Corfu Odyssey – 3

 Day 2

The thunderstruck palm tree 

Our second night at the marina, around midnight, there was a severe thunderstorm coupled with rain. As we were comfortably installed in our caravan, it did not really frighten us as we thought it was just any ordinary storm. Then suddenly, there was a big BOOM so loud we thought it was a bomb and it even caused the ground to vibrate. We knew it was very close to us as it almost broke our eardrums!

The next day, lo and behold, we saw the damage created by that lightning. It burned a palm tree which is standing just 50 meters from our caravan!

burn.jpgburn2.jpg

Day 3

We are extremely lucky to be enjoying the facilities of the marina e.g. swimming pool, luxury restrooms, internet access and cricket field where we do our brisk walking exercise every morning plus the easy access to the boat, all these without really spending a fortune so we are saving money in the long term. And food is cheaper than in France. We just adore the outdoor life here and I don’t need to worry about cleaning house because I only have 5 sq meter of space to clean.

I promised to share some pics of our place and here they are:

caravann3.jpg

 caravann2.jpg
We dine 3x a day alfresco.  It’s so pleasant and there’s not much mosquitoes and flies because we’re by the sea.

caravann.jpg
Two long seats with a table, transformed into a bed at nightl. At the other end is the mini-american kitchen. Three times na nga ako nakagawa ng pizza sa oven nito!

cricket.jpg
The field where we do our morning walking exercise is just infront of our “caravan home”. The caravan in the foreground is not ours (kaya hindi kami ganyan kalapit..) Every Saturday ang cricket game dito and I just love watching these men play in their immaculate white uniform!

 caravan3.jpg

The pool where we swim every morning

nude-1.jpg
Here is a shot which would have cost me my life if someone caught me aiming my camera to the sunbathers!
This is a nudist beach.

We were taken here by friends – a couple from London who came for a week holiday to Corfu just to be with us – who stumbled upon it while doing some photographic exploration. The way to the beach is quite discreet and in order to reach it we had to walked thru a long dusty and thistle-ridden road that seems to go on and on and with the scorching sun baking us to pre-heatstroke level, I wanted so much to run back to where we left the car and drive it straight down to wherever the road ends but of course we had already tackled a couple of kilometers and my walking companions might label me solarphobic

Day 4 –

beach3.jpg

beach2.jpg

vill.jpg

Day 5 –

I am at the mercy of the marina’s internet signal which keeps on dropping every few seconds. I guess too many people using the net and the bandwidth cannot cope.

The sun is really baking hot and if not for the sea breeze, we would be roasting like barbecues! As early as 8am, it starts getting to be a burner; by midday, everyone goes to sleep or go swimming to fight off the burning heat, then by 7pm, everyone comes alive (like in Spain) because it’s cooler and very pleasant to promenade around!

There is an addition to the family since yesterday. A black labrador puppy suddenly turned up infront of the caravan. He is so cute and lovable that he is now the apple of our eyes! He slept next to my son last night and I cooked him chicken adobo with some courgettes for dinner and fried egg and bread crumbs for breakfast. We thought we should notify the marina office if someone lost a dog but nearly everyone tells us that he might have been abandoned and intentionally left in the marina because they know that foreigners staying there would love to keep dogs like Kontokali (the name of our adopted dog since the marina is in that village). We discovered that the dogs owned by the others here were also found in a rubbish bin or found loitering around! “The Greeks don’t care about dogs!” one said. Anyway, we decided to keep him until the end of our stay (end of June) and will decide then if we are going to take him with us back to France, but then, he would need an anti-rabies certificate which takes 7 weeks to release. we’ll see….

It’s our off day today as H and I are celebrating our wedding anniversary. And by “OFF”, it means no boatwork, no cooking in the caravan, just eat out and take it easy! So we had our lunch in Corfu town today, oozingly delicious stuffed tomatoes and souvlaki. The souvlaki or lamb kebab is awesome! We also spoiled ourselves with some patisserie bought from our favorite patissier of 2 years ago. Almost 4euros each but definitely a winner! And tonight, we are going to a restaurant which the patissier had recommended – “one of the best in town!” she said. We want to make it right. Don’t want to end up regretting as this is supposed to be a special day.

patisserie.jpg
Outside the shop, a signboard says:
In our most popular shop you can find a big selection of Corfu traditional sweets made without eggs, butter or milk, sugar substitute sweets made with whole, soya or oat bran flour, the best vegetarian pies, a hot cup of coffee and a big selection of herbal teas.

bike.jpg

A tall bike for a tall Greek man

garlic.jpg
A garlic truck. Walking past it at burning mid-day, we noticed it was unattended. “My chance to take a snap”, I thought. Suddenly someone moved above the garlic display. Huh! the vendor and his wife are sleeping above it!

cruise.jpg
A daily sight at the port – organized cruises bringing in hundreds of tourists to Corfu town each day!

Day 7 –

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a meteor!

What a great wedding anniversary gift from outer space! We were about to go out for our meal when this shooting star suddenly appeared from the sky. It was around 10pm and was just starting to get dark (it’s summer!). It was moving rapidly and lucky enough, I had my camera with me. For all the manual adjustments I had to do, worried crazy that I might miss it, it actually waited for me to take it! H and S (son) saw it too. And when H confirmed that it was indeed a meteor, I believed him. A Physics degree holder, he is passionate about the stars and the planets and as I said in my Greek travelogue of 2 years ago, he gives me lessons in Astronomy even in my sleep!

meteor2.jpg

meteor.jpg

———–
We love every minute of our stay in Greece! I can’t believe that we only have 2 weeks to go and back to France again! We are meeting a lot of interesting people and the way of life is so relaxed that British couples have been living in their boats here for as long as 12 years! One couple said that what they pay for a year’s mooring in the marina accounts for only their council tax in the UK! The freedom to go to places while taking your floating home with you is definitely the way for us now. We’ve met families doing it – of course there are problems along the way but it’s the freedom and adventure that we seek for. And with our 6-meter boat, small as it is, it is enough to give us a taste of that alternative lifestyle.

The problem is, instead of doing up the boat, we are so busy socializing with these sailors but their stories are so inspiring and we will definitely follow their trail. If not now, when? We have ordered new sails and the real adventure starts in 4 days when we can finally go sailing. Unfortunately, we only have one week to enjoy it as we need to go back home but we’ll return mid-August (pa-advanced ng pa-advanced!) to do a lot more and maybe, look at replacing it with a much bigger one so we could go “big-time”! I can’t wait to start living the life of a sailor-wife!

 ————

black.jpg

straw.jpg

umbrella.jpg
If you are the boss errr…bulldozer driver, you get all the benefits.

We are living like gypsies because we have been living in the caravan for the last 5 weeks. We enjoy this kind of life. So simple! It’s damn so easy to clean after meals. Huh, we are seriously thinking of living between the caravan and the boat. That way, we could be mobile, like, 3 months in Sicily, another 3 months in Sardinia, then the chance to explore all the Greek islands which is H’s main dream anyway! We don’t need to worry about paying electricity/water bills becasue everything is included in the mooring fees. As to the internet, we just have to buy a credit of 20euros per month. We can explore towns and villages thru our campervan, then go sailing with our boat.

———-
Praxit and Themis invited us for a coffee today. How nice of them to do that! We had Nescafe Fraffe (iced coffee) and a small plate of Greek adobo (according to Praxit, leftover Gyros meat of the previous day which she cooks as adobo for serving the next day! Huh, I think they have revealed to us all their business secrets! Tomorrow we are all going for a swim at Kontokali beach with their one-year old baby girl. A much-welcome respite from their 7-days-a-week toiling in the restaurant!

The sail arrived today and hopefully, we could try sailing on monday. It’s about time! Only 9 days to go.

————

Despite H’s fractured ligament, he is busy doing up the boat so we could put it back to the water on Monday and fit in the sails! Tonight, S is going to sleep at the RATS’ yacht which is now anchored off somewhere away from the marina (so they don’t need to pay another night for mooring fee). He needs to film the putting up of the sails and the sailing away of the yacht (their website is “RATS on Carina”) so he could add it to the documentary he is making. it would be a good experience for him too to live in a luxurious boat for 24 hours!
—————–

24 June
Tom met a great family (who are from France and the Philippines) walking their dog near the marina. When their son, (S), heard about our trip, he asked if he could make a documentary about us as his first assignment since leaving university. (Watch this space!!) So we have spent the last few days being interviewed and filmed (it’s been a bit like Big Brother on Carina!)We’ve also really enjoyed their company, particularly a trip into Corfu town to the market and a wonderful BBQ cooked by (H) and (mariadams) which turned musical when (H) got out his mandolin! ….http://www.ratsoncarina.co.uk/

Above is an extract from the RATS’ (Richard, Amber, Tom and Shelly) website, how nice!!

Definitely one of the best days of our Corfu holiday happened last Sunday when the RATS family invited us for a sailing trip in Corfiot waters, went for a dip in the Adriatic, explored an island reserve, taught the rudiments of sailing… They finally left yesterday and we dearly miss them already…

carina2.jpg

The boat named Carina

carina31.jpg

Shelley (50), the wife, is the real sailor here

 skipper2.jpg
Tom (11) turning crank handle to raise the sail
(Who said that only big men can do that?)

wakeboarding.jpg
We anchored off to do some swimming while Tom did wakeboarding with his father (on a RIB, rigid inflatable boat)

dive2.jpg
Amber (14) diving!

rib.jpg
This is the RIB that fetched us (H and myself) from the beach. The boat cannot dock into the beach because of its long keel. And guess who piloted this inflatable boat? Eleven year-old Tom!
rabbits.jpg
At the island reserve, we got fascinated by the rabbit population! The people at the Taverna nearby regularly feed them leftover food

pregnant.jpg
Is this rabbit pregnant or just suffering from an awful cyst in her stomach?

skull.jpg
Exploring the island is also educational. Is this the skull of a bird or a rabbit?

It’s been 3 days since the RATS left but we kept updating each other’s sailing progress. They anchored the night (a stormy one) in Petrifi (southeast of Corfu) then proceeded to Paxos the next day. They say that Paxos island is beautiful (south of Corfu), hopefully we could also sail there when we return in Aug/Sept.

We had a successful first day sailing via our own boat yesterday and wow! she moves like a rocket! It was quite windy and the speed had her leaning to almost 40degrees! What a beauty to be sailing so peacefully (without any engine noise) but too bad we only have 4 days left to our holiday, just when we are starting to enjoy her!

I told Praxit (Pinay) that you have been promoting their restaurant but instead of getting excited, nagbuntong-hininga pa, hehehe,,,which means, mas marami daw trabaho kapag mas marami’ng customer But poor Themis (Greek husband), he is so disappointed with the poor sales of the business that he has been seriously discussing with H his plan to relocate to the Phils and put up his own Greek restaurant there.

————–

garden.jpg

One summer day in paradise

corfu-1.jpg

Corfu town, seen from the water

basil.jpg

Different varieties of Basil

—————

27 June
watergliding.jpg
Went boating again today (i.e., without raising the sails) and anchored off at a nearby bay to have a picnic on board. Saw this parasailing couple gliding by. Not too far away is a Coast Guard’s boat, with guns on stand by, moored infront of a hotel where a Nato meeting of ministers will be held tomorrow. We are going on a day sailing tomorrow and looking forward to seeing more gunboats like the one today patrolling the area!
coastguard.jpg

I told you about the coast guard gunboats the other day guarding the waterfront of the hotel where Nato ministers were supposed to have a meeting. Here are more of them on the last day of the meeting which was yesterday:

29 June
well, dear friends, it is time to say goodbye (temporarily) to beloved Corfu. “Temporarily” because we are definitely coming back here in September to do yet more sailing! Just when we are starting to enjoy our boat being pushed by the power of the wind, the weather hasn’t been ideal…it was raining for the last few days !

Well, we did a bit yesterday with now close friends (and maybe soon to be business partners!) Praxie and Themis!

Here is a quick peek of our boat with her sails up:

saiing2.jpg

saiing3.jpg

Kontokali’s fiesta

There is a festive atmosphere outside the marina tonight. It’s the feast of Kontokali’s patron saint. Checking it out at 10pm, we noticed their two churches all lit up and crowded with devotees. People were out on the streets, a concert was going on, some were dancing the Greek traditional dance and the aroma of roast wafts in the air.

Here are the pictures:

fiesta.jpg

fiesta2.jpg

fiesta3.jpg

fiesta4.jpg

fiesta5.jpg

fiesta6.jpg

Taking the boat out of the water

Our humble boat has been in Corfiot waters for the last two years, unattended, and we needed to take it out of the water for some rubbing down, repainting and doing bits of repairs. So yesterday was the d-day..kind of a repeat of the scene two years ago (if you want to know more about that story, pls refer to An Epic Journey

raising_boat2.jpg
Strapping the boat, ready for lifting

raising_boat3.jpg
A coral system would have easily built up at the bottom if we left it for 2 more years

raising_boat4.jpg
Getting lifted by a crane

raising_boat9.jpg
Going to the boatyard for some repair/repainting works.
Oh, by the way, that’s the British car we bought at eBay! The boat is too heavy so the car’s backside is almost touching the ground!

celebrationa.jpg
The lifting out was a success that we had to celebrate by having fish barbecue for lunch! and of course, some grilled Corfiot vegetables

Temploni

Just 20 minute drive from the marina, we went out to search for this place but it was so hidden that we didn’t realize we drove past it. Buti na lang at nagpumilit ako’ng balikan namin and it was all worth the try! Accdg to some forums, this village has 6 houses, 1 taverna and a church.

temploni6.jpg

temploni5.jpg

temploni2.jpg

As soon as we arrived, we heard the church bells chiming. How lovely for the priest to actually pull the bell ropes himself. In our village in France, I have a feeling that the chiming is recorded.

temploni3.jpgtemploni7.jpg
This grapevine has invaded the steps of this house

temploni8.jpg
and its branches have crawled around this giant olive tree

temploni4.jpg

Imagine yourself putting up a taverna in a village comprising only of 6houses. The proprietor of this establishment is surely a risk-taker. It seems to have closed down as there is no more sign saying it’s a taverna. He probably just reverted it back to a house.