You can’t flush your toilet paper in Greece. Nope, you can’t. It blocks the plumbing, or lack there of, I should say. And even though there are signs posted everywhere, you will forget. It’s only certain.
This may seem like no big deal, but it came as quite a culture shock, among a few other things I observed while in the Greek Islands. It all began on my overnight ferry from Sorrento to Corfu; there was a man hanging his wet man panties that he had just washed in the communal sink on the railing directly across from my stateroom. I was in complete and utter shock…. why in the world would someone be hanging wet man panties to dry on the stair rail?! And WHY, for the love of all that’s mighty, did it have to happen in front of my room???
Disgusted at the lack of apparent hygiene morals, I went downstairs for an alcoholic beverage, when yet again, I spotted a family of five rolling out their sleeping bags and setting up shop under the stairs, surrounded by dirty socks hanging off the nearby railings.
Was the world ending? Did we pick-up steerage from a ship in distress??? Nope. That’s just how they roll in Greece….
When traveling on the overnight ferry, you can either go in style (and by style I mean a dirty room with a moldy shower and the stench of cigarette smoke marinating in the carpets) or you can just wing it and pitch a tent anywhere your little heart desires. Well, maybe not a tent, I didn’t actually see a tent, but I really wouldn’t have been surprised to have seen one.
You will be on Greek time, meaning just because a sign is posted or an itinerary containing a departure/arrival time exists, it is pointless. So when your ferry is scheduled to leave at 6pm and it takes off at 9:30 pm, just go with the flow. And when it’s supposed to be a 23 hour ferry ride, chances are it’s ending up to be a 26 hour ferry ride. Again, just enjoy the time people watching; it’s one of the finest chances in life to do so.
When you finally step onto Greek soil in Corfu, you’ll be disappointed. “Where’s all the pretty white buildings with nifty blue roofs?” you might ask. You’re not going to be seeing anything like that here in Corfu. That’s Santorini. Here, while the beaches are fun, they are rocky as hell, and there are cats. Cats galore. It is every crazy cat lady’s wildest dream!!! But don’t pet them! They’ve got worms…. So unless you also want to share a common bond of defecating worms, stay away from the little critters.
The stretch of beach attached to the Karda Beach Campsite is amazingly fun. The campsite itself is a 2 minute walk to the beach, where you can enjoy numerous bars and restaurants, massages on the waterfront and partake in some really fun watersports. My personal favorite restaurant is the Akron Beach Bar, located smack dab on the beach and also just a few steps away from the campsite. Be sure to try their grasshopper drink… it’s meant to be enjoyed on a lounge chair in front of the ocean while be surrounded by topless chicks (old ladies with saggy, leather-like boobs, that is).
One word of advice for those traveling to Greece: You will want to soak in the ocean for as long as you can. Do it. You must. You will also get the urge at 2am when leaving the Akron Beach Bar drunk as heck, to skinny dip in the ocean. DO NOT give in to such temptations. The water is infested with angry, hostile, slimy jellyfish. I need not to further digress on this subject of nakedness and stinging epidermis.
The old town of Corfu is a journey from the beach, definitely not in walking distance. It’s worth a trip to, though, for some amazingly delicious gyros, like this baby for only €2!!!!
Other things you just have to try is of course Tzatziki. This light and heavenly dip is usually served with vegetables and bread, and it’s so good, you’ll want to roll around naked in it. Especially after being stung repeatedly by an unnumbered swarm of jellyfish. There are a number of shops and restaurants all throughout the town that sell some of the best little authentic souvenirs; one item to look out for are candied kumquats. They come individually wrapped, are extremely flavorful (either you love em’ or you hate ’em). My favorite thing about these orange little diddys are that they make for great stuffing inside souvenir bags of your travels for your friends, family or to share with random strangers on a train. Another favorite of mine are the wood items carved out of olive trees, some from trees super old (which also makes the price much higher), like olive wood boxes, bowls, etc…
If you’re lucky, you might get invited to a toga party. Not sure if it’s actually an authentic way to party with the Greeks or not, but it makes for a fun, drunken time….
And drunk or not, by the end of the night after a toga party and eating gyros all day, you will make a run for the bathroom and in the end realize “CRAP! I flushed the toilet paper, AGAIN!!”