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CORFU - the Queen of the Ionian Islands

November 13, 2020

While thinking about the upcoming winter and the next possible lockdown, we decided, at the last minute, to get out of cold, wet, and windy England to experience the last warm rays of sunshine. We also had to recharge the batteries after a terribly busy three months spent mainly on planning, creating, and running a crowdfunding campaign, as well as dealing with the responsibilities of everyday life and work. All this effort was rewarded in the form of achieving the campaign’s goal, which will allow us to prepare the Amphi prototype for production.

When choosing the destination of our trip, we were guided by many factors, the main role of which was played by the weather forecast, conditions of entry to a given country during a pandemic, as well as the lack of obligation to undergo a two-week quarantine after returning home. However, the most important factor was the attractiveness of the place in terms of organising a European Vacation With Amphi next year.

After careful analysis of many options, the Greek island of Corfu was chosen. Corfu is considered the greenest island in Greece and is proud to be called the Queen of the Ionian Islands. It is in the Ionian Sea, on the west coast of Greece and Albania. It is famous for its beautiful landscapes, which are a combination of blue sea, grey-gold rocks, green hills, and interesting monuments. Corfu is a paradise for sunbathers and water sports enthusiasts. Diving, windsurfing, and kitesurfing centres await amateurs of active leisure. Nature lovers are amazed by the natural wealth of the island, from olive groves to picturesque bays to rocks and grottos. Sounds like the perfect place for organising our first European Vacation with Amphi. Well, we need to personally check this place out first.

We arrived on the island late in the evening as our flight was 1.5 hours late. We pass through the airport quite smoothly. Then we find one of the local car rental companies, rent a car, and drive to our hotel, where we check in after 11:00 pm. As it is already dark, we do not get to see much of the island. Oh well, I guess we can wait one more night for that.

The next morning wakes us up with the blue sky and warm rays of the sun. It is already the end of October, which is also the ending of the holiday season on the island. Most hotels close early November, and almost all direct flights from the UK are suspended until next year. Despite the already cool weather in many parts of Europe, the temperature in Corfu ranges between 22 ℃ - 24 ℃ (71 ℉ - 75 ℉), which is quite pleasant. Apparently, the water in the sea is not too cold either, so we plan to take a dip in several places on the island.

The first days of our stay are focused on exploring the southern part. We visit the sandy beach of Issos, which is located on the west coast, and stretches for a couple of kilometres. The beach is very impressive, the dunes offer a remarkably interesting view of the surrounding area. From there, you can walk to Lake Korission where, with a bit of luck, wild flamingos and pelicans can be observed. When it was time to explore the beach from the “wet side’’, the water in the Ionian Sea turned out to be surprisingly warm, although a better description would be “not as cold as it might seem” ? Next, we spend some time on the eastern part of the island, where the beaches are mostly rocky. To get there, we pass through local villages. And indeed, all the beaches we visited turned out to be rocky, with clear crystal waters. However, the most memorable for us was the view of the mountains on mainland Greece on the other side of the water. After exploring several places, we decided to go back to the western part of the island, finding the incredibly interesting and deserted sandy beach of Prasoudi. The road to it leads along narrow roads among olive trees. From the parking lot, we go past the already closed tourist apartments, and then climb down high and steep stairs leading directly to the beach. The view from the top of the stairs is breath-taking. After going down to the beach, it is impossible not to notice that the sea today is less calm than yesterday. The reason for this is probably the wind that blows stronger than on the previous day. However, this does not discourage us from taking the opportunity to check the turbulent waters at Prasoudi Beach.

Finally, it is time to explore the north-western part of the island, which seems to be more interesting from the very first moments. The roads meander through the hills and local villages, from which every now and then we can see incredibly beautiful views of the island and its coast. We must admit that we have great fun driving here. Our first goal for today is a double beach known as Porto Timoni. We get to the village of Afionas, where we leave the car, and start a 20-minute trek, along a richly covered with trees and bushes trail, where we stop every 5 seconds to enjoy the amazing views of the bay and the town of Agios Georgios. After about 10 minutes of the trek, we saw a stunning view of the beaches of Porto Timoni. It turned out there were not many people. Once on the beach, we do not waste time and jump into the crystal-clear water, admiring the fairy-tale landscape that surrounds us. After a few hours of rest, we return to the car and continue our trip to the north, to the point called Cape Drastis. Cape Drastis is the northernmost point on the island. The cape is a very characteristic place, and like Porto Timoni Beach, it is a typical postcard view. We do not have to wait long to see this. It is visible right at the beginning of the gravel road from where we left the car. It is worth stopping for a moment and taking a closer look at this amazing rock formation. The cape is made of high white cliffs rising from the water sparkling with various shades of blue and turquoise. Rocky islets also emerge from the water, and a sandy beach can be seen in the depths of the cliff. How to get on it? Probably only by boat... The approaching sunset adds even more colour to this view. The whole thing looks incredible!

After a few days of not the best weather, another sunny day has come, during which we again visit the north-western part of the island, more specifically the area of ​​Paleokastritsa. It is one of the most attractive parts of the island, where we decided to go on a boat trip in search of secluded beaches, which are not accessible from the mainland. At the port, we are warmly greeted by Dino, who will show us the special places of the area with his boat. Dino is kind enough to warn us about high waves and proposes to move the tour to another day. As we are returning home the next day, we cannot postpone it. We decide to use his services anyway. Indeed, the sea is not very calm, but Dino tries to guide his boat in such a way that we feel it as little as possible. From the very first moment, our eyes cannot believe the views. We peer into the countless grottos in the cliffs, into which Dino flows in, showing us their characteristics. The water in them is turquoise blue, with amazing clarity. Just from the boat itself, without entering the water, you can observe fishes, underwater rock formations, and the Mediterranean coral visible on the rocks just below the water surface. On the cliffs and in caves you can also observe interesting rock formations, a real gem for geologists. Along the way, we admire the wonderful beaches, some accessible from the mainland, such as Rovinia, and some accessible only by boat. We anchor at one of them and decide to explore the underwater life. Despite the turbulent sea the visibility is amazing which made the swimming session very enjoyable.

On the last day, on the way to the airport, we visited the old town of Corfu, which was placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2007. It is one of the most elegant and charming Greek cities. Surrounded by the azure sea, astonishing with its perfectly preserved architecture and atmospheric pubs, it attracts crowds of tourists every season. Just walking along the streets of the city gives us great joy. It is a place worth spending some time on.

Our time on the island of Corfu passed very quickly. The island delighted us with its charm, beautiful views, amazing coast, lots of beaches with crystal clear water, and very friendly local people. One week is definitely not enough to explore Corfu to the fullest, but enough to say that Corfu is perfectly suited for a European Vacation With Amphi.

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