The Journey to and Time in Corfu!
May 24th to 28th
Well, as I said in my last blog about Rome, Lauren, Ryan, Meghan and I all were in Rome together, and we decided to go to Corfu together for a couple days. But when we were trying to figure out the ferry schedules to get us to Corfu, we couldn't really find the times very easily, and we were not really sure what day we would make it to Corfu. Meghan and I also had a place to stay in Santorini booked for the 28th of May that we had to keep in mind too. We decided it would be best to make it to Bari on the east coast of Italy and to figure out the ferry to Greece once we got there. We weren't going to bother booking a place to stay in Corfu until we knew which day we would arrive.
Lauren and Ryan took an afternoon train to Bari and spent the night there. Meghan and I, though, decided to take a train that left at midnight and to just sleep on the train. This way we wouldn't have to pay for a hostel for the night and it was cheaper than other trains. So at midnight on the 24th, Meghan and I hopped on our train to Bari.
We arrived at Bari around 6:30 the next morning. We were not sure how early the ferries went (we had found somewhere that said a ferry went in the evening to Greece but we hoped there may be an earlier one) and so we had arranged to meet Ryan and Lauren at the train station in the morning. That way we could all head over to the port together and book our ferry tickets, and if lucky find a ferry that left early. I had emailed the ferry company about how to get to Santorini from Italy and they har said there was a 7:30 am ferry to one of the ports in Greece, so we thought maybe we would be able to catch that one over. But to get to the port, we decided to catch a bus from the train station, otherwise we were not going to have time to walk there with our bags. As it turned out though, the soonest bus to the port wasn't until 7:25. So much for that plan! We decided to hop on that bus anyways, go to the port, book our tickets and see where we could go from there. When we got to the port, though, everything was still closed. We had to wait an hour and a bit for the ticket desk to open. An hour later, with tickets in hand for our ferry to Greece that left at 8:00 that evening, we left our luggage at the port and went off to find the beach in Bari and explore the town a bit.
We stayed at the beach in Bari for a while, soaking up the sun and enjoying the water, and after we had been there for a couple hours, we decided to head off in search of food and an Internet connection. We had yet to book our hostel for Corfu, and we found out we could get there the next day, so we had to book a place for that night. We managed to find both - food at a cheap little restaurant downtown, and an Internet connection that we could steal while sitting in a little square. Lauren and Ryan had heard about this place called The Pink Palace and that it was a great place to stat in Corfu, so we decided to go there. They booked four nights and Meghan and I just booked one. We still had to make it to Santorini and didn't think we would have time to stay two nights in Corfu. But it sounded fun in Corfu so we figured we should go at least for one night!
With bellies full and hostel booked, we wandered around Bari for a while longer then headed back to the Port to board the ferry. Along the way, we stopped for some gelati and to pick up a bottle of wine for the ferry ride. (Have to kill time on a ferry somehow!) At the port, there is supposed to be a security check (they had the scanners for bags and whatnot) and should check passports, but the security guys didn't even glance at our stuff and just waved us right on through. Great security there, Bari!
For the next ten hours we sat/drank wine and played cards/slept on the ferry. We were lucky - we had deck tickets but since the airplane-style seats don't really fill up, they let us sit in those seats. Much more comfortable than trying to sleep in the lounge or on the deck seats! At 6:30 the next morning we arrived in Igoumenitsa, and had to take another ferry over to Corfu. Once again, he ticket offices were not yet open and we had to wait a while. Finally, though, we made it to Corfu! Once arriving there, we called our hostel to come pick us up since they had free transportation from the port. The drive to where we stayed, which was on the west side of the island, was gorgeous!!! We all stared out the window with our jaws dropped. It was so green and had mountains and was amazing!
When we got to the hostel to check in, it immediately sounded like a fun place to be! Our hostel had breakfast and dinner included, happy hour, and daily excursions. It sounded like a blast. And they had a bus that went to Athens every few days too, which was really convenient for anyone trying to get to another island after, like Meghan and I. Only problem was the bus was a day later than we needed it for, but once we had heard about it we decided it would be much easier to stay another night in Corfu and take the Pink Palace's bus to Athens than to try figure everything out ourselves. We decided to try change our reservation for Santorini and push it back a night. Luckily for us, we were able to do so and got to spend two nights in Corfu. Things just have a way of working out sometimes. Hmm... We will look at that. We get to Split in the morning so I think we will spend tomorrow night there and then meet up with you on Friday.
Once we were checked into our room, we hit up the beach for the rest of the afternoon, until we figured it was time to get cleaned up for happy hour and dinner. The evening consisted of happy hour, which was from 6:00 til 8:00 every evening, and dinner at 8:30. The Pink Palace has a good thing going there - the happy hour and included dinner really bring lots of people together so you get to know a bunch of people fast. Tons of fun! After dinner, more socializing! It really is a big party place there (one review I read about it said 'No morals'... You get the idea...) and people party late, but the four of us didn't stay up too too late as we were tired from not having the best sleep ever on the ferry the nifty before nor on the train the night before. There was always the next night to party!
Our second day in Corfu was spent kayaking. The excursion for that day was sea kayaking, and they took us out to a little monastery on a tiny little island, time at a beach and cliff jumping. It started off a beautiful day, but towards the end of the trip it started getting really cloudy. Storm clouds. Not just little rain clouds. This was as we were going to do the cliff jumping. Benji, our Australian kayaking leader, told us just to jump then swim back to our kayaks and get ready to go! No time for dilly-dallying with those clouds at the rate they were moving in. So those of us who jumped did so quickly and then we headed back to the hostel. As we were paddling back it started lightning and thundering, then came the rain! It started raining so hard that Meghan put her sunglasses on to stop the rain from hitting her eyes so she could see better. My hat was helping block the rain from my face a bit which was good. It also got pretty hard to paddle. At one point, Benji decided it was safest to beach the kayaks and to walk back to town. Didn't want to risk anyone flipping their kayaks or anything like that. Just as we were all stashing the kayaks, the rain let up. In the end, all of us except for four people, decided to chance it and keep kayaking back. If it started raining again, we could not possibly get any more wet anyways, and we could always beach the kayaks further down the beach if we had to. But we made it back without anymore rain. Despite the rain, it was a fantastic afternoon! In my opinion, the rain even added a different element of fun to it! Not only did we get to go kayaking and see Corfu from a different perspective, we also met more really cool people who were staying at the hostel too.
That evening was basically the same as the last... Happy hour, dinner and more socializing. Only we weren't in bed quite so early that night!
Meghan's and my last day was spent mostly relaxing on the beach. We took it pretty easy that day, and took a stroll through town with Lauren and Ryan. The bus from the hostel to Athens went in the evening so we were able to have a last drink during happy hour with some of our new found friends before off we went.
Next we were Santorini bound!