Prince Phil Waz Here

It took us a couple of hours to do the 15nm across from the top of Paxos to the small fishing harbour of Petriti on the east coast of Corfu. We decided to split our time between Petriti and Corfu town to make sure we saw as much of Corfu as we could. Petriki is the last of the real fishing harbours in Corfu and most of the restaurants come down here to buy their fish.

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There’s not a lot of free spots on the wall but we managed to arrive just as a couple of yachts were departing so we dropped our anchor and backed up to the wall.

We found a number for a rental car and organized a car for 2 days. We concentrated on the southern half for the first day, visiting a few resort towns on the southern tip, before heading up to Achilleion, an imposing Neoclassical villa built for Empress Elizabeth of Austria. No expense was spared on either the inside or the outside gardens with its impressive statues. Something different from the usual Greek Island sightseeing.

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We then headed off to Pelekas, which is a mountain village with great views from a high. Our last stop of the day was Corfu Town, where we checked out the berthing options. Both the Noak Yacht Club and Mandraki had plenty of paid berths available. We stop and chatted with some Australian yachties in Mandraki. One of which turned out to be Andrea (along with hubbie Ian), my PE Teacher from Bunbury High School, way back in the seventies. It’s a small world. Anyway one drink turned into five as we picked Merv and Judy’s brains about Albania, where they had just spent a couple of months. Drove home very carefully that night.

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Day 2 of our Tour de Corfu saw us head north on a stunning mountainous coastal drive. Well it would have been stunning if we could have seen anything through the rain and low cloud. The drive is noted for its great views of Albania – it was out there somewhere.

The weather started to clear (a bit) as we wove our way down to Agios Georgios, a spectacular little beachside town with a monastery on a prominent headland that splits the town into two large bays with lots of nice swimming spots scattered around. Dee was here years ago and managed to find some nice beaches when her and her niece found some nice local boys with a boat.

Next day we did the short hop up to Corfu Town. We pulled up the anchor to find a steel cable on the end of it. No way could we shake that off so out came the grappling hook. We hooked the grappling hook on the cable and got the anchor free only to see that I’d managed to wrap the loose end of the rope I’d tied to the grappling hook around the anchor winch mangled in with the anchor chain. It was going to be that sort of Frank Spencer morning – it was in fact May 13th. So now we had La Mischief attached to a steel chain by a flimsy grappling hook that we couldn’t dislodge until we got the rope free from the anchor winch. We managed to loosen the anchor winch and unwind the chain enough to get the rope free. That still didn’t help get the grappling hook off the steel cable – we needed a trip line on the grappling hook. Reminder for next time. However the good news was it was only a couple of metres deep so it was a simple matter to throw Dee over the side and get her to dive down and free the hook. Nothing like an early morning swim.

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In our travels to Corfu Town, we’d spotted 15 or so yachts in the beginnings of a new marina being built just south of the old port. We talked to a couple of yachts and they said it was free so that’s where we headed.

We tied up and hit the old town. Corfu has two forts, a new fort and old fort. The new fort was just behind where we parked the boat. It was free and we spent half an hour clambering around it. From there we wandered into the old town, with its myriad of walking streets. It was nice to wander through. We finished up at the Esplanade that runs along the front of the Old Town. Along the way we past a cricket pitch, the legacy of being a British outpost.

The old fort is the highlight of Corfu. Its separated from the Esplanade by a canal, sitting on a rocky promenade that juts out into the sea. It dates back to the middle ages, with lots of Venetian and British add ons around the extensive outcrop.

Ancient fortress done, we set off on foot to Kanoni, 4kms out of town. Along the way we came across a plaque saying Prince Phillip was born here in 1923. Mum will be pleased given she delighted in telling me all about the Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations.

Kanoni had good views across to Mouse Island, the 17th century monastery of Vlaherna, and the Airport. We climbed down to the beach and checked out one of the big hotels before hopping on a local bus back to Corfu Town.

Back at the boat, we decided to cook dinner before heading off to enjoy our last bit of Greece with a nighttime walk through the old town. This was not to be as the Port Police had decided Friday night at 6pm was a good time to come around and kick everyone out of the half complete marina. Bummer.

We ended going around to the new port where customs were. We found a berth out of the way from all the ferries and completed our check out from Greece.

Our impressions of Corfu were that it was a little bit over hyped – nice island but must be getting picky given all the other Greek islands we’ve been to.

Then it was off to Albania at 5am the next morning.

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