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 Mediterranean Cruise 2008 - 10/03 - Corfu

Cruise Pictures
     

10/03 - Corfu
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In Corfu we started breakfast at the Grand Pacific restaurant, one of the free restaurants on the ship. See the pictures for details.

After breakfast we met up with the other families around 10:00 and went out to see Corfu. We decided to rent a car and drive around. There was a rental agency at the port with cars waiting, but they informed us they had only one car left for 60 euros, which was a discount off their normal 75 euro price. We tried bargaining down to 50 but they refused.

I then noticed another rental car agency, Sunrise Rent-A-Car, located outside of the port. It was only 100-200 feet away but on the other side of the fence. We decided to walk to Sunrise but the exit for the port was a good 1/8 mile away so we had to walk about 1/4 mile to get to Sunrise where we got a manual transmission car for 50 euros including insurance and taxes (auto transmission costs extra). We tried to bargain down since we only had a few hours of time and the woman said we could return the car without filling up the gas. We paid cash with no credit card authorization and were quickly on our way (credit card payments cost extra).

Our car was a red Hyundai Getz and turned out to be pretty comfortable for a compact. It wasn't a very fast car but for the most part did everything it needed to. I estimate it had 70-80 HP. The trickiest part was figuring out the roads which are written primarily in Greek and don't seem to follow a numbering system on these small islands. My sister worked hard as navigator though we still had to make several u-turns.

First we drove to Paleokastritsa to check out the Monastary of the Blessed Virgin, some mountain views and beaches. We had a beautiful drive there and stopped multiple times for pictures. Unfortunately, we misread a sign and didn't realize that we had made it to the Monastary at the top of a hill so we took several other pictures and descended only to discover our mistake. We decided not to back track and continued on our way.

Next we took the scenic route through Pelekas to Perama. We stopped several more times for views but since we were short on time we couldn't stop for lunch. When we arrived in Perama, we stopped at Achillion Palace and Mouse Island before driving back to Corfu Town.

In Corfu we attempted to drive to Old Town, only to get stuck in traffic. We followed it until the traffic ended, only to discover that the road also ended. It turns out that most of Old Town is pedestrian only roads so we had to make our way back out and formulate a new plan. We decided to take the coastal road to Old Town and park and walk the rest. Unfortunately, we lost a lot of time.

After driving around the New Venetian Fortress and taking pictures, we parked in an attempt to find the Temple of the Virgin Mary but only got far enough to find the Temple of St. Anthony before heading back to the ship.

One fortunate thing about our rental agency is that even though the shop is outside the port, we could drop the car off in the port, leave the keys under the floormat, leave the door unlocked and an attendant would find the car later. Since they did not have our credit card, this was not a worry for us and was actually quite convenient.

In retrospect, our biggest mistake was leaving the ship too late in the morning. With a big group of people, we didn't actually make a decision until 10:30 and probably didn't get into our rental car until almost 11:00. This resulted in a trip where we were constantly watching the clock. If we had left the ship at 8 or 9, we would have had more time at our destinations and time for lunch.

Also, my mom and sister think we should have went to Mount Repo instead of Perama. We wanted to do both but due to our schedule we could only do one and we were alreay en route to Perama before we realized the time constraint along with the slight more circuitous route required for Mount Repo.

For dinner we went to Papa's Italian Ristorante, again for an early bird special. This was my personal favorite restaurant because the food was all excellent and it really hit the spot, yet it did not feel excessively heavy. Much of the group was concerned about eating too much and I was the only one to order a pasta course in addition to an entree and just about everyone else regretted it. Despite having an extra course, I was still hungry at the end, not because I didn't eat a lot, but because it was all so good and tasty that I just wanted more. See the pictures for more specific details.

10/03 pictures are here.
Posted 10/11/2008 10:59 PM in Food, Greece, Ramblings, Restaurants, Reviews, Travel | Total Comments: (0)
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In the harbor at Corfu

     
They called this Pear Compote, but it was just chopped canned pears.   Cream of wheat, served with butter and brown sugar crystals was a little runny for me but fine otherwise   My dad's Salmon Florentine, which is eggs benedict with spinach and salmon   Spanish Kipper with onions, a bone-in fillet of fish that was reminiscent of mackeral. It was a bit salty and needed a carb (e.g. rice) to go with it.

     
My french toast, bacon and sunny side up eggs make a tasty breakfast sandwich, except I broke my yolk.   Like father like son.

     
My family decided to rent a car in Corfu. Instead of renting from inside the port we invested 15 minutes to walk to another car agency and got a price of 50 euros (15 less than in the port) and had the fuel charges waived. We hopped in our red Hyundai Getz which turned out to be decently roomy and comfortable for a compact car and had enough grunt to have a small amount of passing power.

     
Corfu Island Map
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  Corfu Town Map 1
Larger Version
  Corfu Town Map 2
Larger Version
  Corfu Old Town Map
Larger Version

     
Driving to Paleokastritsa

     
Driving to Paleokastritsa

     
Driving to Paleokastritsa we found this beautiful view surrounded by olive trees.   Close-up of the olives.   Smurfs Restaurant. I saw a sign later that actually had a smurf as the mascot but didn't have my camera handy.

     
Beach in Paleokastritsa, just below the Monastary of the Blessed Virgin, with my dad on the right.

     
My sis, me and my dad.   Yes, that is a wheelchair access ramp to the sea.   Cottage by the beach   The car rental agency.

     
View from the top of the hill where the Monastary of the Blessed Virigin stands..

     
Driving to Pelekas

     
Driving to Pelekas

     
Driving to Pelekas   Driving to Perama

     
Achillion Palace outside of Perama   View of Perama   Mouse Island in Perama, it looks to be a small island, possibly privately owned, though a ferry will take you there for 2 euros.

     
New Venetian Fortress in Corfu's Old Town

     
St. Anthony Church in Old Town Corfu   Wandering in Old Town Corfu   Returning to our red Hyundai Getz (behind the white van) from Old Town

     
Bellagio style ceiling in the ship's Atrium   Menu at Papa's Italian Ristorante. The name sounds generic and we all though it would be like Olive Garden but it turned out to be one of our favorite restaurants.   A nice, very sweet and fruity Moscato

     
Papa's has both small tables and large for family style eating.   Our group of 12 had our own little alcove with a table of 6 on each side.   Tasty anti-pasto plate with a haloumi of some sort, mortadella, prosciutto, black olives and tomatoes with fresh mozarella

     
Caesar salads are made tableside. Mine had a good amount of dressing that had a good level of creaminess and anchoviness. Fresh grated parmesan and croutons rounded it out very well.   Fettuccini Putanesca - Olives, Capers and Anchovies in Marinara. I was the only one to get a first course pasta dish and most everyone regretted skipping this course. Recently I've started appreciating pastas not drowning in sauce and this one was a good balance with the olives, capers and anchovies providing a pleasantly savory and tangy departure from your average marinara.   Lobster Ravioli with Swiss Chard, Pesto and Lobster Sauce (Signature Dish) - My dad lamented the presence of a mere three medium sized ravioli but liked them so much that I didn't get a bite.

     
Risotto di Gamberi - Creamy al dente Saffron Rice, Sauteed Shrimp and Arugula. This risotto was sub par. Because the ship is limited by what it has access to, this risotto was not made with risotto rice (e.g. Arborio) but with a fairly standard medium grained rice which does not have the correct starch content. As a result, the risotto was most definitly NOT al dente. It was overcooked, mushy and not creamy at all. The saffron flavor was decent, but honestly I've never had high grade saffron so I can't properly judge it.   Veal Marsala - Pan-fried Veal Scaloppine, Marsala Mushroom Sauce, Spinach, Red Bliss Rosemary Potatoes. Both my sister and I ordered this dish. The veal was good but not the most tender. My sister was unlucky and got a piece that had a lot of tendon. The marsala sauce was smooth but I would have liked more mushrooms and marsala flavor.   Tagliata Di Manzo Pizzaiola - Grilled Ribeye Steak, Tomato Sauce, Mushrooms, Bell Peppers, Semolina Gnocchi. This was probably the best dish. The tomato sauce was tangy but not sour, the vegetables well cooked and the ribeye tender, juicy and flavorful. Again, I wish there had been more mushrooms and the gnocchi was a bit too soft, but otherwise the flavors were all there.   Formaggio Misti: Caciota al Tartufo, Cacia de Roma, Piave Vechio, Taleggio (almost like cheddar), Marsolina Ricotta (salty), Pecorino Fogline di Noce, Gorgonzola (very blue). Other than those noted, we weren't sure which ones were which , except there were a couple goat or sheep cheeses, and I assume the Pecorino was the parmesan style one.

     
Torta al Cioccolato con Albiococche - Bitter-sweet Chocolate Torte with Spiced Apricots. This was an interesting dessert as it was made with cocoa and dark chocolate so it was not very sweet and had a thick almost paste-like texture. The other surprise is that there were walnuts in the torte to break up the texture. Some people actually likened it to Chinese red bean moon cakes b/c of the texture and low sweetness so they ordered additional servings. I thought the bitter chocolate flavor paired well with the sweet apricot.   Torta di Ricotta - Baked Ricotta Cheesecake, Strawberry Compote, Pine Nut Florentine. This was a very tasty ricotta cheesecake using a much finer ricotta than I've had before so it retained some of the creaminess of a cream cheese cake while providing the texture of ricotta. The pine nut "brittle" was a golden caramel in color and taste and I've never had such tasty pine nuts.   Trio di Panna Cotta - Trilogy of Cream Custard with Amaretto Liqueur, Milk Chocolate and Citrus Infusion. I think that most panna cottas are pretty simple custards which are kind of boring so I had low expectations. I was quite surprised to find that these were actually custard, not jello-ish concoctions like some previous desserts. Each was remarkably smooth and creamy yet provided a slight resistance to your spoon. The flavor was augmented by just the right hints of amaretto, chocolate and citrus.   Tiramisu - Nice and creamy but not enough rum. There was also way too much cocoa powder on top which I accidentally inhaled and almost coughed up a lung.

 

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