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

Thursday, 23 July 2015

On the road with Dimitris - 1

‘I’ll meet you at your hotel at 9 a.m. You’ll easily recognize me; I have red hair’. That’s the confirmation I received from Dimitris after booking a private 6-hour tour of Corfu Island with his company. The guy definitely had a sense of humour!

When I arrived in the hotel lobby at about 10 to 9, there were several black Mercedes waiting by the entrance. The drivers stood beside their cars, chatting with each other. They all had black or grey hair …

I sat down in one of the comfortable armchairs by the door and waited for my driver to arrive. Five minutes later a tall, slim, well-dressed man with a bright red crew-cut walked up the steps. After a few yards he stopped overlooking the lobby. No mistake possible, this was Dimitris. The green scarf I was wearing – I have used this scarf before to identify myself to people I’m meeting for the first time – caught his eye. His handshake was firm and his smile warm and genuine.

Ropa Valley - Corfu, May 29th.

As my friends were late – they had overslept because they had forgotten to change the time on their alarm clock (8 o’clock in Belgium is 9 o’clock in Corfu) – Dimitris and I had a chance to get acquainted. This wasn’t very difficult as my chauffeur turned out to be very easy going and talkative. In 15 minutes I learnt all about his wife, his three sons, life in his village, … We also discussed our tour. Dimitris suggested an itinerary which was somewhat different from the standard tour described on his website. It was slightly shorter (in distance, but not in time), but included more highlights and more time to stop and take photos. Moreover, it involved less walking and climbing steps, and therefore more comfortable for my elderly friends.

Notice the American flag on the house! While we were taking photos and listening to Dimitris , a man came out of the house and said something to Dimitris. He later explained that the man had family living in the US, and wanted to know whether we were Americans
.. because maybe then we knew his family! 

As soon they arrived, we hit the road, with Dimitris telling us the facts and figures I mentioned in my earlier post. His English was fluent and I had no trouble understanding him. Judging by the questions C. asked me in French, though, I discovered that they were missing out on some interesting information. I therefore suggested acting as an interpreter, a suggestion well received by all parties involved. It gave Dimitris a chance to rest his voice from time to time – talking during 6 hours without interruption (which he intended to do!) can be exhausting, especially if you are driving at the same time and keeping an eye on the road. This way our tour became very interactive …

We drove along the main road for a while, before turning into a country lane leading up into the mountains. There are two mountain ridges on Corfu, one on the west side of the island and one on the east, with in between the Ropa Valley. The highest peak on the eastern ridge and on the island is the Pantokrator (917 metres).

As you can see, the island is very green compared
to other Greek islands which can be very arid.

(more to come)


Craig said...

Sounds like an absolutely perfect way to see the island. And it seems that you were lucky with Dimitris as your choice. I wonder how many red headed Greeks there are? Not many I bet. It does look much greener than I expected. Is that partly due to the early part of the season with winter rain effects still allowing for the green tint before the hot and dry summer takes hold?

ladybird said...

Craig, Apparently the island remains green all year round. At least, that is what I have been told :)