After 26 hours of travel with only a couple hours of airplane sleep sprinkled in, we all made it to Corfu, Greece! Poor Amanda and Toby were rerouted due to flight delays and their luggage didn't quite make it on vacation with them, but at least all four of our happy little heads were accounted for.
We had quite the flight itinerary...Austin to Chicago to London to Athens to Corfu. We didn't get to travel on the same airline as Amanda and Toby since we bought our flight at the last minute due to our quick trip back to the States. But we were all at least able to plan the Athens to Corfu leg together. This is all of us deplaning in Corfu. Vacay!!!
We landed in Corfu around 7:30pm on Thursday, May 5 and had a delicious Greek dinner at Aunt Theda's before heading to bed around midnight. We were so exhausted from not sleeping for a full 24 hours that we slept for nearly 16 HOURS! Toby was the only one among us who got up at a reasonable hour (9am). Amanda finally rolled out of bed at 2pm and Brian and I finally awoke at 3:30pm.
Amanda's Aunt Theda lives in Greece with her husband Cristos, and they kindly took us into their cozy home. This is the crew this afternoon before we went out to explore Corfu town.
I am the designated standard driver once again! Toby can drive a manual car too, but I'm the only one with an international driver's license, so here we go... You'll be glad to know we upgraded from the Ford Ka to a Fiat Punto.
The weather is absolutely beautiful here. 70s during the day and 50s at night. It's probably a little brisk for swimming but we're bound and determined. There were quite a few people swimming and sunning on a small beach just below this fortress.
Walking up to Corfu town from our little roadside parking spot. The small cars are a-plenty and the drivers, they are a-crazy!
The pictures just aren't quite doing the beauty justice just yet. A-ma-zing. My mom has always talked about going to Greece...my whole life...and I've always kind of had it up on this beauty pedestal. It's more amazing and enchanting than I could have possibly imagined.
Brian and I bought a Greek language phrase book during our layover in Chicago and we feverishly studied the basics so as not to be "those" Americans. So far I've learned, "vegetarian", "red wine", "please" and "thank you". The essentials. The Greek alphabet has been a little bit of a curve ball, but hey, no pasa nada.
The Floyds! In Greece!
The souvenir shops here are pretty amazing. See those handbags Aunt Mary?? There are olive wood items galore and tons of beautiful billowy tops and dresses. This is going to dangerous....very, very dangerous.
It feels oh-so-good to be WALKING...in EUROPE...AGAIN! Brian and I both exhaled a deep peaceful sigh and whispered a sweet hello to our home away from home...
Aunt Theda was sweet enough to act as our personal tour guide and took us to this little out-of-the-way restaurant just up from the hustle and bustle of the touristy area.
The food was nothing short of spectacular. We shared everything tapas-style (except for Toby who devoured a manly sized pork-chop). I am in love with the Greek salad.
Greeks are like my beloved Spaniards in their love of coffee, relaxing, and taking their time in life. Cristos schooled us during dinner last night about the importance of enjoying the Greek coffee shops so we added that right to the top of the to-do list.
Amanda and her fancy, delicious coffee. The best part? They served everyone's coffee with a FREE glass of water (quite the luxury in Europe) and a FREE chocolate-covered ice cream bar. Please and thank you.
This is the view down one of the streets with the little touristy shops. On the left is the main Greek Orthodox church in town. They were having service when we walked by, and you could hear the singing echoing out into the streets. With the light from the late-afternoon sun peeking through, it was quite the poetic moment.
On the walk back to the car, we passed this fabulous little car. I've been telling Brian how much I want a little compact convertible when we finally get settled wherever we're going to live post-MBA, so I'm always noticing cars.
My Aunt Sue had an adorable little blue Carmagia when I was a kid, and I've never forgotten it. I would love, love, love a little convertible Carmagia. (Do they even make those?) Or this awesome little red Fiat would do! :) In a rag top of course...
Coziness is key in compact cars. Our happy little family in the Fiat Punto. :)
Amanda and I had already figured out a complete and detailed strategy for sharing my clothes in case her bag didn't arrive soon. She wasn't totally happy about it, but we are on vacay dadgumit... and we weren't going to let a couple lost bags ruin our fun!
But lo and behold Aunt Theda's cell phone rang during our late lunch in Corfu town.
Landing at the Corfu airport at 7:30pm!
Amanda lit up like the brightest light bulb in the box. I think I may have even seen a tear in her eye. So we zoomed right over to the airport to give her clothes a great big hug a kiss.
After we picked up the bags from the airport, it was almost time for sunset. Aunt Theda knew a great spot up on a hill close by where we could enjoy a glass of wine and a beer and watch the sun go down over the hills. And guess what was right next door?
Don't worry, we patronized the local joint next door.
Did I mention how absolutely amazing it is to be here? Dear Universe, thank you for this trip. It's not lost on us.
The view from our hilltop cafe... That church is apparently famous for something. I'm sure I'll remember once we're back home.
See the plane? We were so close to the airport that the planes were literally landing one after another right next to the patio. It was absolutely UNREAL.
I'm guessing that little bridge separates the "safe" part of the sea on the left from the airport part on the right. People were lined up on it watching the planes. It was a precariously narrow little thoroughfare, but there was of course one brave (or stupid) little moto driver zipping across. Claro.
Toby jumped down to the patio below and took a flip video of the plane landing. We saw three or four planes in all I think, and we could have seen 30 more. It was so cool! Aunt Theda said she used to bring her two kids here when they were young to watch planes come in one after another.
Looks like the moon right? Nope! That's the lights from yet another plane about to land.
And this is my attempt at taking a picture of the plane zooming by after dark....
After our fun-filled day, we headed back to the "spiti tou Bonetis" (the Bonetis' house) for a little wine and cheese and some good chit-chat and laughter about the day. Amanda and Toby were overjoyed to unpack their bags and get settled.
Toby and Brian had made a "man trip" to the Academy before we left the States to buy Speedos for the trip (I'm not kidding), and after unpacking Toby was super bummed to find that one of his Speedos was missing from a side pocket on his bag.
Aren't we all so thankful he bought two?
If that was the only casualty, I think we're doing just fine.
Living in Europe you learn the beauty of Google Phone, Skype and other almost-free ways to call home. Amanda and Aunt Theda got on the computer and tried to call Amanda's mom to let her know we made it safely. The connection was HORRIBLE and she was only catching about every third word. Poor Kathy was probably a little frustrated. But due to speaker phone, we all had a good laugh over here. ;)
I love this happy little kitchen! We are so, so lucky to have such a great place to stay for this amazing journey. Thank you Aunt Theda and Uncle Cristos!
Our plan for the next 10 days? Sail on the Bonetis sailboat this weekend, toodle around this fabulous little island in our Fiat, find as many deserted beaches as we can, drink plenty of Ouzo and red wine, and try as hard as we can to have a good time. Somehow I think it won't be hard....
As for "opa", Cristos said it really doesn't mean a whole lot. In his fun-loving, straight-forward, Greek way, he says it's a nice word to entertain the tourists. So I've decided "opa" is going to mean "Yay! Woo hoo! Fabuloso! We're having a great time!!"