Singapore and Home

Thursday 17 September 2015

The Stamford Swissotel is ideally positioned above the considerable Raffles City Shopping Centre, which is fabulous for both eating and shopping – two things that Singapore does best.

In Italy we had lots of pizza, pasta and risotto. In Singapore, it’s time for soups, noodles and rice.  For breakfast we head down to the basement food court and start the day with a Vietnamese Sliced Beef Pho.

H is not feeling well so while he heads back to the room to rest I hit the shops.  Two pairs of shoes, a few tops, shorts and dresses later I call it quits as I’m not going to get anything more in our luggage home.

That night we dine at our favourite Din Tai Fung and then head outside for the first time all day to check out the preparations for the Singapore Grand Prix which is set to start tomorrow.  The final touches are being put in place – barriers are up, merchandise stalls are stocked, entrance gates are installed.  But tonight we are free to wander the enclosures and imagine what tomorrow will bring.

Singapore Grand Prix – Gate 3

The Merchandise

The Rules

The Track

Alas for us tomorrow brings the end of our trip and another long flight home.

Once home we are check the house for damage and find the pool a merky green.  There is a pair of men’s undies stuck in the filter box. What on earth has been happening while we have been away?  Actually, on second thoughts, ignorance is bliss – I don’t want to know!

That does not look right!

 

Milan – Dubai – Singapore

Tuesday 15 – Wednesday 16 September 2015

Have you ever noticed that the feeling of dread you have when faced with mammoth flight.   Something like … Milan to Dubai 6 hours, 5 hour layover, Dubai to Singapore 7 hours 15 minutes plus travelling to and from the airport, checking process and waiting at both ends.  Then add the fact that you are going home after a wonderful holiday.  Its enough to bring you to tears!

I have two brilliant strategies to counteract the suicidal feeling.  Firstly, fly business class and secondly have a two night layover in Singapore.

Emirates business class is the way to go!  The complementary limo picks us up precisely on time and delivers us efficiently at the Malpensa airport.  We check in and then are delighted to discover that the La Scala Theatre company is rehearsing at the airport – something to do with the Milan World Expo.

Before the flight we get to relax in the Emirates lounge and enjoy the facilities and a couple of glasses of Champagne before boarding the long flight to Singapore.

It almost makes flying bearable!

With the 2 flights and the 5 hour layover in Dubai we loose an entire day and arrive in Singapore at 3:00pm the following day.  Customs processing is smooth and the Emirates limo takes us to The Stamford Swissotel at City Hall, where we have stayed on our last visit to the city state.

Our room at The Stamford Swissotel

As we have both managed to get some sleep on the flight and are not too shattered, but in desperate need to stretch our legs we decide to brave the Singapore steam and walk down to Chinatown for a beer and visit the TinTin shop as we always do.  As always in Singapore I am fascinated by the juxtaposition of narrow alleys with traditional two storey shop fronts, antique air-conditioners poking out from every available space, huddled under sleek architectural designed towers.

Back allies and skyscrapers

Then it’s time for the famous Singapore Chili Crab – this time we are trying Jumbo on the Riverwalk at Clark Quay.  They don’t have a table for two, so we are ushered to a large room at the back of the restaurant where there are two large tables set up.  We have the room to ourselves, but it does not stay this way for long.  Two by two all the seats are taken by fellow diners – some tourists, some local.

Prepping for a feast of crab

The Chili Crab is fabulous, but we are now flagging fast.  So it’s back to the hotel to crash for the night.

Shopping in Milan

Monday 14 September 2015

It is our last day in Europe and we need to get a bit of shopping in.  But first we need to get rid of the hire car.

It’s another dreary morning with a slow drizzle as we make our way to Monza, the town made famous by car racing.  I know nothing, but H is full of racing facts to keep me entertained (all of which I promptly forget).  The car is soon safely delivered and we are heading back to Milan for the day.

We are dropped off at the heart of the fashion district and we ooh and aah over the goods displayed in the windows and gasp over the prices.  Not to sound trite, but really! 3000 euro for a pair of sandals?  We head to the mens shop Barba to buy a couple of quality shirts for Howard, and for me a cute paid of grey suede ankle boots from Geox.

Barba Napoli

Barba Napoli

Having skipped breakfast we are keen for lunch and select a restaurant, down a side street that seems to be favoured by local business men.  We sit down and enjoy and extortionately priced pizza and a few glasses of wine.  The restaurant reminds me of a French bistro but for the menu, and politely curt service in Italian.

Pizza for lunch

Pizza for lunch

No trip to Milan is complete without a visit to the Duomo and it’s ginormous square.  The last time we were in Milan the Pope was also in town and the cathedral square was packed with tens of thousands of people.  We consider doing a tour of the Duomo but there is a line up to buy tickets and then another line up to get in.  Ummm no thanks.

Duomo Milano

Duomo Milano

We then walk through the glamorous Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and then rest our feet at Piazza della Scala which fronts the famous La Scala Theatre.  Joan Sutherland won fame here! I must say that after the grandeur of the Duomo and Galleria, La Scala is a bit of a disappointment.  I guess anywhere else it would be an impressive building, but in Milan it struggles.  Luckily what happens inside is magic.  Note to self: next time in Milan to and see and opera.

La Scala Theatre

La Scala Theatre

We wander through the streets doing more window shopping but my enthusiasm is waining and my feet aching so I drag H away (boy he loves to window shop) and we taxi back to the hotel.

Late in the afternoon we nip back across the road to the shopping centre for a light meal and a few last minute presents.  My task tonight is to repack our luggage with all our new purchases – luckily no wine purchases this trip.

Return to Milan

Sunday 13 September 2015

Today is a relatively sedate day – we are returning to Milan for a few days before flying home.

When we wake up there is a heavy cloud hanging over the mountain and a steady drizzle.  Great – perfect Autostrada weather!  There is nothing like hurtling down the Autostrada at 130 km plus per hour, in the rain, in a little rental car, in a foreign country on the wrong side of the road.  What fun!

Misty morning at Hotel Relais Montemarino, Borgomale

Misty morning at Hotel Relais Montemarino, Borgomale

It’s an ironic moment when after the high speed drive we are stuck at a toll for ½ hour.  The toll gate is 20 lanes wide and there are only 2 gates with autotags (prepaid beeper thingies). The line up to pay (cash or card) is about 30 cars deep! Crazy!

Cue for the Autostrada toll

Cue for the Autostrada toll

We are approaching Milan from the south east and need to traverse to the north west to our hotel in Sesto San Giovanni half way between Milan and Monza.  The World Expo is currently being held in Milan and the price of hotel accommodation is sky high, so I’ve chosen a hotel in a renovated monastery on the outskirts of Milan.

Traffic in Milan is a bit of a challenge (still raining and relying on Stravros), luckily its Sunday, and we make it to the Grand Hotel Villa Torretta Milano, park the car, check in and are shown to our cozy room in the attic.

Watch you head H – that roof is pretty low in areas.

Grand Hotel Villa Torretta Milano

Grand Hotel Villa Torretta Milano

Our room - Grand Hotel Villa Torretta Milano

Our room – Grand Hotel Villa Torretta Milano

Just across the road is a small shopping centre so we head over to peruse the shops and grab a light late lunch.

For dinner tonight we are going to the hotel restaurant, the renowned Il Vico Della Torretta.  The restaurant is a lovely surprise, every wall of every room is decorated with beautiful intricate, pastel murals and has a refined feel about it.  I have the speciality of the region Risotto Milanese, the risotto is cooked with saffron giving it a lovely golden appearance.  H has the fish which is excellent.

Entrance to Il Vico Della Torretta

Entrance to Il Vico Della Torretta

Decor at Il Vico Della Torretta

Decor at Il Vico Della Torretta

Grilled fish

Grilled fish

Risotto Milanese with Bone Marrow

Risotto Milanese with Bone Marrow

Serralunga d’Alba and Trattoria Della Posta, Monforte d’Alba

Saturday 12 September 2015

Its boots and saddles early today, if you call having breakfast at 9:00 early.

I’ve read that Serralunga d’Alba is an interesting little town and is close to our lunch reservation.  It’s another little village teetering on the top of a hill, chosen in the middle ages as an ideal location for a 12th century fortified castle. We drive to the crest of the hill to take in the view of the castle and discover that there will be a tour of the castle in about 15 minutes.  We have time to kill so we sign up.

We are given a double sided A4 laminated brochure in English for all the pertinent facts. Our tour guide the lovely Elisa leads the group around the terrace, the courtyard, the first, second and then third floors of the castle.  The history and interesting facts and features are pointed out first in Italian and then very carefully in English to us (we are the only non-Italian speakers in the group).

The castle was a very rudimentary garrison and store room for the produce collected from the surrounding area owned by the rich Falletti family.  There is a public room, chapel, safe box, secret toilet (very modern for the times), a bladed well (where the disposed of unwanted guests) and lookout.  I’m particularly interested in the graffiti showing the tally of goods received.

Castello de Serralunga

Castello de Serralunga

They were a lot smaller back in the day

They were a lot smaller back in the day

Book keeping system

Book keeping system

Medieval Safe and Elisa

Medieval Safe and Elisa

Remnants of the chapel mural

Remnants of the chapel mural

View from the top of the castle

View from the top of the castle

Overall the tour was very good and the building in remarkably condition.

Then its off to lunch to Trattoria Della Posta in Monforte D’Alba.  The restaurant is located in what looks like an old farm-house, set in a lovely garden in the country and a real treat – all crisp linen, polished silver and quiet rural charm.

Trattoria Della Posta in Monforte D'Alba

Trattoria Della Posta in Monforte D’Alba

Main dining room at Trattoria Della Posta

Main dining room at Trattoria Della Posta

The wine list is of course huge and bewildering to us, so we ask for wines by the glass to match the menu.  We choose the “Il Menu della Tradition” there is a bit lost in translation but here it is:

Il Menu della Tradizione

Il Menu della Tradizione

Howard

Howard perusing the wine list

Fabulous!

dsc_6107

Gilled peppers with cream tuna, anchovies and eggs

Gilled peppers with cream tuna, anchovies and eggs

Stuffed onion with cheese and baked Bra sweet meats

Stuffed onion with cheese and baked Bra sweet meats

Thin tagliatelle with meat ragout

Thin tagliatelle with meat ragout

Panna Cotta

Panna Cotta

On the way home I take what I think is a short cut and end up driving along a extremely narrow back road down a very steep mountain.  The road is barely 1 car wide, and winds haphazardly through hazelnut groves along cliff edges.  I would go back if I could only find a place safe enough to turn around.  But there is none to be found so we persevere, me clinging to the steering wheel and H to the door.

When we finally make it back to the hotel I need to fortify myself with a healthy dose of red wine.  Phew!

Castiglione Falletto and Barolo

Friday 11 September 2015

Today we are getting serious.  Serious about wine that is ….

We are in one of Italy’s premier wine regions but apart from admiring vineyards as we drive around and drinking some local vino we have not done the wine thing.  Today is the day to rectify this injustice.

So after another uninspired breakfast we head off.  My research tells me there is two ways to get to our first destination – the direct, windy and potentially disastrous route over mountains and through valleys or the longer less confusing way on main roads.  After experiencing the windy roads the last two days we opt for the second option.

One the way Stravos takes us on a double loop around the Alba ring road then its a short drive to Castiglione Falletto, home of Vietti – the premium winery of Piedmont.  Castiglione Falletto is one of the many hilltop fortified medieval villages of the area.  Alas we cannot get into Vietti but we get to look at a wall!  There is also a small empty castle on the very highpoint with walls that go straight up into the sky – a testament to the violent past of the area.

Casa Vietti

Casa Vietti

Castiglione Falletto

Castiglione Falletto

Castello Falletto, built 1225

Castello Falletto, built 1225

Next stop is Barolo, famous for it’s red wine production.  Barolo is bigger than Castello Falletto  and a definite must on the wine tourist map. There are bus loads of visitors milling around the cafes, wine stores and castle.  The castle here is a much more modern, stylish castle and houses a wine museum.

Castello della Volta, Barolo

Castello della Volta, Barolo

Castello della Volta, Barolo

Castello della Volta, Barolo

For lunch we are lucky to get a table at Osteria Barolando which specialises in the cuisine of the Langhe (the specific area of Piedmont we are in).  I order rabbit casserole and H selects the fillet steak with porcini mushrooms.  Tasty but not outstanding.

Lunch at Osteria Barolando, Barolo

Lunch at Osteria Barolando, Barolo

Jumping back in the car we head out of the Langhe hills, across the valley to Bra.  Its 3:00 – 3:30 on a Friday afternoon and everything, and I mean everything is closed.  Its like a ghost town with no redeeming features that we can find.  We hightail it out of their back to Alba.

The only good thing about Bra was leaving

The only good thing about Bra was leaving

H is determined to buy some tartufo tajarin – the super fine pasta of the area laced with truffles.  We cruise the main street through the old town checking out our options.  We decide on a outrageously expensive pack that is safely stored in a cardboard box (others were in a plastic bag) – essential for transporting the pasta pack to Australia in one piece.

At Plaza Michele Farrero we pick a table at one on the many cafes and order a couple of drinks.  Moments after our drinks are served we are also given a selection of nibbles – free.  There is cured meats, cheese, pasta, bread and breadsticks. Very civilised.

All this served with drinks

All this served with drinks

Later that night we decide to go back to the Spaghettoteca just up the road from our hotel.  Older and wiser we order a farmers salad and Spaghetti Carbonara to share with 1/2 litre local white wine. Our second visit in 3 days …. does this make us regulars?

Alba and Diano D’Alba

Thursday 10 September 2015

Breakfast in Italy is always interesting, its the one meal that they don’t do well!  Italians are definitely not breakfast people. After last nights massive meal at the Spaghettoteca and a fitful sleep, we unenthusiastically go to breakfast (included in our room charge). We only need tea, and coffee. Breakfast here consists of cereals, tinned fruit, yoghurt, cold cuts, boiled eggs bread and biscuits are on offer – at least the coffee is good.

Then its off down the mountain into Alba. We easily find an underground parking station on the outskirts of the old town and hit the main shopping street for some window shopping and sight seeing.

Via Vittorio Emanuele, Alba

Via Vittorio Emanuele, Alba

Local produce - wine, truffles and fungi

Local produce – wine, truffles and fungi

With wheels like this who wouldn't want to be a postie?

With wheels like this who wouldn’t want to be a postie?

Alba is a reasonable sized regional town with a number of plaza’s, a few ancient churches, a duomo and good shopping. Its also the centre of the truffle industry in Italy and has wonderful food and restaurants. Many of the buildings date from the 16th century but it’s not until we see a plaza that is being excavated and see the ancient Roman foundations that we fully understand how long Alba has been occupied.  Once again as an Australian, I’m blown away with the history.

One of the many towers of Alba - Duomo Di Alba

One of the many towers of Alba – Duomo Di Alba

Roman temple foundations - BC27

Roman temple foundations – BC27

The most interesting church is the Church of Saint Maria Maddalena inside the unassuming and neglected facade of weathered red bricks in the most beautiful little church.  The amazing baroque architecture is complemented by murals on the amazing walls and ceiling.

Chiesa di Saint Maria Maddalena

Chiesa di Saint Maria Maddalena

Beautiful murals, Chiesa di Saint Maria Maddalena

Beautiful murals, Chiesa di Saint Maria Maddalena

Crypt of Saint Maria Maddalena

Crypt of Saint Maria Maddalena

Pews, Chiesa di Saint Maria Maddalena

Pews, Chiesa di Saint Maria Maddalena

At LuiJo the Italian fashion shop I can’t resist buying a new grey handbag – definitely the colour of the season.

For a late lunch we have decided to head back into the country side to find a recommended local restaurant.  We don’t find the restaurant (thanks heaps Stavros) but do find the tiny village of Diano D’Alba.  There is hardly a person in sight and only one cafe open – certainly makes picking a place to eat easy.

Locanda d' Balista Cafe, Diano D'Alba

Locanda d’ Balista Cafe, Diano D’Alba

We wander in and take a seat. The place is quiet and only one other table occupied. After about ten minutes of anxious waiting a lady comes over, and with great charm takes our order. Relax, no need to hurry we are in Italy! Wary after last nights massive meal we only order one dish each – Gnocchi al Pomodoro for me and Tayarin all Langarola for H. Tayarin or tajarin is the local pasta speciality – a very fine fettuccine made with egg yolks and often mixed with truffles.  We also order some local wine. The pasta is simply outstanding – so simple and delicious.  What a find!

Tayarin alla Langarola - pasta with ragu

Tayarin alla Langarola – pasta with veal ragu

Then its back to our hotel via a trip to the supermarket on the outskirts of Alba – I love supermarket shopping in other countries.  There are always so many interesting things you don’t find back home.  We pick up a few items for a light meal for dinner in our room.

Back at the hotel I have a dip in the hotels indoor heated pool – its in a beautiful glasshouse.  Then we spend the night in-house watching bewildering Italian tv sipping another delightful local wine.

 

Stavros lets us down

Wednesday 9 September 2015

In the morning we explore Treviglio at leisure.  Its a delightful little town with a few impressive churches, what appears to be an arts centre and a wonderful market.

Fungi for sale at Treviglio markets

Fungi for sale at Treviglio markets

We wander around the old town centre and then meet up with S & JW.  Last night they told me they were staying in “the street with the fishes”, pretty vague instructions I thought at the time, but when we found it there was no doubt we were at the right place.

Treviglio main street

Treviglio main street

The street with the fishes

The street with the fishes

We have a long leisurely breakfast in the market square and then part ways to pack our bags for the next leg of our journey.  But first we drop Stevie and JW off at Linate airport.  Its been a very brief but totally delightfully rendezvous.

Stravros is our greek GPS that we bought in Piraeus some years ago.  Stravros has been a faithful friend to us over the years but he is getting old.  He takes for forever to get going, does not like mountains and tends to take us off on obscure tangents when faced with new roads.  Alas he cannot be relied upon to get us from A to B in the most economical way.

Armed with an old fashioned road map we decide to ignore some of Stravros’s more questionable instructions on our 2 1/2 hour trip to our hotel in Piedmont.  This only works while we are on the main freeways and roads, and after a while we have to rely on Stravros.  I must admit the route we ended up taking was a very scenic drive (if frustrating) through little villages, hills and valleys, all the twists and turns add an extra 1/2 hr to our drive.

We eventually find out way to Hotel Relais Montemarino in the hills behind Alba.  Its just off the road to Alba and looks like a very nice hotel, alas I think we have the worst room in the hotel.  On the positive side it has a very nice indoor heated pool, fabulous views across the valley, and a modest cellar of local wines that we can help ourselves to (honour system).  Unable to face any more driving around the windy hills we while away the afternoon lounging by the pool in the sun and downing a tidy bottle of local red wine.

Hotel Relais Montemarino, Borgomale

Hotel Relais Montemarino, Borgomale

Our very basic room

Our very basic room

Our tiny bathroom

Our tiny bathroom

But what a view

But what a view

Then its up the road to what we come to refer to as our local – Ristorante Campoleone Spaghettoteca.  We are early on this Wednesday night and get a table and are served straight away. By the time we leave at 9:30 its packed with locals enjoying a hearty meal after a long days work in the local vineyards and hazelnut groves.  Yes hazelnuts – we are in the heart of nutella country, yum yum.

We order a few dishes and 1/2 litre of local white wine and sit back and enjoy the atmosphere of this very rustic restaurant. Our entrées quickly appear and we are very happy with the quality (and quantity) of our dishes.  No fancy presentation or decor, just fine local produce.

Our local spagettoria

Our local spagettoria

Howard is very impressed with his parma ham

Howard is very impressed with his parma ham

Caprese Salad

Caprese Salad

When our main meals arrive we realise we are in serious trouble.  The servings are MASSIVE.  Once again very simple but delicious, but there is so much there.

Rissotto Ragu

Rissotto Ragu

Spaghetti with sausage, chilli, tomato and sweet peppers

Spaghetti with sausage, chilli, tomato and sweet peppers

Corfu Chaos and Old Friends

Tuesday 8 September 2015

After a great breakfast downstairs in the sunny front room of the hotel, we pack up and check out.  Leaving our bags at reception we walk into town for some last minute shopping before our Ryan Air flight at 2:50 pm to Milano Italy.

I’ve visited a fair number of airports in my time, but Corfu Airport takes the cake for maximum chaos.  When we arrive there are masses of people milling around, very little signage and very little organisation.  After asking a few people where is check-in we are pointed to the general area where Ryan Air usually has its counters.  Eventually a sign lights up with our flight number and we jump in the queue, there are a few different queues, more queues than there are counters actually.  Then mysteriously our flight number disappears and another flight number appears.  Our flight number reappears at the next set of counters.  The 150 or so people lined up on the other counter have to shuffle into our queue and we with another 150 or so people have to shuffle across into their queue.  People who were at the front of the line are now at the back (unhappy) and vice versa (happy).  There are a couple of airport officials half heartedly trying to push the disgruntled mob back past some invisible line and restore some order, but no-one is too interested nor is there any room to move.

Corfu Airport confusion

Corfu Airport confusion

We wait, and wait, and wait – eventually a couple of very disinterested airline employees show up and take their sweet time setting up – diligently ignoring the hopeful looks / glares from the already testy travellers.  Eventually they slowly start checking people in.  There is some complication for those who have excess baggage. They have to go to the other side of the airport to pay for excess baggage charges (which from the grumbles we take to be pretty hefty) then come back before they can check in. There is also some weird process where you check in and then have to take your bag to another line to get it x-rayed and then processed.  It’s all so badly organised.

We finally reach the front of the line – yah! Then the lady doing the checking in – just gets up, walks way and doesn’t re-appear for 15 mins.  We speculate that she was having a cigeratte break.

I’ve checked in on-line, but have not been able to print our boarding passes, so they give us hand written boarding passes.  YES – hand written!  Is that even legal?

Ever seen this before? Hand written boarding pass

Ever seen this before? Hand written boarding pass

But we are through, checked-in and on time. By all miracles the plane departs and we arrive in Milan in one piece and on schedule.

At the gates in Bergamo Airpot (Milans second airport – Malpensa being the main airport) we are greeted by our two good friends Stephen and Jan Willem, who have flown down from their home in Den Hague, Holland. They suggest we grab a celebratory drink in an airport bar to settle our nerves and catch up with the most important gossip.  What a splendid idea!

There is another long wait at the Avis counter for our car, but the good company (and settled nerves) makes it much easier to endure.  Off to Treviglio we go. Treviglio is a small country town chosen by us for its close proximity to the airport and a hotel with a renowned restaurant.  I booked here in anticipation that after 8 days living off Greek food H & I will be hankering for some fine dining.

S & JW have booked them selves an Airbnb and as we try to find their designated meeting point we find ourselves driving through the centre of the old town.  Picture narrow, cobblestone alleys designed for pedestrian use only.  All we can do is follow the series of one way streets through the labyrinth to the other side of the old town.  Much laughter and helpful suggestion are coming my way from my fellow travellers.  Thanks guys!

Later after they find their lodgings and we find our hotel we meet up for a few pre-dinner drinks at a little bar on the main shopping street.  Then its back to our hotel San Martino for dinner.  And what a fabulous dinner it is.  The restaurant specialises in seafood so we choose the set degustation menu.  I’ll let the photo’s tell the story.

Fish in bisque

Fish in bisque

Stephen looks like a genie coming out of a bottle

Stephen looks like a genie coming out of a bottle

More yummy stuff

More yummy stuff

JW enjoying his linguini

JW enjoying his linguini

Crab Claw

Crab Claw

Our room merits comment as well.  Its a very large room, with a massive bathroom that has some ultra modern touches.  Notable items include ….

Mood lighting

Mood lighting

Just an ordinary cupboard?

Just an ordinary cupboard?

Anyone want a coffee?

Anyone want a coffee or cold beverage?

Shower with LED lighting that changes colour

Shower with LED lighting that changes colour

No explaination needed I hope

No explaination needed I hope

Central Courtyard - San Martino

Central Courtyard – San Martino

A trip to the dentist

Monday 7 September 2015

The hotel receptionist has secured an appointment with an English speaking dentist at 10:00.  H’s toothache has not subsided and making for one unhappy Howie, so its into a taxi and off to the centre of town.  We have the address (written in Greek) on a piece of paper to hand the driver.  He takes us to the main square, drops us off at a busy corner and points up the street. OK, can’t be that hard – its a pretty short street.

Umm everything is in Greek and building numbers are in short supply.  We stand in the street looking around us fools, until H stops someone and shows them the piece of paper.  They point to a glass door and a buzzer.  We stand in the doorway looking at the buzzer like fools, until someone unlocks the door and tells us in sign language to go to the second floor.

There we find the lovely Dr Angeleiki Rigga in her tiny two room surgery.  We fill out a bit of paperwork and Howard is taken into the other room for a probe and X-ray.  Before two long they are back.  H has an infected gum, the Dr has given it a good clean and says all should be ok.  She scribbles out a recommended antibiotic, just in case it does not improve, no prescription needed! 60 Euro, cash and we are done!

We have a look at the shops in the town centre, this is far from the tourist area of the old town, and its bustling with locals going about their business.  Then we wander back to the hotel.  Thats the morning done, what to do with the rest of the day?

In the end we organise with the receptionist for a hire car for the day.  A tiny little hatch, delivered to the hotel, 50 Euro cash for the whole day, no credit card details taken, no deposit taken, just a quick check of my Australian drivers license.  How easy is that!

We have been given a couple of names of beaches to visit on the south of the island.  The first beach is on the exposed western side of the island – its a “sandy” beach that is busy with winder surfers, but the sand is a dirty grey and there is rubbish everywhere.  Definitely not up to scratch!  Back in the car and back to Mesogi a holiday town on the eastern side.  Ummm not a good choice either … well its good if your English or German and looking for a very very very cheap holiday.  But thirst forces us out of the car and a walk along haphazard wooden planks that pass as a boardwalk to a semi-respectable looking bar for a bit of lunch and a beer.

Back in the car we head back to Corfu, stopping at Benitses for an ice-cream.

I have seen photos of a cute little church on an island that is not far from our hotel so we head there.  We find a park at the top of a cliff and look down and there is it – the church of Panagia Vlacherna and little Mouse Island further out in the bay.

Church of Panagia Vlacherna and Mouse Island

Church of Panagia Vlacherna and Mouse Island

Down the stairs and over the 300m causeway to the little church.  How cute, there is even a young couple there having their wedding shots.

The church bells

The church bells

There is another causeway that spans the bay.  Ocean on one side and wetland and the airport on the other.  It just wide enough for two people to walk side by side.  We go to have a look and quickly realise that this is a weir and directly under the flight path for planes approaching the airport.  We position ourselves directly under the flightpath and before too long a number of planes line up, head right for us and roar over our heads some 50m above us.  Its obviously a favourite place for locals and tourists alike, there are locals  fishing and small family groups doing the same thing as us.  At one stage we even have to pull our toes in as a scooter rider crosses the weir.

Church of Panagia Vlacherna

Church of Panagia Vlacherna

Coming in for landing

Coming in for landing

Fishing on the weir

Fishing on the weir

As the sun starts to go down we head back up the cliff stairs and stop and have a couple of drinks in a cafe that overlooks the airport.  From our seats we can see the planes land, and then reloaded taxi to the take off point and then take of with an almighty roar  The runway looks frighteningly short and in bad condition.  And we have to fly out of there tomorrow!

Cafe Kanoni

Cafe Kanoni

Preparing for takeoff as seem from Kanoni Cafe

Preparing for takeoff as seem from Kanoni Cafe

Back to the hotel we ditch our things and return to Nautilus Cafe for a couple more drinks and then to Anemomilys for a simple dinner.