Today we go to Kerkyra again because, although the first week we have been here, we could not walk much because Teije had problems walking. And it is quite a nice city, we have seen that much, with a cozy city center. Just outside it is the Spianada square with 2 green parks and of course all restaurants and terraces where we first stop for a coffee. It seems to be the largest square in Greece, there is even a cricket field that is probably the only one in Greece.
On the square are all kinds of statues and monuments and also a ring with symbols of the Eptanisi, the Seven Islands as the Greeks call the Ionian Islands. Kerkyra is represented by a ship without a rudder. That would not be necessary because the Phaiaks were such good sailors or, as another story says, the dead were transported with it and they did not have a real destination and therefore needed no rudder. The emblem of Lefkada or Lefkas is the mythical hero Bellerephontes who, with the help of the flying horse Pegasus, managed to kill the monster Chimaera.
On the south side of the square is the neoclassical Maitland monument in honor of this representative of the British Empire in the United States of the Ionian Islands in the 19th century. The most famous building along the square is the Liston, which has a French background: built by the French engineer Lesseps following the example of Rue Rivoli in Paris with a characteristic rows of arches. Yet the influence of the Venetians who have been in charge here for centuries dominates the town.
As we wander through the old town of Kerkyra, we notice that the buildings in the streets on the side of the square are mainly used as shops for tourists, but if you wander a bit further you will also encounter the authentic living areas that are still in use. to be. The center is not gigantic but very charming to walk through. We do have a map of the center with us but it is much more fun to wander around the narrow alleys and see where you end up. In the streets with souvenir shops it is usually busy, in other parts it is almost extinct and occasionally a child runs through the street or a woman hangs out of the window hanging the laundry on the line above the street.
In In 2007 the center was declared a World Heritage site by Unesco.
In In 2007 the center was declared a World Heritage site by Unesco.
When we see the Spyridion Church in the distance, we walk there because it is the holiest place on the island where the mummified body of St. Spyridion is kept. He came from Cyprus and lived in the 4th century and would have done many miracles until his death. Just before Konstantinopel was conquered by the Turks in 1453, his body was smuggled out of town and coincidentally landed on Corfu. His body has been well preserved (another miracle!) and is taken a few times a year through the streets of Kerkyra.But the body is also occasionally shown to the church visitors, and we have the dubious honor of just visiting the church on such a day. Come, Teije says, we have to see that. In a long line we shuffle to the crypt where the body is laid out in an open sarcophagus. I do not really like looking at dead bodies but when I see that most of the people press a kiss on the hands or the forehead of the saint I say that I'm really not going to do that. We try to walk as respectfully as possible along the coffin, but the priests who are standing next to us look at us with a very dark look, it is almost creepy. What a special experience!
The church itself is also more than worth a visit with the paintings and icons.
Then we walk back to the archaeological museum where we were before, but again it is closed. Museums in Greece are often closed on Mondays, but this one is always closed, it seems. When we ask someone, it appears that the museum was closed in 2014 or earlier for restoration work and that millions have been spent on it (also EU money) but that it has never been reopened. Too bad because on the internet we found quite good reviews and we would have liked to see yhe exhibitions.
We walk back to the car along the coast with a view of the old Venetian fortress. We go to the Kanoni peninsula, a district (or village) to the west of the center that runs around the airport. Once the capital, now it is mainly a tourist place with many hotels and restaurants but also a few very nice things to see and do. When we read about it on a terrace, we decide that it will take us more time to visit it all and take more time for that on our last day.
Kanoni is situated on a hill and we are now on the other side of the walkway where we have already watched the incoming aircraft a few times. This time we are much higher and on the side of the airport, so we have a new spot from where we can spot the planes. I hate to fly, but I find it absolutely fascinating to look at those big machines as they arrive through the air like far too heavy birds with stiff wings and yet safely land on the runway. I have made a lot of pictures again, today.
The view from here is fantastic anyway, we look down on the Vlacherna monastery on an island where you can walk to over a dam. It is only a small monastery and it takes little time to look around but it is so beautiful set. And that is what many tourists also think, and it is probably also the reason why the largest part of the former monastery is now an ordinary souvenir shop. There is still a small chapel to admire. But from the outside it looks best, bright white with red roof tiles against the blue background of the sea and the sky.
Of course, from this side, we also go to the walkway where the planes fly straight over our heads at a height of only a few dozen meters. Because less than 200 meters further, the wheels have to hit the ground of the runway if the plane wants to stop in time. It is a good thing that I do not live here, because then I would be here every day, looking at the planes. Or would you get bored or would you get used to it when you see continuously planes passing so low?
And of course we can not stay behind with the average tourist and also take a picture of the most photographed scene of Corfu: the Vlacherna monastery and Mouse Island behind it, combined in 1 image. From this side you can take a boat to go to Pontikonisi where there is still a 12th century Byzantine church but there are so many tourists who do that, so we just skip it.
Well, one more picture then, of me with the monastery and Mouse Island in the background. Actually, the photo would have been really complete when there was also a large aircraft somewhere above my shoulders in the picture. That is something for a next time. Now we first drive along the coast of the island to our beach to take a break from the walks we have made and to enjoy the warm weather and the warm water.