Kerkyra, Corfu, Greece

Set atop a rocky peninsula, the most famous castle on the island – Palaio Frourio (The Old Castle) -- was built by the Venetians and was reclaimed by the Greeks in 1864, Kerkyra, Corfu

Set atop a rocky peninsula, the most famous castle on the island – Palaio Frourio (The Old Castle) — was built by the Venetians and was reclaimed by the Greeks in 1864, Kerkyra, Corfu, Greece

 

To think of Corfu is to think of a stunning Greek landscape with beaches on the Ionian Sea lapped by indigo waters, green hillsides draped in subtropical flora, and endless patches of gnarled, centuries-old olive trees.  Known by its Greek name Kerkyra, the island displays centuries of Venetian rule in its architecture and its local history, along with Turkish, British, and French influences.  Kerkyra (Corfu) Old Town was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Historically, Kerkyra (Corfu) is different from the rest of Greece:  “Corfu completely escaped the oppressive effects of Ottoman Turkish rule during its nearly 400-year occupation of most of the rest of Greece.  Therefore, it belongs, as no other place in Greece, to the West, rather than to the Levant.” — www.grekomania.com

 

Designed as a symbol of the old Corfu aristocratic society, the Liston – an arched colonnade -- remains a significant landmark of Corfu, Greece

Designed as a symbol of the old Corfu aristocratic society, the Liston – an arched colonnade — remains a significant landmark of Corfu, Greece; it was built in 1807 by Lesseps, an engineer whose son opened the Suez Canal, and emulates the arcade-lined rue de Rivoli in Paris and houses several coffee shops, boutiques, and restaurants

 

The main clock tower, Kerkyra, Corfu, Greece

The main clock tower, Kerkyra, Corfu, Greece

 

Little Known Fact: Famous for having more than three million olive trees, some more than 400 years old, Corfu produces 3% of the world’s olive oil.  It is said that there are 20 olive trees for every woman, man, and child on the island.

 

With a group of friends we had a tasty, typical Greek cuisine luncheon at the Bougainville Restaurant (named for all the flowering bougainvillea plants), Kerkyra, Corfu, Greece

With a group of friends we had a tasty, typical Greek cuisine luncheon at the Bougainville Restaurant (named for all the flowering bougainvillea plants), Kerkyra, Corfu, Greece

 

We skipped dessert at the restaurant, instead finding this excellent bakery with local Greek pastries, Kerkyra, Corfu, Greece

We skipped dessert at the restaurant, instead finding this excellent bakery with local Greek pastries, Kerkyra, Corfu, Greece

 

One of the main shopping streets in Kerkyra, Corfu, Greece, where there were many purchases by our group

One of the main shopping streets in Kerkyra, Corfu, Greece, where there were many purchases by our group

 

Many stores selling jewelry also sold religious paintings and icons, Kerkyra, Corfu, Greece

Many stores selling jewelry also sold religious paintings and icons, Kerkyra, Corfu, Greece

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2018 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

Gaïos, Paxos Island, Greece

Gaïos on the small island of Paxos, Greece, is surrounded by turquoise waters and back-dropped by thriving olive groves and ife centers around the busy waterfront

Gaïos on the small island of Paxos, Greece, is surrounded by turquoise waters and back-dropped by thriving olive groves and ife centers around the busy waterfront

 

Wrapped around a horseshoe-shaped harbor, the postcard capital of Gaïos on the small island of Paxos, Greece, is surrounded by turquoise waters and back-dropped by thriving olive groves.  Life centers around the busy waterfront where sleek yachts rest alongside fishing boats and open-air cafés, and lively tavernas fill the brightly painted 19th-century buildings around the main square.  One day in Gaïos, with a small group from the ship, we chartered an excursion boat and sailed around Paxos Island and then south to the neighboring island of Antipaxoi.  There we had the opportunity to take a swim.  Afterwards we pulled up to Vrika Beach on the isle of Antipaxoi where we went ashore and had a relaxing luncheon under umbrellas on the terrace of a local restaurant overlooking the beach and sparkling blue waters of the bay.

 

Agioi Apostoli (Holy Apostles) church is said to have been built on the location of the tomb of Agios Gaïos who was responsible for bringing Christianity to the island; the church —

Agioi Apostoli (Holy Apostles) church is said to have been built on the location of the tomb of Agios Gaïos who was responsible for bringing Christianity to the island; the church — albeit small — is located on the Gaïos waterfront and features interesting religious frescoes and an old cistern; Paxos Island, Greece

 

Sleek yachts rest alongside fishing boats and open-air cafés, Gaïos, Paxos Island, Greece

Sleek yachts rest alongside fishing boats and open-air cafés, Gaïos, Paxos Island, Greece

 

An interesting landform (reminiscent of a camel?) as we sailed around Paxos Island, Greece

An interesting landform (reminiscent of a camel?) as we sailed around Paxos Island, Greece

 

Local fishing boats, Gaïos, Paxos Island, Greece

Local fishing boats, Gaïos, Paxos Island, Greece

 

Vrika Beach on the isle of Antipaxoi where we went ashore and had a relaxing luncheon under umbrellas on the terrace of a local restaurant overlooking the beach and sparkling blue waters

Vrika Beach on the isle of Antipaxoi where we went ashore and had a relaxing luncheon under umbrellas on the terrace of a local restaurant overlooking the beach and sparkling blue waters of the bay, Greece

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2018 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

Cook Local and Eat Local: Chez Vassiliki, Karavados, Kefalonia Island, Greece

Our hosts and chefs, Vassiliki and George, at Chez Vassiliki cooking school, Karavados, Kefalonia Island, Greece

Our hosts and chefs, Vassiliki and George, at Chez Vassiliki cooking school, Karavados, Kefalonia Island, Greece

 

Since we weren’t fortunate enough to have a Greek mama or yia-yia to teach us traditional Greek cooking, we signed up for a Greek cooking class on Kefalonia Island.  We joined a small group from the ship and were driven about an hour from the pier in Fiskardo all the way south on Kefalonia to the small hamlet of Karavados, tucked away on the lower slopes of mount Aenos, to the home of Vassiliki and George, world travelers and hosts at Chez Vassiliki cooking school.  Mrs. Vassiliki welcomed us to her home with a glass of Greek ouzo and snacks while she described their lesson plan.  Using locally sourced ingredients, we all got to help prepare several dishes over the next few hours.  After we completed our cooking, we pitched in for plating and adjourned to the terrace where we shared the meal we had helped prepare, along with some (i.e., many) glasses of local wine.  On the drive back to Fiskardo and the ship’s pier, we had a chance to stop at the overlook on the road above picturesque Myrtos Beach (featured in the film Captain Corelli’s Mandolin).

 

From its elevated position on the south coast of the island, the terrace at Chez Vassiliki commands a spectacular panoramic view over the Ionian Sea, Karavados, Kefalonia Island, Greece

From its elevated position on the south coast of the island, the terrace at Chez Vassiliki commands a spectacular panoramic view over the Ionian Sea, Karavados, Kefalonia Island, Greece

 

Mrs. Vassiliki welcomed us to her home with a glass of Greek ouzo and snacks (tomatoes and feta cheese) while she described their lesson plan, Chez Vassiliki, Karavados, Kefalonia Island

Mrs. Vassiliki welcomed us to her home with a glass of Greek ouzo and snacks (tomatoes and feta cheese) while she described their lesson plan, Chez Vassiliki, Karavados, Kefalonia Island, Greece

 

Cooking herbs as the base for the main course, chicken with egg-lemon sauce (Avgolemono sauce), Chez Vassiliki, Karavados, Kefalonia Island, Greece

Cooking herbs as the base for the main course, chicken with egg-lemon sauce (Avgolemono sauce), Chez Vassiliki, Karavados, Kefalonia Island, Greece

 

Vassiliki and George demonstrating the making of lamb meatballs and the egg-lemon sauce (Avgolemono sauce), Chez Vassiliki, Karavados, Kefalonia Island, Greece

Vassiliki and George demonstrating the making of lamb meatballs and the egg-lemon sauce (Avgolemono sauce), Chez Vassiliki, Karavados, Kefalonia Island, Greece

 

One of the final dishes (that we ate!)- lamb meatballs with tomatoes and feta cheese, Chez Vassiliki, Karavados, Kefalonia Island, Greece

One of the final dishes (that we ate!): lamb meatballs with tomatoes and feta cheese, Chez Vassiliki, Karavados, Kefalonia Island, Greece

 

One of the final dishes (that we ate!)- chicken with egg-lemon sauce (Avgolemono sauce), Chez Vassiliki, Karavados, Kefalonia Island, Greece

One of the final dishes (that we ate!): chicken with egg-lemon sauce (Avgolemono sauce), Chez Vassiliki, Karavados, Kefalonia Island, Greece

 

One of the final dishes (that we ate!)- a liquor-soaked cake (desert), Chez Vassiliki, Karavados, Kefalonia Island, Greece

One of the final dishes (that we ate!): a liquor-soaked cake (desert), Chez Vassiliki, Karavados, Kefalonia Island, Greece

 

Picturesque Myrtos Beach (featured in the film Captain Corelli_s Mandolin), Kefalonia Island, Greece

Picturesque Myrtos Beach (featured in the film Captain Corelli’s Mandolin), Kefalonia Island, Greece

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2018 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

Fiskardo, Kefalonia Island and Ithaca Island (mythical home of Odysseus), Greece

Fiskardo, located on Kefalonia Island, Greece, epitomizes the postcard-worthy beauty and tranquility of the Greek islands

Fiskardo, located on Kefalonia Island, Greece, epitomizes the postcard-worthy beauty and tranquility of the Greek islands

 

Located on the island of Kefalonia, Fiskardo epitomizes the postcard-worthy beauty and tranquility of the Greek islands.  Pebbly beaches front the Ionian Sea, flowers flow over pastel buildings, yachts and small fishing boats ring the waterfront, and friendly taverns serve local cuisine.  Water sports oriented visitors can snorkel the coves of Emblisi Beach or dive the wrecks and caves around the island’s coast.  Others may lounge on picturesque Myrtos Beach (featured in the film Captain Corelli’s Mandolin), or swim at remote (and local favorite) Agia Ierousalim Beach.  Other popular activities include hiking in Mt. Ainos National Park, biking through valleys and the Mediterranean countryside, and exploring the depths of Melissani Cave.  Venetian-style architecture sprinkled throughout the town is a reminder that Fiskardo is the island’s only village to have survived the 1953 earthquake.

 

Boats in the harbor of Fiskardo, Kefalonia Island, Greece

Boats in the harbor of Fiskardo, Kefalonia Island, Greece

 

From Fiskardo on Kefalonia, we set sail directly east to the island of Ithaca, the mythical home of Odysseus (documented by the Greek poet Homer in his Odyssey), Greece

From Fiskardo on Kefalonia, we set sail directly east to the island of Ithaca, the mythical home of Odysseus (documented by the Greek poet Homer in his Odyssey), Greece

 

We ventured out for the day with a small group on a chartered motor boat to visit the nearby (just to the east) island of Ithaca, the mythical home of Odysseus (of Greek legend), where he was king of the Island (documented by the Greek poet Homer in his Odyssey).  Docking briefly, we then set out on a late morning hike down the coast to the tiny coastal village of Frikes, nestled at the head of a narrow bay and home to just 100 or so full-time residents.  In Frikes we had a relaxing seafood luncheon under umbrellas at a harbor-side restaurant

 

Homes on a hill viewed on our hike down the east coast of Ithaca Island (mythical home of Odysseus), Greece, on the way to the tiny coastal village of Frikes

Homes on a hill viewed on our hike down the east coast of Ithaca Island (mythical home of Odysseus), Greece, on the way to the tiny coastal village of Frikes

 

The tiny coastal village of Frikes, nestled at the head of a narrow bay and home to just 100 or so full-time residents, Ithaca Island (mythical home of Odysseus), Greece

The tiny coastal village of Frikes, nestled at the head of a narrow bay and home to just 100 or so full-time residents, Ithaca Island (mythical home of Odysseus), Greece

 

Sailboats in the harbor of Frikes, Ithaca Island (mythical home of Odysseus), Greece

Sailboats in the harbor of Frikes, Ithaca Island (mythical home of Odysseus), Greece

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2018 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

Lipari, Italy (2018)

A popular summer retreat, Lipari, Italy, is the largest isle in the idyllic Aeolian archipelago; its ancient volcanic history has earned it a place on UNESCO_s World Heritage List

A popular summer retreat, Lipari, Italy, is the largest isle in the idyllic Aeolian archipelago; its ancient volcanic history has earned it a place on UNESCO’s World Heritage List

 

The largest isle in the idyllic Aeolian archipelago, Lipari, Italy’s ancient volcanic history has earned it a place on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.  Sharing its name, the island’s main town (population 11,000) is home to the Museo Archeologico Regionale Eoliano and the chiostro Normanno (Norman cloisters) in the Cattedrale di San Bartolomeo.  A popular summer retreat, daytime pursuits include diving, snorkeling or hiking through the wild countryside, followed by a colorful nightlife along the Corso Vittorio Emanuele.  Nearby Aeolian islands include Vulcano Island (where the most recent volcanic activity dates to 1890), Stomboli and Salina.

 

Located in the heart of the citadel and framed by hilltop views, Cattedrale di San Bartolomeo (the Cathedral of St. Bartholomew) was constructed in the mid-1500s and is the oldest and la

Located in the heart of the citadel and framed by hilltop views, Cattedrale di San Bartolomeo (the Cathedral of St. Bartholomew) was constructed in the mid-1500s and is the oldest and largest church in Lipari, Italy

 

The interior of Cattedrale di San Bartolomeo (the Cathedral of St. Bartholomew) features ornamented altars, frescoes, and a silver statue of St. Bartholomew, Lipari_s patron saint., Li

The interior of Cattedrale di San Bartolomeo (the Cathedral of St. Bartholomew) features ornamented altars, frescoes, and a silver statue of St. Bartholomew, Lipari’s patron saint, Lipari, Italy

 

The view from an arched window in Castello di Lipari (Lipari Castle), Lipari, Italy

The view from an arched window in Castello di Lipari (Lipari Castle), Lipari, Italy

 

Locked door, Lipari, Italy

Locked door, Lipari, Italy

 

Little Known Fact: At the top of the list next to pumice and Malvasia wine, capers are one of the region’s most popular products and widely used (often with fresh tuna) in Aeolian cooking.  Considered to be the best in the world, Aeolian capers are picked by hand, one by one, covered with sea salt and later with oil.

 

A side street in the main part of Lipari, Italy, with both residences and shops at the far end

A side street in the main part of Lipari, Italy, with both residences and shops at the far end

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2018 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

Hiking the Amalfi Coast, Italy

Hiking the Amalfi Coast, Italy, #1 – the town of Amalfi, viewed from the east

Hiking the Amalfi Coast, Italy, #1 – the town of Amalfi, viewed from the east

 

On our third day anchored off shore from Amalfi, Italy, a group of us took the tender into the pier in Amalfi and then headed east for a hike along, and up, the Amalfi Coast.  We gained a very different perspective from the day before when we were out on the water, moving quickly along the coast, somewhat removed from the details of the villages and natural wonders of the coast.

 

Hiking the Amalfi Coast, Italy, #2

Hiking the Amalfi Coast, Italy, #2

 

Hiking the Amalfi Coast, Italy, #3

Hiking the Amalfi Coast, Italy, #3

 

Hiking the Amalfi Coast, Italy, #4 -- the Amalfi coast is famed for its production of Limoncello liqueur and the area is a known cultivator of lemons

Hiking the Amalfi Coast, Italy, #4 — the Amalfi coast is famed for its production of Limoncello liqueur and the area is a known cultivator of lemons

 

“The Amalfi coast is famed for its production of Limoncello liqueur and the area is a known cultivator of lemons.  The correct name is sfusato amalfitano, and they are typically long and at least double the size of other lemons, with a thick and wrinkled skin and a sweet and juicy flesh without many pips.  It is common to see lemons growing in the terraced gardens along the entire Amalfi coast between February and October.” — Wikipedia

 

Hiking the Amalfi Coast, Italy, #5 – lemon groves terraced on the steep hillside of the coast east of the village of Amalfi

Hiking the Amalfi Coast, Italy, #5 – lemon groves terraced on the steep hillside of the coast east of the village of Amalfi

 

Hiking the Amalfi Coast, Italy, #6 -- from its forested cliffs to its sparkling blue sea and the winding roads in between, the Amalfi Coast is one of Italy_s great natural wonders

Hiking the Amalfi Coast, Italy, #6 — from its forested cliffs to its sparkling blue sea and the winding roads in between, the Amalfi Coast is one of Italy’s great natural wonders

 

Hiking the Amalfi Coast, Italy, #7 -- our ship shrouded in the coastal fog

Hiking the Amalfi Coast, Italy, #7 — our ship shrouded in the coastal fog

 

Hiking the Amalfi Coast, Italy, #8 – returning to the village of Amalfi, we had an outstanding luncheon at an off-the-beaten-path (and not in the guide books) ristorante, Taverna Buonv

Hiking the Amalfi Coast, Italy, #8 – returning to the village of Amalfi, we had an outstanding luncheon at an off-the-beaten-path (and not in the guide books) ristorante, Taverna Buonvicino, including some great pastas

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2018 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

Sailing the Amalfi Coast and the Island of Capri, Italy

The Amalfi Coast, Italy, #1 – “the mountains and sea cliffs are dotted with pastel confections of holiday homes and sumptuous villas, which have elevated the coastline to one of the

The Amalfi Coast, Italy, #1 – “the mountains and sea cliffs are dotted with pastel confections of holiday homes and sumptuous villas, which have elevated the coastline to one of the most fabulous and unique destinations in the world” — http://www.travelandleisure.com

 

On our second day anchored off shore from Amalfi, Italy, a group of us chartered a motor launch to sail around the Amalfi Coast and cross the bay to the Island of Capri for a late afternoon visit.  The scenery is spectacular and we had a chance to dock at a seafood restaurant for a nice local cuisine luncheon in a small village along the Amalfi Coast.  Unfortunately (for some members of our group) we didn’t have enough time to do some serious shopping on Capri.

 

The Amalfi Coast, Italy, #2 – one of many small coves that hide a local beach

The Amalfi Coast, Italy, #2 – one of many small coves that hide a local beach

 

The Amalfi Coast, Italy, #3 – a nice perch for a hotel; check out the walking path down the left side from the hotel to the water!

The Amalfi Coast, Italy, #3 – a nice perch for a hotel; check out the walking path down the left side from the hotel to the water!

 

The Amalfi Coast, Italy, #4 -- the town of Positano

The Amalfi Coast, Italy, #4 — the town of Positano

 

The Amalfi Coast, Italy, #5 -- a typical beach (and hotel-restaurant) along the coast

The Amalfi Coast, Italy, #5 — a typical beach (and hotel/restaurant) along the coast

 

Capri (Island), Italy, #1

Capri (Island), Italy, #1

 

Capri (Island), Italy, #2 -- the famous arch just offshore Capri, with the island still partially shrouded in fog, mid-afternoon

Capri (Island), Italy, #2 — the famous arch just offshore Capri, with the island still partially shrouded in fog, mid-afternoon

 

Capri (Island), Italy, #3

Capri (Island), Italy, #3

 

Capri (Island), Italy, #4 – a shopper_s paradise in the town on top of the hill (island)

Capri (Island), Italy, #4 – a shopper’s paradise in the town on top of the hill (island)

 

Capri (Island), Italy, #5 – your blogger relaxing on the boat on the way back to Amalfi

Capri (Island), Italy, #5 – your blogger relaxing on the boat on the way back to Amalfi

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2018 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.