Day 14: Sami to Corfu

Plan for the day

Based on our original plan we should have been in Levkas Town or Preveza City this morning where we would start our drive toward Igoumenitsa port. At the port we would board a car ferry that would bring us to Corfu, another Ionian Island, by around 1pm. There after we would spend the rest of the day and night in Corfu.

Contessina in Sami, Kefalonia

Contessina in Sami, Kefalonia

Due to the cancellation of ferry route between Fiskardo and Vasiliki without notice, we were forced to stay another night in Kefalonia so were unable to travel up to Levkas Town or Preveza City last evening.

To catch up for the lost time, our revised plan for the day was to start at Sami Port at the beginning of the day and to reach Corfu before the end of the day. The first part of the journey would be a ferry trip between Sami and Vassiliki, then a 152 km of drive to Igoumentisa Port and lastly a ferry trip to Corfu. We hoped to be in Corfu by the evening.

 

Breakfast at Sami Port

We went back to the same bakery shop where we had our breakfast the day before. The owner told us that the locals’ favourite was homemake spinach pie. As we did not manage to eat spinach pie during the previous visit, we wanted to try it during this visit. Unfortunately we were too early as the pies had yet to be delivered to the bakery. We ordered and ate other pastries but left our tummy half full so as to have space for the soon to be delivered spinach pies.

Yes! We finally got to eat the spinach pies. My friends liked it very much as for me and my hubby we found it was just okay, not fantastic and a bit on the bland side.

Sami Port

Sami Port

The car ferry came punctually at 10.00 am. After the car was parked and secured in the ferry, we all went up to the upper passenger deck. This was already our third car ferry trip so we were pretty familiar with the ferry layout and what we should do to pass time. We pulled out a big bag of potato chips and enjoyed them over cups of cafe latte that we bought from the ferry cafeteria. There was usually at least one cafeteria in the ferry that served a limited variety of tidbits and drinks. The cost of a latte was €3 a reasonable price but quality wise not very good.

Our final destination for the day was Corfu another Greek island but there was no ferry route between Sami and Corfu. So the next best option was to sail to Lefkada. Lefkada is the fourth largest Greek island after Kefalonia, Zaknythos and Corfu. The island was separated from the mainland by a narrow canal of about 50 meters wide and a bridge connects Lefkada and the mainland.

The ferry trip was about one an a half hour so by the time we reached Vasiliki, a port at the southern tip of Lefkada it was about 11.30 am. It took about 1 hour to drive from the south of Lefkada to Levkas town which was at the north end of Lefkada. There were probably many nice places in Lefkada but we did not make any stop till we were at Levkas town where we stopped for lunch.

 

Lunch at Levkas Town

Levkas Town is the capital of Lefkada Island, it was situated on the north east coast, where the island was joined to the mainland by a causeway and a 50 meter swing bridge.

Yupo Yupo (coordinates: 38.832663, 20.710029)

Yupo Yupo (coordinates: 38.832663, 20.710029)

We drove past the marina looking for a place to stop for lunch. There were many restaurants along the main road that was next to the harbour promenade.

We stopped at Yupo Yupo a small shop with a signboard stating “Best Pita Gryos in Town”. We did not know which restaurant was good so any pick would be as good a pick. “Best Pita Gryos” sounded good enough for us and we were too hungry to be picky.

We did not ate our lunch in the shop but sat at its outdoor tables that were placed on the promenade directly opposite the shop. From our table we had a great view of the marina and the boats and yachts parked by the dock. It was a pleasant day full of sunshine.

The food was great, in one plate there were everything, pita, meat, potato chips, salad. The grilled meat was very tasty and I would love to have more. Regretfully I was sharing the meal with my hubby as a light meal was kinder on our stomachs for a long drive ahead.

Lunch at Yupo Yupo

Lunch at Yupo Yupo

After the meal we were back in our car, heading out of Levkas town. Immediately after the town, the road led us onto a causeway with water on both sides. We drove across the 50 metre floating swing bridge that connected Levkas to the mainland. After the bridge was another long causeway. Shortly into the causeway we came upon a group of flamingos feeding in the water. Apparently this bay is the feeding ground of a huge flock of flamingos in winter.
Flamingo feeding ground in Winter (Co-ordinates 38.844852, 20.728465)

Flamingo feeding ground in Winter (Co-ordinates 38.844852, 20.728465)

On the ferry to Corfu

 Finally after driving for about two hours we reached Igoumenitsa Port. We boarded the 5.30 pm car ferry and was on our way to Kerkyra Port in Corfu. To me its seemed that our sightseeing day had just begun. For the whole day since the morning we were just moving from one place to the next, getting closer to Corfu. We only stop once and that was for lunch, the journey was long and boring as we could not afford to detour for any sightseeing. We needed to be in Corfu this evening as I had already booked two rooms in a Hotel on Corfu months ahead. No show at the hotel meant total forfeiture of one night of room charges for both rooms.

The ferry trip to Kerkyra Port was one and a half hour and coincidentally by the time the ferry was approaching Kerkyra the sun was setting. The view at the upper deck of the ferry was breathtaking. The sea and the sky were beautifully golden absolutely stunning.

Sunset over the Old Fortress of Corfu

Sunset over the Old Fortress of Corfu

Corfu

Once our ferry docked at Kerkyra we drove into the old town. Our first destination was Liston. Liston was a large colonnade building. It was built in 1807 by the French and its architecture was from Napoleonic period.

Old Fortress

Old Fortress

Corfu, was the second largest of the Ionian island. Unlike the rest of Greece, it never fell under Ottoman oppression. It was ruled by the Venetians, the French and the British in succession over the the centuries and they greatly influenced the architectural style of Corfu town.

It was not easy to find a free parking space in the old town as the place was very very crowded with people and vehicles. It could be crowded because it was a Friday evening and everybody was out to party. By the time we parked and made our way to Liston, it was just nice that the sun had set and the sky was turning dark blue forming a beautiful backdrop for Liston.

Liston of Corfu (Co-ordinates: 39.624157, 19.923886)

Liston of Corfu (Co-ordinates: 39.624157, 19.923886)

A wide esplanade ran down the entire length of the Liston, on the other side of the esplanade were row of trees packed with tables, chairs and diners below these trees. Liston itself also housed many cafes and restaurants and every table was packed with diners. It was a good thing that the esplanade walkway was not cluttered at all which allowed us to see the beautiful vaulted galleries, archways and hanging lanterns of the Liston with no obstruction.

Liston of Corfu

Liston of Corfu

Going up to the New Fortress in the Evening

I had seen many photographs of the night scene of Corfu old town with the old fortress in the background. These photographs were taken from the high ground of the new fortress. The night scene would be very beautiful and I couldn’t wait to see it too. For that we had to get into the ground of the new fortress ground. We walked along the lane that led uphill to the new fortress, on the way we checked with a passerby about the new fortress and she told us that a Cafe cum Pub was operating in the ground of the new fortress. Unfortunately the path to entrance of the new fortress was barricaded by a locked big iron gate. There was a sign board indicating that the Cafe cum Pub would start business again at 12 midnight. I was very disappointed and we turned back and left.

Corfu old town was very vibrant and full of lives at night. Shops, cafe, restaurants and pubs were everywhere and the place was packed with people and the mood was very festive. Corfu was definitely the most crowded town that we had experienced since the start of our tour in Greece.

Cobbled streets in the Old town

Cobbled streets in the Old town

It was a good thing that some of the streets were closed to traffic making it safer to walk on the roads without worrying about cars. The old town was a labyrinth of streets and alleys, many of these side alleys looked very quaint and interesting but we did not explore them because it was late and those alleys looked too quiet. We would come back to explore them the next day, as for this evening we would stay on the more crowded streets and looked for place for a nice dinner.

We came to a restaurant called Vios which looked rather interesting. It had pretty modern decoration. There was no empty table inside Vios so we had to sit at its outdoor area. Though the outdoor area was noisy it was also more entertaining as we got a good view of the action on the streets.

Dinner at Vios in the Old Town

Dinner at Vios in the Old Town

My husband and I ordered a pork dish and a salad to share between two of us. Surprisingly the food tasted very good. They were not typical traditional greek food, more like a modern fusion of Greek food. Very delicious and satisfying.
Checking in Aquis Mon Repos Palace Hotel

I had booked two twin rooms at Aquis Mon Repos Palace Hotel two months ahead of our travel. The room charges were €68 per room which included buffet breakfast. The room rates were twice the amount we had paid for other accommodations.

I had selected this hotel because it was close to the old town but not in the old town as I preferred to stay away from the clutter old town. This hotel was by the sea and on checking google map at street level I was comfortable with its vicinity.

On arriving at the hotel I found it better than my expectation. The rooms were also luxurious, comfortable and cosy. Definitely well worth the higher amount we had paid.
Our room and the hotel pool

Our room and the hotel pool

Night Scenery

It was around 10.00 pm when we finally settled into our room. I was unwilling to call it a day so my husband and I took a late night walk outside of hotel. We walked down the road toward the beach which was just a short distance away. There were two or three restaurants along the beach front still open for business. We walked along the tiled pavement just beside the road that ran along the coastline of the bay. It was quiet and there were nobody but us, the whole place was very well lighted and it felt very safe.

We were at one end of the bay and the Old Fortress was at the other end on a high rock. It was lighted and looked awesome. Rather than looking at the fortress from afar we decided we might as well take the car out for a spin near the Old Fortress.

Corfu Old Fortress

Corfu Old Fortress

The Old Fortress was near the the old town, so our drive took us back to the old town again back to the esplanade that ran between the old town and the old fortress. This round we were at the other end of the esplanade and we saw a quiet Liston from the other end.

Liston late at Night

Liston late at Night

It was late and the crowd that we saw earlier in the evening was gone. With the crowd gone it was easier to appreciate the buildings in the old town. We spotted several buildings that we did not notice earlier.

We were walking along the esplanade when the beautifully lighted St Spyridonas Church caught our attention, it was situated deep in a side alley and we would not have noticed it if not for its red dome roof and golden clock face bell tower.

St. Spyridonas Church

St. Spyridonas Church

The next majestic building we saw at the esplanade was the Royal Palace also called the Palace of Saints Michael and George. This palace was built between 1814 -24 when Corfu was under the British rule. The palace complex consisted of a main building and two symmetrically placed wings from both sides of it. In front of the palace was the brass statue of Lord Frederick-Adam, a well known English Commissioner who contributed greatly to the development of Corfu. Today the palace was used as an Museum.

Royal Palace of Corfu (St Michele & St Giorgio Palace)

Royal Palace of Corfu (St Michele & St Giorgio Palace)

I was glad that we made this late night exploration as we saw several beautiful historical monuments that we had missed out earlier because of the crowd.
It was already past midnight and I did wonder if we should go up to the New Fortress to view Corfu City from the top. Unfortunately the idea of walking up the dark lane to the New Fortress and into a midnight Pub did not seem appealing so we dropped the idea and went back to our hotel.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.