Friday, 21 December 2012

Travel Reads: Corfu’s Old Fort (Paleo Frourio)

One of the things that I never seem to fall short of is memories of holidays and places. And one such favorite place of mine is Corfu or as the Greeks refer to it as Kerkyra on the Ionian Sea. I landed in Corfu with a friend of mine on a hot September afternoon. We headed straight from the bus stop to the Astron Hotel situated at Donzelot Street. After a bath and lunch at an alfresco restaurant somewhere close to the Corfu Museum of Asian Art at Palea Anaktora, I was all gung ho about exploring the island brought alive by the famous British author, Gerald Durrell. I drowned my club sandwich and chipswith several pints of Heineken. While it was a holiday in Greece among the cool, the skinny dippers, the sports aficionados and the residents, my mind felt eclectic. In my definition of Greece, it is soul-liberating and that’s that. That afternoon, the Heineken made my head swim; I felt light and happy.

Our first sight of exploration in Greece was the Old Fort, Paleo Frourio. It was evening by the time we walked up the fort. It was about closing time and the tourists had descended. While we requested the lady caretaker (or rather pleaded), she sternly acquiesced and warned us to be back in the next five minutes. But we were carefree and we hopped and jumped up the fort not to return for the next forty-five minutes!

Now Paleo Frourio stands testimony to Greek history. Constructed in the eighth century, it was a Byzantine castle that was retouched with the Venetian style. Today it where certain cultural events are hosted and history is brought to life! Up the hill, I lay by an ancient cannon with the Lonely Planet concentrating on Greece. My head seemed to float and we could see the coast of Albania. We felt a sense of timelessness against the heat and the sea wind and I fell into a nap.

All of a sudden when I woke, it was just about dark. Against the evening sun, we realized that we were locked inside the fort. We walked down and anxiety seemed to have left me forever. We tried to cause a stir (there were loads of tourists about) about being marooned in an island fort, rankled with the bars and I was kind of okay about staying there for the night. Someone volunteered to take a picture of me behind the grilled door and laughed and then went to call the caretaker. The latter returned with a scowl and opened the gate. We headed back to the city to change, wine and dine in the Corfiot style!

(Article by Kabita Sonowal) 

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