My time in Albania was over and now I had to board a boat to Albania, which was more difficult than I expected. Prepare for my not so awesome real experience for the rest of the paragraph, or skip it. The company which I travelled with did not accept cards, so that meant I had to withdraw money last minute. Additionally I did not see any marking or labels or guidance as to what to do, or where exactly to go after you buy your ticket, I personally did not see any sign on the building that is basically Border Control that it is in fact such and one has to go through it. Furthermore, the queue was huge and I got irritated by an elderly couple who jumped so many people on the queue, including me, that I felt it is more than disrespectful. Imagine my further irritation when there was no actual sign or guidance once again as to which boat stops where and you just bounce around and there’s no one to even ask for help, because the other passengers are in no different position to yours and since a big percentage of them are tourists, it is unlikely to encounter someone who actually knows how this works. When I finally found the boat, I wasn’t impressed, from the outside it looked smaller than it was inside (thankfully) and also I thought I’d get claustrophobic (a feeling I rarely ever experience, but happens on occasions). Once in the boat, I just closed my eyes and tried to space out, listening to music!
When I finally arrived from Sarande, Albania to Corfu, Greece, I was tired, and I felt like too little time was spared for Albania and Corfu. Again, I had no plan, I decided to get to town, and figure it out there. I must mention here, prior my arrival in Corfu, I’ve spoken with a few CouchSurfers, and some have given me advice as to where I can sleep under the stars safely, outside Corfu town, and also someone who said they’d be happy to show me around and also where to sleep in Corfu town. So I found myself in Corfu town, sweating and unsure what exactly I want to do, while getting constantly lost around these tiny spaghetti streets. I saw a nice looking coffee shop, which had a massive board with their menu outside, and pancakes featured, so it grabbed my attention for a minute, before I realized a simple pancake was 6-7 euros. Considering I’ve just spent the past few months in the lands of Cheap and Wonderful, this was shockingly expensive and I wasn’t going to pay for it. It is strange how an imagined border across lands divide countries in dramatic ways, and I don’t mean just pricing, but also life style, attitudes, cultures… Isn’t the human mind a weird thing!?
I decided to just sit down for a bit, check my map, see how many wrong turns I’ve taken so far and also decide what to do next. And as I sat down, pretty much right next to this same coffee shop, with the expensive pancakes, and started looking at my map, a man approached me, calling my name. I was stunned for a moment, it just felt like those weird moments when students chased me down university campus to randomly stop me with the ”Are you the girl that manages the Archery Club?” question. Famous, huh? In Corfu?! How? In short what went through my mind was ”Who on Earth knows me by name in Corfu?!”. When I acknowledged the person standing right in front of me with a perplexed face (glad I had my sun glasses on), the man introduced himself, reminding me he is one of the people I was speaking to on CouchSurfing. Phew! I’m not famous! And Wow! This town was either tiny, or I was lucky – most likely both! Stelios invited me to his table with his friends and soon after one of them suggested we walked to a station to find out about the buses I will need to get to my ‘out of town safe locations to sleep under the stars’. As luck had it, not even 5minutes into walking to a bus station, we stumbled upon two friends of his who knew more about the buses and they informed us. So we went back to Stelios and the others who have now moved to another venue, for more coffee. And here comes another pain when one is on the road, I felt like I was getting ill, so I had a strange combination of coffee with ice cream, a glass of hot water with Beechams and cold water as the weather was so hot.
After staying with Stelios in town for a few hours, I decided to get on a bus to take me to a place where to spend the next couple of nights. Walking downhill to the beach was difficult enough, so I am thrilled I didn’t have to go back the same way. Anyways, I reached the nice beach, and had wonderful experience of sleeping in an improvised but well made shelter near the rocks, with a stray dog, keeping me company.
Spending more time under the sun, sunbathing, reading, listening to music and podcasts was once again splendid. I keep telling myself, I need more and more of this in my life!
After a couple of days of enjoying Nature and chilling out, I had to make my way to Corfu town again. This time I thought I’d try hitch-hike, surely most cars were heading to town, right!
It didn’t take too long before a girl on a scooter stopped, I guess she didn’t see my backpack, but she was nice and wished that I manage to flag someone down soon. And indeed soon a car stopped and the British couple in it asked me where I was going, I said Corfu and they said I can jump in, that they are driving in the same direction.
The time went by in pleasant conversations and the couple decided to drop me in Corfu town, and make sure I’m all right! They were so nice! Once more, that was a positive experience of hitch hiking 😉
After reaching Corfu town, I decided to stop for coffee and pancake, only to be disappointed by the plain looking pancake…taste wise it was okay. Anyways, then I left my luggage in a coffee shop and went off to wander around town and explore it better. Busy touristy place. Beautiful island, but a little too expensive for my taste and tiny budget. I spared a day to walk around the island, and to be frank I think that one doesn’t need more than 2 days to explore Corfu town, the beaches are worth the attention and time!
Once again, pretty much by accident I found Stelios and we stayed in town together for a few hours, so he could work before we headed to the safe place where we could spend the night under the stars.
The next day I had to head to the airport and get on a plane home. I have been feeling like I am developing a cold for the past 2 days, and the night before my departure my voice was failing me; so leaving seemed like well timed, I didn’t want to be on the road with a bad cough and awful health. Walking to the airport early was actually nice, the streets were peaceful and I saw the sun rise that morning.