A Quick Change of Plans

My new travel buddies and I only stayed in Tirana for one evening, then headed out early the next morning to catch a bus towards Sarande. It turned out to be quite literally the worst bus trip of my life, but for reasons I’d rather not get into. We made it to the city on the southern border of Greece around midday and checked into the Hairy Lemon hostel. After freshening up a bit Lisa and Gabi and I walked to a nearby beach, but it wasn’t anything special. I left after about 15 minutes and wandered through town to pick up some postcards and stamps. I met back up with the girls for dinner at a pizzeria. Not much exciting happened that evening.

Back at the hostel the girls were planning their next few days and convinced me to accompany them via ferry to the Greek island of Corfu the next morning. We hastily booked an Airbnb apartment, then enjoyed some of the homemade Irish Liquor the hostel owner made, then called it a night. Thankfully the hostel owner allowed me to pay for only one night, instead of the three that I had booked online. Not only that, but he exchanged all our left over Albanian Leke for Euros at the current rate.

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The three of us bought tickets for the ferry at about 0930 in the morning – at a cost of about 24 Euro each. The cruise itself took about an hour and a half, but as I always thoroughly enjoy a boat ride, the scorching sun didn’t even bother me. We had to deal with border controls on both sides of the sea, but I was finally able to get a boat stamp in my passport. My first impression of Greece was not all that good. Several of the taxi drivers were incredibly rude, and it took us ten minutes to find a cab willing to take us the several kilometers south of Corfu Town to our Airbnb apartment.

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We finally made it and were able to check in with no problem. The one aspect not listed in the online ad for this apartment was the fact that it is about one kilometer away from the Corfu Airport. Aircraft are constantly flying in and out on the single runway, so noisily you have to stop your conversation for a few seconds. The house and everything inside rumbles each time anything larger than a private jet lands. I don’t really mind that much, but the ladies don’t seem to care for it. On the upside there is a long walking bridge across the nearby bay that travels directly under the airplanes, allowing for some great closeup views of the passenger jets.

 

Upon arrival we were all pretty hungry. 200 meters down the road we stopped in a market with the cutest elderly lady behind the counter. We asked for some packaged feta cheese but instead she produced a tub of fresh feta, cut us off a giant block, and charged us much less than the plastic-wrapped name brand. She even threw in a tub of olives for us. We picked up a few other fruits and vegetables, a loaf of bread, and some cereal for breakfast. Back at the apartment the girls put together a delicious salad with the cheese, tomatoes, olives, red peppers, cucumber, and olive oil. It was such an incredibly delicious meal. Lisa and I then took a little nap while Gaby was showering.

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Late in the afternoon we walked the 4 kilometers into the city. The foot bridge saved us a long trek around the bay. Our first stop: gelato. After window shopping a few times we decided on Spathis Cafe in downtown Corfu. I have to admit, I don’t believe I’ve ever tasted a better Madagascar vanilla bean gelato. It was a little on the expensive side, but well worth it. We walked around the city a little bit taking in some of the better photograph opportunities and perusing the local shops. Lisa and Gaby bought some jewelry, and the three of us decided to get matching Greek prayer bracelets. Gaby’s was a bit tough to fit over her hand, but after applying some perfume oil the three of us together were able to get it into place.

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After about another hour of roaming we caught the bus south of town until it stopped near a pizzeria that we had passed before. Deciding it was time for a late-night snack we split a margarita pizza, then walked home the last 15 minutes in the darkness over the bridge. The girls are asleep now, but since I was unable to get wifi in the room I walked up to the balcony to add to my blog. It’s only midnight, and I should be sleeping. But if I don’t update my blog now it may not get done for several more days.

I think tomorrow we are going to find a nice beach in Corfu. In the evening there is a dance festival in the center of town which we’ve decided we would like to attend. Tomorrow is actually our last day together as a trio. Gaby is staying on the island for a few more days before flying to Athens. Lisa and I will be taking the ferry back to Sarande, then the bus back to Tirana, where her and I will part company. I will probably stay in Tirana for a few days to get a better feel for the city before heading east to Macedonia, Serbia, Kosovo, and Bulgaria. I sure am going to miss these girls when they’re gone!

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