Corfu was our first stop in Greece on our Mediterranean cruise. We didn’t sign up for any excursions, but we really should have! We pretty much just walked around the city, which was packed with small shops and peddlers (is that even an appropriate modern-day term?). Wear dark sunglasses, or if they catch you looking they’ll be all over you to buy something. There was a lot of beautiful silver jewelry available–I even bought a necklace with a traditional Greek design, but I was so uncomfortable bartering! (Which is odd since I have no problem with it when buying purses on Canal Street in New York!). A lot of what was available was typical tourist fare, but you gotta wonder what they think American tourists must be after–there were A LOT of raunchy souvenirs–right out in the street for kids to see! Beer bottle openers shaped like mens’ private parts, shirts with cartoons and sayings that made me blush (especially when traveling with my parents and my boyfriend’s family), and more unspeakables. I’m no prude, but I certainly hope most American travelers in Corfu are just as disgusted by this stuff! At least in America that stuff would be kept at the back of a Spencer’s store!
We did, however, have a lovely traditional Greek lunch at a cute little cafe (sensing a theme here? Cute cafes are everywhere). I’d been waiting a long time to try an authentic Greek gyro! It was delicious–though I think I still like the gyros I can get a mile away from my house is Phoenix a whole lot better!
If I were to go to Corfu again, I’d definitely do my research ahead of time to find some cultural event or something.
A little history: The legendary “island of the Phaecians” (The Odyssey by Homer), mountainous Corfu is names for the nymph Kerkira (daughter of the river Assopos). Much Corfu architecture is Venetian-, French-, or British-influenced, rather than the iconic white-washed buildings and blue domes (which you’ll see in a later post).
Fun facts: In Corfu (also known as Kerkira), it is rude to wave open-palmed. Also, a traditional Greek proposal method calls for tossing an apple to one’s intended bride (no apples were tossed to me during our trip).