Corfu, Greece

Augustt, 2010

Finding a place to stay

www.villarenters.com
offers great choices in a variety of countries.
Pick the ones that offer instant confirmation and you will be able to handle
booking and payments directly online. I sent booking request to 3 places
as it was pretty late booking. Within a couple of hours I have received an
offer from 2 of them. Andromaches apartments seemed well priced and
all reviews were great, so I booked it.

About Corfu

Corfu is quite small, you can visit pretty much every place in about 1-2 days depending how determined you are. We decided to split the trips to the North and the South. Here are the places we visited.


 

Pre-holiday

If your child is the similar to mine then you will be looking for intellectual engagement to get him excited about the holiday. I have remembered
my childhood book of choice by Gerald Durrell “My family and other animals” which took place in Corfu. Similar to Gerald  my son is very much into the mysteries of the nature. I promptly ordered the book, the BBC film made based on the book and a few other reading items for myself.

We talked about the book and started reading it and the boy started preparing in excitement for his Corfu holiday. I can tell that myself, being a fan of the book i grew more and more excited about it as well.

Packing the essentials when traveling with kids

  1. Allergy meds
  2. Insects bites
  3. Sun cream
  4. Kids fever relief (i.e Calpol)
  5. Pain killers
  6. Tummy aches
  7. Band aids.

Other tips if you don’t want to buy them at your destination: bring all sun hats, goggles and summer flip flops you have as they are lost easily.
Bring a swimming pool and sea swim sets of towels as swimming pool ones you can just dry and re-use while salt water ones need to be washed. This is pretty much all you will need that you can’t get fast enough when needed.

Flights

We had to fly separate due to work reasons. My son and I went with a charter Monarch flight which arrives past midnight to Corfu. Size of the plane was surprising. It was an Airbus 300 which usually used for transatlantic flights. Since #1 son has never flew on any of those it was quite an excitement. They also offered us a free dinner which became quite unusual in economy flights.

Lost and found

After 2 hours 30 min of flying (including a quite disturbing passage through a lightning storm) we finally landed.  Once at the terminal building we discovered that we have left our Dsi carrier bag with 2 games on it on the plane.

The terminal building in Corfu is very small. There is only 2 luggage pick up belts and that is pretty much it. I chanced going to the Lost and Found to ask for retrieval of the missing item, where they politely told me they will try to do their best and that we should come back after we pick up our luggage.

Once we picked up the luggage it was well past 1:00am Corfu time and there was no one at the Lost and found window.  We decided to go to the rental place and try our luck the next day.

As you exit the tiny airport you are greeted by a large number of licensed taxis. I was happy to find out that they knew exactly where we were going and the price the offered matched the one I got from the complex owner.

After 15 min of taxi ride we have arrived.

 

Arrival

After we were escorted to our apartment and settled in a way my #1 son announced that he thought “It was creepy on the outside but is lovely inside”…. hmmmm… I was indeed a bit worried as well, but then Kathryn, the wife and co-owner of the place showed up and helped us get settled.

 

Clean kitchen and utensils- check,
Hairdryer – check,
Clean towels – check,
If you like to have an air con at night, you need extra warmth for the rest of the family – check!
Clean bathroom – a must – check!

The apartments are cleaned every day by Eva who is is a very friendly lady. She also changes the linen and towels once a week.

The apartment

The view from our 2 balconies is just as what it promised to be.

The pool is located on an elevation area and because of that has a nice breeze throughout the day.
We never had trouble finding 3 sunbeds and a place under the umbrella or a tree that are in abundance.

Eating at the pool bar

The food menu is OK at the Andromaches. Definitely great variety on breakfast which offers Continental, British and Greek variety.
All salads are also freshly made. However, the main meals although tasting ok are all Microwaved. Every other day there is a fruit man truck that comes by where you can by at a small change all the fruit and veg you need if you decide to cook for yourself or just keep some fresh fruit in the fridge.
At the Pool bar you can also find variety of refreshments and ice creams at a market price.
Bottled water is suggested for consumption in Greece and if you need any, Kathryn will provide you with the six pack at no extra charge.

The beaches

A number of fantastic quiet and crisp clean beaches is about 5 min walk. All beaches are pebbled near Benitses.

If you are after a sandy beach, take a ride across to the other side of Corfu, for example Agios Gordios or Paleokastitsas.

 

Things around

The Benitses village is about 10 min walk where you can find hell of a lot of restaurants, supermarket and gift shops of course.

You should try one of the best places called Zorba, which is just a few meters away from the main town square. Also, Tony and Alex restaurant has at least a couple of euros cheaper prices that any other place.

 

 

If you have allocated a car budget, I definitely suggest to travel around the Corfu Island. It will take you about 1 day to cover the South of Corfu and I would allocate 2 days for the North in order to have some time to explore.
You will not go wrong driving to Chlomos. Continue to the top of the village mountain where you will end up at the highest point at the lovely cafe – restaurant with the most amazing views of Corfu.

 

Sea Shell museum

You will find an amazing collection, second largest in the world as you walk from Andromaches to Benitses. It is definitely worth seeing. The owner of the gallery has worked for many years with Steve O and is more than happy to chat about it.

 

Kids are also offered to hold a real shark to take a picture with. They have some fantastic memorabilia at very cheap prices. Entry fee is €4 per person. You will probably spend about 30-45 min there.

 

Corfu town

Since you are in Corfu already you should take the advantage of exploring the city.

(about 10 min by taxi, €25-30 depending on your negotiations skills.)

 

For kids

Calipso Star – the glass boat

I suggest to take a ride on the glass floor boat that takes you from Corfu old Port into the sea to have a good look at the wild sea life and a great sea lions show. The price is  €15 per adult and €6 per child.

 

Electric Cars

If you are visiting Corfu town, you should stop by the large park near the new Fortress and next to the large parking which you will most likely use. Children can rent real electric cars and drive around the entire park. Its great fun and will give you some off time :) . €3 for 15 min of driving.

 

The food

Greek food is quite good and offers good prices on seafood especially. You should definitely try the “Souvlaki” which is basically a grill of chicken and pork.  Zuccini balls and a bake of aubergine, tomatos and feta. I am also a huge fun aof tsatziki which i can eat pretty much with everything. Sea Bream and Sea Bass are simply delicious and the waiter will de-bone it for you as well.

Pastisada – pasta with specific spicy tomato sauce + selection of meat, poultry or seafood.

Stiffado – an awesome ceramic dish cooked veal with challots.

Greek wine – not surprisingly as in a number of countries that has most of the vine plantations surrounded by the sea, the wine has a strong taste of iodine. That’s the wine served by glass. If you are as picky as me about the wine, you will be better off ordering a bottle of Italian, Spanish or French. All of them are quite steeply priced.

 

Medical and emergency

It was useful to find out that there are 24 hour small surgeries operating all around Corfu villages. You should be able to get an appointment if needed within a couple of hours. The surgeries are covered by your travel or medical insurance.

If you have a medication prescribed beware that Pharmacies do not operate on Sunday as a rule. To find a farmacy in such a case you need to drive to any of the closed ones and get the address of the Pharmacies that are open on Sunday or 24 hours. Such a list is always available on the door of the Pharmacy.

Our son developed an ear infection and we had to visit one of the places to get it checked out. It is well known that you have to make sure the kids ears are healthy before the flight otherwise the eardrum could get damaged.

A tip that the doctor gave us (besides a lot of medicine) is not to let your child dive for 48 hours after the flight as that is when the ears are most delicate and prone to infection.

Parking

As in any holiday city you should expect not to get an easy parking in Corfu city. The largest parking space is just near the center across from the Old Fort. If you arrive early enough – not later that 3pm, you can easily park there for a mere €3 for as long as you need. We never had any issues parking right next to the beach in the villages. Mostly parking was free. Otherwise they have a standard rate of €3 for your entire stay and are open 24 hours. If you are going to party in Corfu make sure you know where to park. The place gets absolutely busy in the evenings.

Car rentals

I always scan the net in advance to book a car rental for the cheapest price. This time it was an exception as we planned our holiday at the last minute. The good thing is that all hotels/apartments and villas have facilities to offer you a car, a scooter, a quad bike or a mountain bike. As in our case we got our car withing 24 hours delivered and then picked up directly from our apartment. However, I have a nagging feeling that €45 a day is not cheapest deal. I recommend looking for a car on line in advance.

The Gecko!

#1 son is obsessed with reptiles and badly wanted to catch a lizard. One evening he did. We took care of the little guy for several days before letting him go, despite #1′s plans of smuggling it to the UK. He observed, draw and took great care of the little guy with passion. He had cried his heart out when we let it go…


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