Tuesday, April 26, 2016

April 25th – A Lazy Afternoon in Corfu

Having given my 51st and final lecture of this World Cruise this morning, I was feeling a little lazy by the time we got to Corfu for the afternoon. Fortunately, this beautiful Greek island is one that we've visited quite a few times before, so we didn't have to run around ticking off sights.

Plus, Corfu Town is the relaxed kind of place where doing nothing seems to be a very popular activity. So, we joined the huge crowds of people on the Liston (a Parisian-style arcade erected by the French in their brief stay here at the start of the 19th century), enjoying a drink at one of the many pavement cafes. I have no idea why so many people were sitting around drinking rather than working on a Monday afternoon – surely not everyone was celebrating the end of a 4-month-long lecture series?

So, having enjoyed my hour of laziness, it was time for the day job (being a tourist!), so we got back into sightseeing mode and explored some more of this attractive town. As in Chania the day before, the chief joy of Corfu Town is its eclectic mix of architectural styles from the different rulers who have occupied the island. Aside from its French arcades, we saw an English village green (complete with cricket pitch and bandstand), Byzantine fortresses, and a large collection of Italian style houses and piazzas that betrayed the fact that Venice (and subsequently Italy) were in charge for long periods here.

The international mix has been added to by the tourist industry, as the island has become extremely popular with northern Europeans in search of sun and fun, and particularly Russians, who revere the local Saint, St Spiridon.

This alluring Greek island has been attracting foreigners for centuries, and when you spend some time here, it's not difficult to see why.