Well, that’s visit 23 to Corfu out of the way, 23 mostly joyous visits which always leave me excited for the next one. Strangely, the one that concluded today feels like the end of an era, or rather the end of a bunch of eras. Corfu has seen me from single layabout, away with the lads, through away with the girlfriend and later my partner and our children. Today ended with me lurching out of middle age into the lower reaches of old age with two young adults. What’s left?
There have been a number of changes to Corfu since I first visited in 1985. It is much cleaner, the local population has just about stopped short of destroying much of the island with crass overdevelopment, though plainly not everywhere, and it’s a far more expensive place to visit, the latter being caused by the continuing Greek basket case of an economy, the devaluation of the pound since last year’s disastrous Brexit vote and, I suppose, the need to make more money from tourism. In purely anecdotal, observational terms, I did not notice any deterioration in spending from the Brits in particular, nor in numbers, but in terms of conversations alone, it is clear that it is very difficult to get a cheap holiday in Greece.
Cards on the table here: the main reason I go abroad in summer is for the weather. I am the ultimate example of the old cliche that if we in Britain had the weather, we wouldn’t need to go abroad to find it. But I do like the sun on my back more than anything. I love to crash by the pool, occasionally on the beach and to drink ice cold lager to cool me down. There is way too much about England that I would miss by moving abroad, everything from family, friends, golf, supermarkets, newspapers, pubs, decent internet, proper fish and chips, book shops, record shops, football and so much more. Nowhere abroad, and certainly not Greece comes close. But that’s me and that’s not you.
I’d lose weight in Greece in particular because a) I lose my appetite in hot weather and b) I don’t much care for Greek food. There. I said it. Everything else – I love the place and it breaks my heart to think travel to that wonderful country could become difficult as we leave Europe. In any event – and I shall not go into too much depth here – my bowels do not always function normally in Greece. It can be a haphazard existence.
Without wishing to sign like an old relic, which I know from my aching knees and ankles I am rapidly becoming, I am reaching the point where I may need to see somewhere else, apart from Corfu. I have still have the hills of Tuscany to explore, some lesser frequented Spanish and French beaches too. The former Yugoslavia looks a must and so does Portugal. Perhaps, if my numbers come in, I can do both.
Corfu is a great place, probably greater than ever but maybe my time has come. That’s my first impression and often first impressions are lasting impressions. I might change my mind next week, or even before then, I don’t know. My brain, or what’s left of it, could be befuddled and overworked after a day’s travelling, I don’t know.
In the weeks and months ahead, I have some thinking to do. 23 and out? I don’t know yet. But it’s been a blast.