariel, Disney’s own Little Mermaid. There were Sea Shells everywhere! Not a spot in the shop was empty. They even had real sea sponge! I was tempted to buy one of the tiny sea shell wind chimes to liven up my grey room back in Nottingham. But money can work as a great restrictor, and it did. *sigh*

From Agios Spiridos we strolled ahead, following the sound. We found ourselves at an open square surrounded by open air restaurants and cafes. There were hundreds of tables with lamp bowls and floating candles on them, the candles lending a warm and cozy feeling to the entire place. There were a lot of youngster sitting around these tables, chatting and laughing while they sipped on their drinks. The place seemed so different from the quiet Corfu we’d seen by the day. Apparently the ‘nightlife’ gets better as we move in towards the peak season- May to July.

We ended up at the same restaurant that we had lunch for. There we were greeted by the same waiter who’d served us earlier. He talked me into buying Mushroom pervoudes and grilled feta cheese. The cheese didn’t let me down but the mushroom did. However, I did finish the vegetables on my plate. Like a good girl.

As I’m about to finish writing this I feel like can hear the waves lapping at the beach. It’s as though I’m there right now. Happy dreams tonight…

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