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Drousas Family’s Travel Diary

Saturday, 25 Jun 2011

Location: Corfu, Greece

MapWe spent our last day in Athens Wed 22nd visiting Parliament house and the changing of the guards. The guards dressed in traditional greek costumes (tsoliathes). John and I found it a really moving experience full of history! We took photos with them too!
Our next stop was the cultural Benaki museum! Here we saw pottery, jewellery, greek costumes, parts of old mansions, parts of old church altars, greek church Icons, paintings and basically the greek lifestyle dating back to 400-500 BC! It was very interesting and we soaked up the history!!
After that we stopped at nearby trendy Kolonaki for some shoe shopping (and this time the girls not Peter!) and a refreshing frappe (iced coffee) people watching as we relaxed! A really nice area of Athens.
In the evening we caught up with Thea Maria & Chrusa for a drink in Plaka. I (Toula) had not seen them since 1977 where Chrusa & I played together in Greece. They were lovely and instantly we felt like we had known them for years!

Next day..23rd June we picked up our hire car & it was time for John to drive on the opposite side of the road!! Lucky for us our hotel was on the side of Athens that we needed to be to catch the highway to Meteora (Monasteries in central Greece) and it didnt take long to get out of Athens. Of course that didnt mean I (Toula) didnt have a panic attack trying to get out! It really wasnt that bad and before long we were on the highway! We stopped half way to see the statue of Leonidas at Thermopylae where 300 spartans fought off the Persian army from invasion. We then drove on to Kastraki, a village at the foot of the Meteora. Our first experience of a greek village..only 800 people living there! After settling in at our traditional guest house run by a family (who were very friendly and hospitable to us!) we walked around the hills in about 36 degree heat until dinner at the taverna also run by the same family downstairs from our room! We saw greek kids poking fun at another boy calling him names, moutzoning (Giving him the open stretched palm - not nice) and we could not stop laughing! Being a small town where everyone knows each other we were stared at as we walked past the residents! They actually turned their bodies around to watch us..again very funny!

Next day we visited 2 monasteries. The first one was Agia Barbara run by nuns. It was beautiful and one of the nuns gave us a personalized tour!! These clifftop monasteries are amazing! The next one was the 'megalo (Big)Monastery dedicated to our saviour Christ..which as the name says the largest of the monasteries (with lots of steps to get to it!) and run by monks! Again an amazing experience This one was 600 years old!

We then drove west to the Igoumenitsa to catch the ferry to island of Corfu! The first hour was spent driving through mountains (with about 3 panic attacks from me!). Here we witnessed the famous greek driving we had heard so much about! Overtaking on bends, general break neck speeding and no regard for their lives! John drove well and pulled over when he could to let these crazy drivers pass! On one occassion we were behind not one but two semi trailers..the idiot behind us decided to overtake us and the semi trailers not far from a bend with double lines marked on the road!When he realised he could not make it he squeezed in front of us..forcing John to brake a little but we were watching & taking care knowing this driver was being reckless! John beeped at him and this driver proceeded to signal to John sleeping on a pillow! In other words he was going so slow he was asleep!

The next hour and half of our drive was on a beautiful highway with lots of tunnels going throught the mountains!! What a wonderful piece of construction by Greece..we were impressed! We had a lovely 1 and 1/2 hour ferry boat ride to the beautiful island Corfu! Once here we drove another hour of mountainous road before getting to our resort..right on the beach at Agios Stefanos! Paradise! We were told there was a better road to take to get here (although a little longer!) and the one we had taken only the locals use! (another panic attack! :) ).

Today we swam in the gorgeous blue Ionian sea and generally just relaxed in this wonderful resort! Will post some photos over the next couple of days! Waiting for our adapter we left behind in Kastraki to be delivered so we can charge up laptop & mobiles! Lucky for us the owner of the resort is originally from Kastraki knew the owners of the guesthouse we stayed in! He organised for the adaptor to be sent to us here in Corfu! Take care everyone! xoxoxoxo