A TNT Travel Writing Awards 2009
Author: Emma Anderson
Accommodation: Dora Apartments, St George South (Agios Georgios), Corfu
Duration: 1 week
Couple aged 24 to 33
Total cost (including pocket money) – £ 1,400
Our first impressions were that Corfu has come a long way in recent years but still has kept its charm. We started our week by meeting Corfu Value Rentals in the airport parking lot, a warm welcome and a good car deal later on we were on our way. We met a Greek friend and stopped for a drink at Viro before moving on to St George South. Although discouraging at first ,. driving in Corfu is relatively easy, once you get your bearings it’s not too bad to get around. Although we got lost a few times during the week, we always found our way around after applying a little logic. We arrived late at the Dora apartments but were still greeted and looked after.
Dora Apartments are very clean and adequate and their restaurant, Panama, gives residents a 10% discount. We ate there the first night and enjoyed our meal with a wonderful sea view. The temperature was nice and the people nicer, the happiness and warmth exuberant from everything we encountered. We moved to the bars and explored the Strip which is St George South, strolled along the beach and marveled at the warm water so late in the evening. We then moved to Amazona bar where we became regulars this week, receiving a wonderful welcome from Angela and Tony and Tony’s dad who was more than happy to try and teach us Greek. A few locals frequented this bar and it was nice to see the mix of locals and tourists.
The next day we walked across St George South and sampled the bars there. The beach is vast and every bar or restaurant we went to received a warm welcome. We also tried most of them during the week to make sure we got a real taste of Corfiote life. Our favorites were the Makis and Demitri restaurant, although we enjoyed each of them and the hospitality was amazing.
Sunday brought Kostas Boat Trip which departs from St George South on Wednesdays and Sundays and under 30 euros per person. The staff were lovely and Kostas always greeted us when he saw us after that. The trip to Paxos was lovely, the views were breathtaking. We would recommend the trip to newcomers to Corfu as it is overall a very pleasant experience, it lasts from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm so set aside a day. Anti Paxos was beautiful I didn’t swim but my partner did and commented it was fantastic in the aquamarine sea.
On Monday we visited Corfu Town which was a bit stressful at rush hour but interesting nonetheless but I would recommend Corfu Old Town over the new one for tourists as it is very pleasant to look at. You can enjoy a coffee with free water and cookies for 6 euros each in Liston Square and marvel at the way the Greeks play board games and chat in their free time, a very civilized atmosphere and relaxing. We then went to Pelekas for lunch, beautiful but hilly but worth a visit
On Tuesday we visited Corfu Donkey Rescue near Pelema, then on to Nimfes via Roda. Nimfes is a beautiful classical Greek village, with narrow streets and tall architecture, with a natural spring which legend says that the water Nimphs placed there. Then we returned to where we felt at home in St George South via mountains and winding roads.
On Wednesday we went to Paleokastritsa and did another boat trip, this one for only 10 euros and has a nice view of the harbors and the monastery. We ate at a local restaurant and enjoyed the scenery.
Thursday we spent the day on the beach in St George South then spent the evening in Viros with friends. It was a wonderful but sad evening as we had to come back the next day. We had experienced the food, drink, people and wonderful scenery. My love affair with Corfu began many years ago, but the flame was rekindled during our vacation. There is an atmosphere in Corfu that is hard to explain, both laid back and passionate. The care and attention with which the Greeks welcome you is marvelous. It’s a common misconception that Corfiots will only be nice if you spend your money on them. I have met many Greeks in various situations and each time I have been greeted with warmth and hospitality, whether I carry money in my wallet or not. I’m not ashamed to admit that I love this island. It is breathtakingly beautiful, the hospitality of the Corfiots and the feeling of total security envelop me in a warm blanket of happiness. Crime rates are low in Corfu and you can feel the results as you walk the streets safely.
There are negatives in Corfu, as there are all over the world, but the positives exceed them ten times. The vacation itself was very cheap, but we spent a lot to eat out, although this can be avoided by taking other options. We were self catering and ate out everyday rather than fending for ourselves which drives up the price. Please visit Corfu, I would recommend it to anyone, learn some Greek and show respect during your stay and you will be greeted with wonderful, big, big, Greek and open arms.