Candes Saint-Martin, my favourite spot in La Touraine.

Monday, 15 June 2015

Rush hour in Kerkyra

Compared to Brussels’ Airport, Corfu’s is really tiny. No long corridors and only 6 departure and arrivals gates. I very quickly retrieved my luggage from one of the three carrousels. In the arrival hall a representative of my tour operator was waiting. He was easily recognizable by his orange shirt with company logo. ‘The bus to your hotel is waiting outside. It’s bus number 108. See you later at the hotel!’ I stepped into the bright sunlight to find some 30 or more coaches lined up in front of the airport terminal.  

The still empty bus 108 and its driver – Spyros according to the badge he was wearing - were waiting on the other side of the road. I made sure he was going to my hotel before handing over my suitcase. It took a while before all the passengers had arrived and I spend the wait doing some more people watching.

Corfu airport: a common sight ... scooters and black taxis.

Finally, after about half an hour another representative of the tour operator stepped on the bus and off we went. My hotel, at 6 km from the airport, would be the first drop off point. People who were staying further up north were in for a bus ride of well over an hour. 

By the time we left the airport, rush hour had started in Kerkyra – Corfu town. Traffic, mainly coaches, black taxis and hundreds of little buzzing scooters was slow and chaotic. Pedestrians crossing the streets often risked their lives, walking in front of moving buses and meandering scooters. 

Here’s a photo that I shot of the traffic ahead of us. The quality is not very good, due to the long zoom, the progress of the bus and the tinted windshield. It gives you an idea, though.

I also got my first glimpse of the Ionian Sea and the mountains of Albania. We drove along the seashore and Port of Corfu Port where two large cruise ships and ferries to the mainland and Albania were docked. I tried to shoot more photos of the houses and their flowery balconies, where very often clothes hang drying. But the potholes in the road made it impossible to get a sharp image.

Half an hour later, the bus turned off the main road towards the peninsula on which my hotel was located. I immediately recognized it from the photos on the website. Some 20 people or so got off the bus with me. The rest continued their journey up north. Although we had been informed that check-up would not be possible before 2 p.m. some people started grumbling when they were asked to wait. Although I was tired – I got up at 3 a.m., remember – I didn’t mind too much as there were plenty of new things to discover … starting with the lobby, the pool area, the wooden deck overlooking the two sandy beaches, the small green island offshore the peninsula, the mountains of Albania and the hotel bar! The seats were comfy, the view magnificent and the beer delicious and cool.

My first glimpse of the Ionian Sea and the mountains of Albania.

While I waited, I phoned my mother to tell her that I had safely arrived. She sounded relieved, especially after all the uncertainty caused by the power failure at the airport the previous day. While I was watching the activity around the pool, I could help eavesdropping on the elderly couple that was sitting in the seats behind me. They spoke French and had arrived on the same plane as I. They too were waiting for their room to be ready …


Craig said...

I think we tend to think of such islands as very slowly paced destinations - forgetting that a sizeable population actually live and work there. Interesting to see their rush hour!

chm said...

Rush hour is rush hour is rush hour is rush hour.... ad infinitum!

Bob said...

looks like many of the streets in Paris. now that we have you on the ground, look forward to the next installment. good photos.

ladybird said...

Craig, Life is busy and chaotic, yet the pace is much slower ... As I would learn the next day! But more about that later ... ;)

Chm, I admit that I was surprised to find a traffic jam on a Greek island. In Athens, yes ... but in Kerkyra?!

Bob, I wouldn't quite compare it to Paris. No large boulevards here, you know. And, although I'm back on the ground (and in Belgium) my head is still in the clouds and on Corfu :)