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The Flying Dutchman

Small Island, Small World, BIG Adventures!

GREECE | Wednesday, 7 April 2010 | Views [887] | Comments [3]

I'm back!  So right now, you guys think we have just arrived in Greece, but we have some catching up to do.  Last time I wrote, we had just arrived on the island of Corfu!  Resume...

The hostel that we are staying at (The Pink Palace) is in a village on the other side of the island, so we walk up to the first bus that we see and ask if he is going there. He isn't and he waves us over to some other buses across the parking lot. All of the vehicles from the ferry are exiting now, so it is a treacherous place to be for two slow-moving backpackers. We dodge traffic on our way to the buses, but are intercepted by a taxi, who tells us to "Get in." When we hesitate, he says "I am not trying to rip you off, now get in the car" (side note from Bonnie: First he asks, where are you from? We point to our flag. “OH you are Canadian…I like Canadians….then he tells us he is not going to rip us off) We weren't looking for a fight, and just wanted to get to our hostel (where I could SHOWER) (side note from Bonnie : you have no idea how much this was needed!) (hey Bonnie, how was your shower? that's what I thought.) so we oblige. (Checklist in my head: Is he a stranger? Check. Does he try to get you to get in his vehicle? Check. Does he offer you candy? No check! We're good to go.) He was an old man, so I think we could have taken him anyway.

He was a talkative guy, so we ended up learning quite a bit about this old Greek taxi driver. His wife is Canadian (sidenote from Bonnie: HE LOVED CANADIANS), his son is Kristopher (Greek Name) Robert (Scottish name), and is a barber, and his daughter's name is Anastasia Ursula, and is an architect in London. We didn't ask, but thats good to know. Corfu is mountainous, so the roads are winding and steep, and he told us all of this while going way to fast up and down and around and avoiding rockslides. He told us all about the island and how it has the largest olive trees in the world, and how some are like a thousand years old, and he even stopped and made us get out when we came to a scenic vista! (sidenote from Bonnie: He also told us that before you marry a boy from Corfu, check how many olive trees he had….cause you would be picking them for life) Best taxi driver so far, I'd say, but for some reason, Bonnie didn't tip him 100% (sidenote from Bonnie: I was short on cash….SOMEONE ELSE had my tip money). 

We made it to the Pink Palace and were greeted by Emma, who is from England, with some good news and some bad news. The bad news was that there was a power outage, so there was no electricity in the hostel, and therefore no hot water (NO SHOWERS). That would happen. And then she told us more bad news: that we were the only guests checked-in to this hostel. This, the largest hostel I had ever been at (it has capacity for 1200 people!) had 0 guests that weren't named Neil or Bonnie. And then.... o ya there was no good news. (sidenote from Bonnie: Mr. Pessimistic over here saw no good news….I saw a bed and also the fact that I WAS IN GREECE….I think at this time Neil was too spoilt of enjoying the little things :P)So we were kind of like "Okay, oh well, we are in Greece!" And then she was like "It's definitely gonna rain the next few days the entire time..." Enough with the bad news Emma! We were just happy to have stopped moving. We had taken pretty much every type of transportation possible in the last two days: planes, trains, and automobiles, buses ferries, and taxis. Now we could enjoy the mild weather and relax. 

Though there wasn't anyone staying at the hostel, Emma did tell us that the employees (of which there were many, especially for an empty hostel) were like a family, and we were now a part of the family, so we wouldn't be bored. 

We went down to the beautiful sandy beach and there we saw what had drawn us to Greece in the first place. Fine sand, azure waters (i THINK that is a colour), and sun! There was also a huge rock out in the water which was more like a piece of the mountain that had been separated from it over time by the water and wind, and I ended up taking about three dozen pictures of it. (sidenote from Bonnie: Here I had a valiant battle with Poseidon, the waves were so big that they would go all the way to the wall making it almost impossible to not get your shoes wet…but once I taught him a lesson he backed off a bit)

As we were walking down to another part of the village to see the sunset over the Adriatic, we came upon two people (the first two people we had seen in the whole village), a guy and a girl. The girl greeted us with "Hey, are you the Peggers?" I hadn't met anyone who would know what this term meant in months, so I didn't even understand what she was asking (no one outside of Winnipeg knows that term), until she clarified "Are you from Winnipeg?". As you know, we were! But what you don't know, is that SO WAS SHE! Amanda was her name and she was from North Kildonan! We couldn't believe what a small world this was, running into someone from our hometown, halfway around the world. There were like 15 people in this village and three of them were from Winnipeg. Representin'! The guy was Pete Pierce, with the coolest British accent ever, and they were both working at the hostel. 

So, the hostel cost 25 euro per night, which, at the time, was one of the more expensive hostels I had stayed at (and it didn't even have electricity, which is usually on my list of must-haves). However, that 25 euro included three full meals a day. That night, we got the first of those meals, and it was so much more than I expected. We got Greek salad of course (although in Greece i think they call it "Our Salad"...), and we got Greek style spaghetti, which was amazing, and we got endless (FREE) bread, and we got mashed potatoes and wine and other stuff that I can't remember because it was gone as soon as the plate touched the table. 

That night we hung out with all the employees (I'll try my best: Erik from Minnesota, Chris from the UK, Nick from California, George from Greece, Chef from Greece, Emma from the UK, Pete from the UK, and Amanda from Winnipeg) (sidenote from Bonnie: and Susie and her boyfriend from Hungry!) at the bar in the hostel, and truly were a part of the family. At about 8pm, the lights came on! I waited another ten minutes just to make sure I had adequate hot water, and then showered and it was absolutely amazing (sidenote from Bonnie: We were both finally clean!). 

We stayed up pretty late, so the next day we let ourselves sleep in, and savoured the happiness that came in bed form for as long as possible. You take beds for granted until you attempt to do three countries in 12 days and proper sleeping patterns take a backseat. 

In the afternoon, we set out on a walk, to find a little cove that Bonnie had been told about the night before. It drizzled on and off, but lucky for us, I still had my trusty 3euro umbrella from Rome! It had barely survived Tarifa, but there was thankfully no wind today. We climbed the steep slopes of the mountain and did our best to make our way down to the waters edge. (sidenote from Bonnie: And since it was Valentines of course Neil picked me a flower….that I did not accidentally squish and put dirty socks on at a later time) We got a few more pictures of the rock and a good look at the homes that dotted the coast. We never did find the cove that we were looking for, but it was a great hike all the same. We went back to the hostel and Bonnie got to study for the exams that she had to write as soon as she got home. 

We had not just become real-life friends with the Pink Palace Team, we had become something so much more: Facebook friends. I looked at Amanda's profile and saw that we had a mutual friend! This wasn't just any mutual friend either, it was my cousin! I asked her how in the world she knew my cousin and she was like, "Ya, we dated in Gr. 8". And they were still friends too! NOW, it was a small world! Just went to a Greek island with like nobody on it and happened to bump into my cousin's ex-girlfriend. haha.

We chilled out for the rest of the day. This was a vacation from school for Bonnie - a pre-examination rejuvenation situation (in the Greek nation), you might say- and a vacation from my vacation for me. A chance to relax, and not do anything, as often as possible. 

That night, as we were enjoying our 5 star supper (sidenote from Bonnie: topped off with free wine and candle light) - just like any other day - the unthinkable happened. Someone else checked into the hostel. Meet Kasper. Kasper is from Denmark and used to work at this hostel years ago, and now comes back every single year for a week at a time. Kasper was an interesting dude to talk to. He is in the Danish military. He has been to BRANDON, MB for top secret training operations or something, and he has also fought in Afghanistan, so we heard some really interesting stories. I don't think Bonnie or I have ever met anyone who has been to Afghanistan. We talked to Kasper for a while, he let us use his computer for the interwebs, and he helped us plan the next day of our adventures!

The next day we said farewell to our Big Fat Greek Hostel (we would have said it in Greek, but all we had learned how to say was the word for cheers [Yamas!]), and all of the new friends that we had made, and headed into Corfu Town to see what there was to see, before catching our ferry back to the mainland. Corfu Town was a beautiful old city, with an old town plunked in between two large castle fortresses. We toured one castle, walked through the old town, and watched all the people flying kites, because it was Clean Monday, and that is the natural thing to do on Clean Monday, fly a kite. 

We walked onto our ferry, and took pictures of the beautiful island as we sailed away from it. We sat on the top deck, and it was so nice and sunny, I think I may have tanned a little bit (sidenote from Bonnie: he also may have gotten a bruise from falling down the stairs and we also made an excellent rendition of I’m on a boat!) A group of teenagers came up to the top and talked in Greek for a little while near us. After a while, a couple brave girls came over and asked us, in English where we were from. We talked to the group of Greek teens the whole way back to Igoumenitsa. They wanted to know what Canada was like, they were impressed by how good our English was, (I was more impressed by their English and Greek and other languages), and they said we had beautiful eyes. I liked these Greeks. One of their dad's drew us a map showing us how to get to the ferry terminal that would take us to Italy. 

We arrived back on the mainland and (using our map!) walked to the ferry terminal that would take us to Italy. We bought our tickets and boarded yet another ferry (sidenote from Bonnie: At this time I broke up with Neil using songs….I let him down easy), this one taking us to Ancona, Italy, which is about at where the top of the calf would be, if there was a leg in the boot that is Italy. 

This ferry was immediately much nicer than the other one that we took from Italy, I suppose because this is a longer journey. This ferry had a restaurant, lounge, and casino, like the other ferry, but it also had a gift shop, computers and internet (which didn't work!), and was much bigger and newer looking. However, on this ferry, the airline seats had armrests - which were locked in place, so there would be no laying across three chairs to make a bed for us. We are stubborn and weren't going to let a boat stop us from getting a nice, horizontal sleep, so we slept on the floor underneath the seats. 

We asked the front desk if they would let us switch the channel on the TV to the Olympics (they had lost their channel choosing privileges after the trip over), but they declined, and we were forced to sit through two hours of some B (maybe C) movie that ended up with the main character dying and accidentally blowing up the Pentagon, and the bad guy living happily ever after. Not a happy ending to a movie that didn't have much going for it from the start. (sidenote from Bonnie: Keep in mind this movie was played in Italian….so we had a lot of fun making up our own story line to the movie……I think our story line was better).I promptly fell asleep and slept on and off for the rest of the journey. 

We arrived at the port of Ancona and were officially in Italy again! We were ready to explore some of Italy and then see something totally different than where we had just been, the mountains of Switzerland.

Tags: aewsome., ancona, bonnie schott, corfu, corfu town, greece, italy, neil loewen




I can't wait for more of the story!! Also I object to that umbrella being referred to as trusty...the only thing you can trust it to do is break!

  Alice Apr 8, 2010 8:02 AM


I knew someone else out there had my name but I see that you are not me (I am an X-Pegger). sounds like you have had a grand adventure! best of luck on your future travels!

  Neil Loewen Apr 9, 2010 6:03 AM


as if there are (were) two neil loewen's in winnipeg! i guess that's where all the loewens are though

  neil_loewen Apr 9, 2010 6:04 AM



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