Our sail into the city of Corfu was an unforgettable experience. We’d booked a berth at the Corfu Sailing Club marina, located under the old fortress and city walls in Mandraki Bay. Entering a city from the water is always special but sailing into Corfu town is truly extraordinary.
Our berth was a few steps from the café and other marina facilities and gave us a front row view of the beautiful old city wall. Directly above us on top of the wall was the Music Campus of the Ionian University. Each day the students would practice, sometimes continuing into the evening. The music seemed to cascade down the walls to the marina and quickly became the soundtrack to our daily routine. It was a lovely experience at first, but by the time we left the sound of piano scales playing over and over became a little less lovely.
On the first evening we went for a stroll into the old town, which is accessed through an old iron gate in the wall to the grounds of the fortress and then across the moat. Although we’d visited on our last trip we were still awestruck by its history, beauty and grandeur, albeit a little faded and shabby. As it was a Sunday evening most retail shops were closed but the restaurants were open and bustling with locals out for a family dinner after their walk around the town, as well as visitors like us.
We spent the next day hanging about the marina, swimming at a nearby beach and trying to fix our dinghy which had become more of a challenge than we’d anticipated. That night we ate in the old Italian section of the city enjoying some very nice pasta and pizza – a pleasant change from Greek food. The shops were all open late and busy with locals and tourists making the most of the warm evening.
We checked out of the Corfu Sailing Club the next morning and headed for Gouvia Marina, a short sail north. We’d finally conceded that our dinghy was beyond repair. Gouvia Marina is huge with many boat shops and facilities nearby. Although it feels a little soulless it was the perfect place to find our replacement dinghy. Another bonus was the nearby laundry service.
The next morning with our new dinghy proudly secured to the stern we motored an hour north to Agni Bay. This small bay has three restaurants, each with their own pier, and so is known to us as ‘restaurant bay’. As you approach, the staff come out and help tie you on to the pier with the assumption that you will eat at their restaurant. On our last visit we went to the first pier belonging to Nikolas’ tavern and liked it so much we hoped it would again be available. Unfortunately, a very large catamaran beat us to it, so we settled for the second pier. We had a very nice lunch at Toula’s restaurant but it was a little more up-market and formal than we’d expected.
Rather than stay for the evening we continued sailing north to Kalimi Bay which is the location of the house used in The Durrell’s television series. We’re all fans of the series so were eager to see it. The house is now a restaurant and hotel called The White House and we’d planned to have dinner there and stay overnight in the bay, but it looked so different to the house in the series that we didn’t even bother getting off the boat.
We continued on to Stefanos Bay, another favourite from our last visit. It has a restaurant on the pebbly beach called Eucalyptus as it sits beneath a couple of large gum trees. The bay is well protected from the wind and is charming, so we dropped anchor. We spent the rest of the afternoon swimming and kayaking and watching the small motorboats coming and going from the bay. In the evening we took our new dinghy across to Eucalyptus for dinner and then wandered through the small town. After two nights we reluctantly lifted anchor and headed back to Corfu town. We loved Stefanos Bay and could’ve very happily spent another week on anchor but there were a few more islands we wanted to explore.
We’d been contemplating buying a paddleboard for the boat and decided Corfu town would be the best place to find one. This time we berthed in the old town quay as it was closer to the shops. After a long, hot trudge through the noisy back streets of the town we found one that was inexpensive and perfect for our needs. It was the last in the shop and needed to be deflated before the salesman could give it to us. We were not looking forward to the walk back carrying the board and noticed the shop delivery van pull up out front. Could he leave it inflated and deliver it to the boat for us, we asked? He happily agreed as he didn’t want to have to pack it up. A win for us both! Our new boat toy is now on board and we’re back on anchor in Lakka Bay on Paxos giving it a spin.
Sailing out of Corfu town made us a little sad. We were in constant awe of this beautiful island and felt so very fortunate to be back there again on Izabela after the restrictions and uncertainty of the last few years. At least once a day one of us will say ‘how lucky are we?’ as we feel so blessed to be here and will never take it for granted.