No fewer than four huge cruise ships, plus one smaller Greek cruiser, pulled into Corfu in the morning. Each disgorged its entire paying population almost simultaneously. Marching alongside the throngs of four ships for half-kilometer walk down the dock, we met our buses that would take us into the ancient town. For some reason, the Norwegian Star ship’s buses were much closer than those for all the other boats. We kept walking to ours.
Corfu is a larger city, so it is able to absorb the teeming masses from the cruise ships more easily. For us, this was the perfect place to buy tickets on the local HoHo for a quick roundabout tour of the town. Instead of the customary red bus HoHo, I chose the local Corfu City Tour, which offered a smaller, single deck open bus that would fit through Corfu’s narrow winding streets more comfortably. Massive double-decker buses overwhelm these little towns and their ancient streets that were designed for horses not mega buses.
We boarded our bus, fumbled with the language choices of the narrative, and started our tour—which took us exactly back to the port where we had started. At that point, we were instructed to get off the small bus and board the big bus, which by now was completely full. I complained that this is exactly what I did not want, that they had just wasted my time by taking us back to where we had started and making us ride on the lower inside level of a bus I didn’t choose.
The attendant listened patiently to my complaints, then directed me to the big bus, saying there was nothing to be done. I was pissed, to be polite.
The big bus took us to the large green space that the Venetians had cleared out some 500 years ago (at the expense of more than 1,000 homes), where we alighted from the large bus and waited for the small bus to come back. At least we could get half our tour on a reasonably sized vehicle.
Corfu can be toured in less than an hour. We returned to our origin and gladly departed the cursed Corfu City Tour bus to explore the streets of the village. By now it was late morning, time for a refreshing beer at an outdoor café shaded by smallish trees. The local beer is quite tasty, so refreshed, we embarked on further explorations around the colorful streets.
Corfu’s tourist streets present a panorama of clothing, leather goods, cafes, tourist trinkets and art. Lynn was in search of a blouse to complement her travel wardrobe, unable to find just what she wanted in Nice or any of the Greek islands we have visited. But lo, there it was in a little Corfu shop—and very reasonably priced at that at only 18 euros.
Delighted with her purchase, Lynn’s lunch appetite beckoned, so we started paying attention to the menus on display along the streets. Remember our rules—no photos of the dishes, no waiter hawking outside. One more rule is to move at least one block off the main square/street/boulevard tourist area. The food will be more authentic, the prices lower, the service more attentive. Our chosen establishment proved this true once again.
The best name of the restaurant I can transliterate is Tsinoyradiko. We were offered a table by an old gentleman who appeared to be the owner, then waited on by a young, very pretty Greek girl who appeared to be the owner’s granddaughter (maybe daughter—I shouldn’t prejudge).
The menu was extensive, impressive and inexpensive. Lynn chose an order of tzatziki and feta cheese with peppers and tomatoes “from the oven,” according to the menu description. I chose the sausage in red sauce, which I thought might resemble one of our favorite dishes in Barcelona. It did, though in a different type of sausage.
The wine was their house dry red, and I ordered a 50 cl, a pichet in France. Here in Corfu, it came out in a little metal pitcher. For red wine, this was the lightest color we had ever seen, But it was quite good, and the owner toasted me with his own jelly jar sized glass of the same juice.
The food was a delicious as the wine. We waddled out for another walk around the small town, then to the square to board the bus that would take us back to the Queen Victoria.
Back aboard, we lounged around with cocktails and wine, then decided to forego the more formal Britannia restaurant for the informal Lido buffet. Problem is, we are assigned to the later seating at 8:30 p.m. in the Britannia, which means we don’t finish dinner until 10 p.m. or later. At the Lido, we can eat on our own schedule from a most diverse selection. Lynn had a yen for pasta (sorry for the mixed ethnic metaphors), and I sampled the Indian cuisine that was the featured menu. The Lido offers a wine list as well, so we did not go dry through dinner, ate well and walked out at a more reasonable 9 p.m.
Life is good aboard the good ship Queen Victoria, as we expand our options. It was an early night, as we needed to be up relatively early for the next day and a tour of Cefalonia, our short sail of some 125 miles away.