Grecian Escape

We arrived in Greece cheering with whoops of joy and relief, so happy they let us out of Albania without proper paperwork.

This lack of adequate documentation was not our fault. We have the naughty, naughty rental car company to thank for that. Those charming folks who thought it would be perfectly fine to send us on a road trip through the Balkans with only a COPY instead of the ORIGINAL documents. Yeesh. Needless to say, each entry and exit of places like Bosnia, Croatia, Montenegro and Albania, were fraught with anxiety, irate border guards and visions of Third World prison cells. :-)

It was a grueling yet exhilarating trip through Albania. Nine hours over the worst roads we'd ever seen, through achingly beautiful countryside with people who looked like they'd stepped right out of an Old World painting.

 One of the "roads" we traversed. Seriously. The rocky part, not the concrete bit.

We were scared and awed and loved every moment of it, but didn't realize how grateful we were for "civilization" until we arrived in Greece and suddenly we had GPS (yeah, we went through Albania with an inaccurate, indecipherable map the size of a small car :-)), cell phone coverage and even the occasional English-speaker. :-)

We arrived just before dark, settled our jostled bodies with a frosty bottle of Mythos and a lovely Greek pita filled with greens, chicken, tzaziki and, of all things, French Fries. Then we boarded our ferry to Corfu, finding seats on the top deck so we could soak in the sunset over the ocean.

The gorgeous view, cool sea breezes and gentle rocking of the ferry dissolved the last of our stress and we arrived in Corfu ready to start the next phase of our adventure. We had chosen our hotel online, expecting little for $12/person. Imagine our surprise when we woke the next morning to find THIS!

We couldn't believe it! :-) To top it off, all our rooms overlooked the sea AND the $12/night included breakfast every morning. Not just any breakfast either, we're talking the whole nine yards: juices, coffees, pastries, sausages, eggs, casseroles, sliced tomatoes and cucumbers, spanikopita, fresh bread and butter, cereal. Oooee! We were thrilled. :-)

Our first morning we spent by the pool, soaking up sunshine, reading books, falling asleep, recuperating from 8 days of cross-country driving. Mid-day we dined poolside on Souvlaki, French Fries and sparkling water.

Finally we dragged our groggy selves away from the pool, got dressed and went to...Starbucks. :-) Yes, I know you're "supposed" to only do local, native things when you travel, but every once in a while it's such a comfort to duck into a place that "feels" like home. If home had everything written in Greek. :-) Besides, this particular Starbucks had a view to die for and was right above a little church we wanted to explore and an island we wanted to visit. So off we went, touristy as can be, not caring in the slightest. :-)

Refreshed by cold drinks and ocean breezes, we hiked down the hill to the church shown above. It is a tidy little place, white-washed and weathered, with a teensy courtyard inhabited by pots of flowers and a slumbering dog.

It is my personal policy that whenever traveling, if there is a boat ride available, I will take it! :-) Particularly when the captain is a scruffy local with weathered skin and a battered hat. It simply must be done. :-) Thankfully my travel companions were of the same mind and we all piled on board: Ben, Ry, Trish, Viss, Stace, Nat and me.

Content with a boat trip out to Mouse Island, my cup of joy overflowed when the captain offered me the wheel. WOOHOOHOO!! :-)

Mouse Island is a quiet, secluded place, peaceful and serene dotted with trees, ringed with craggy boulders and fields of grasses, with a white church perched atop a hill.

After trekking about the island for a while, balancing on stone walls, dipping our fingers in the water, we rode back to shore.

We drove back through town, past an old fort we knew we'd have to explore the next day.

We found a little restaurant recommended by a local (Ry's surefire trick to always eating well in foreign countries), enjoying the setting sun as we dug into fresh bread with marinated olives and tomatoes, tender calamari with lemon, Greek salad topped with thick slabs of feta, fresh grilled fish (Ben and Ry even got to pick our their own fish!), and linguini with prawns.

At last we drove home under a pearly sky and fell fast asleep.


  1. I miss Greece! I even miss bumping along in Albania, but this time, we must have the right paperwork or I'm not going again. :)

    Wonderful recap! Let's do it again SOON! 12/night! You can't beat it!

  2. Thanks for sharing your adventures in Greece with us! I love the photos, too, but I'm left with a burning desire to know where you stayed in Corfu. At $12/night, there's no longer a reason to keep putting it off...

  3. Me too, Trish!!! I think we'll all be huddled around that rental car counter DEMANDING original copies! :-)


    We booked the Pantokrator Hotel through hostelbookers.com; though the hotel's website is probably just as good.

    Property Name: Pantokrator Hotel
    Address: Corfu Island, Corfu Island, 49083, Greece
    Telephone: +30 26630 91005
    Email: res@pantokratorhotel.com
    Website: http://www.pantokratorhotel.com
    Pantokrator hotel is situated next to Barbati village located 19km from Corfu International Airport and 18 km from Corfu town and port.You must use taxi (about 20 euros) from airport/port to hotel or local bus (The bus station is 200m from the port and about 4km from the airport and do not exist all the year frequent buses for Barbati).

  5. Soooo beautiful. You make me want to be a full-time traveler. Is that an option? I'd be all over that job! ;-)

  6. Oh man, Lauryl, I'd love that too!! Working towards it - searching out possibilities - we'll see what happens. :-) You could be a travel photographer!!! :-)

  7. I'm mesmerized by the food, of course. :)

  8. Of course you are, Amuse! :-) It was heavenly :-)

  9. Long drives....delicious food recommended by locals-yeah a sure fire way to great flavours in local food-beautiful locales and the golden setting sun...could it get any better...yeah it could if u read rambling tarts travel tales.....

  10. Thank you for the info on the hotel! And if there were such a book as "Rambling Tart's Travel Tales", it would be tucked in my carryon...

  11. Oh dear Vanilla, thank you. :-) You always, ALWAYS make me smile. :-)

  12. Thank you, Frugal! :-) So glad you like it. :-)

  13. You are very welcome, Maureen! I hope you have a wonderful time. :-)

    Thank you :-) Maybe one day there will be? :-)

  14. I can taste the olives and the sunshine from here.