After getting stuck into The Durrells and beginning to feel all soppy for sandy Greece again I thought now may be the perfect time to pen a post about Corfu. Those more cringey people among us say that having lived in more than one place is hell or something because you leave a part of yourself there forever, regardless of how often you return. I unfortunately am not that cringey – and actually almost vomited writing that previous sentence – so I will say this: living abroad for a while is pretty fucking sweet, and in my (slightly biased) opinion Corfu is a perfect place to relocate.
Contrary to popular belief – and widespread media coverage – Greece is not the terrifying shit tip of poverty and “fuckin’ immigrants” you may imagine. It’s also not the backwards, prehistoric land devoid of electricity that The Durrells is showing either; in today’s Corfu you can actually turn lights on and off (although they are yet to master flushing toilet roll down the shitter).
I ended up on the glorious isle of Corfu after my failed gap year meant that I didn’t actually do any of the travelling I had planned and I found that I had only a couple of months until I actually had to dive back into education at uni. At the time I was a human pig-whale with bad attitude and a unique love for Smirnoff; today I am still a human-pigwhale with a bad attitude but I’ve graduated from Smirny to Hendricks in an effort to look more sophisticated. So London hun.
My aunt has lived in Corfu for many years, so I’ve been going with the famalam for some time. When I was younger I was obviously mainly bothered about getting a hair wrap and eating everything in sight, but when I returned as a “worker” in that summer before uni my priorities had matured to include boozing seven nights a week and avoiding the sun at all costs (I still got the hair wrap and ate shitloads). While this may not be seen as “the way to do it”, I still had a ball and have several thousand memories of that first year, including driving round in my aunt’s car supersoaking randomers on their way to dinner – what a little bastard.
I duno if I’m just an obsessive person or if there really is something maddeningly amazing about Corfu, but since my first working year I decided – like many crazy ass hoes before me – that I wanted to spend my whole life there and say goodbye to shitty old England forever. While yes, I had taken a complete leave of my senses and I am always grateful that my mum gave me a fucking reality check at this point, it’s a testament to its glory as a place that so many people do up sticks and move there and live very delicious lives with a significantly better tan than I will ever have. I instead pursued my degree in English Literature (which was an equally shit decision).
To give this blog post some kind of direction other than me just driveling along about being fat, white and hungry (story of my life) I’ll include a few survival tips for anyone considering making the move to the ‘Fu, which any of my mates out there will know all too well:
- Take bacon. Unsurprisingly, bacon is number one on this list; it’s rightful place is the top of every fucking list in the world. The bacon in Corfu is dogger; it’s thin, whispy and generally a shower of shite. Life is no life without bacon (sorry vegans) so be sure to stock up and take at least a suitcase full of the good stuff for your journey.
- Travel. I lived and worked in the north of the country in what ITV’s Corfu: A Tale Of Two Islands described as “a complete shithole” or near enough. While ITV’s view on the area was pretty fuckin’ wrong and short-sighted, it’s nice to get out and about and explore the island. Fave places include Paleokastritsa, Kalami beach and Corfu Town by night, but there’s infinite delicious little places to go for a swim, cocktail or a good Instagram pic (and we all know that’s important).
- Eat a shit-tonne of souvlaki. If like me you love your food you can’t go wrong with pretty much every aspect of Greek scran ‘cause it’s hearty and fucking delicious and it will definitely make you happier. On my most recent trip to Greece I ate souvlaki for every evening meal – not even joking – so maybe don’t do that but definitely get stuck into the scran at any opportunity and you will not be sorry (although you may be a little bit fatter).
- Do some local shit. Although I am definitely a stereotypical Brit abroad in most countries, I did – and do – try to blend in with some of the local culture on Greek soil. I learned the language while at uni, although I am definitely in no way fluent. I can swear, order that all-important scran and demand as many voddy and cokes as you like so y’know, I’m a pretty big deal. For passing visitors though I don’t recommend that you get to grips with that terrifying alphabet; I do recommend you go to some of the Greek festivals that are thrown on the island over the summer months and – of course – eat souvlaki and drink the classic retsina on offer.
- Don’t be a dickhead. This is my number one travel tip – besides bacon – to anyone travelling anywhere. Being a dickhead abroad is definitely seen as acceptable by most Brits, and I’m sure I will one day dedicate an entire blog post to how this fucks me off royally, but having a few manners and not taking the piss out of the country you’re visiting is pretty fucking straight forward common sense. Be polite, buy local and at least learn a please (parakalo) and a thank you (which is kinda said like ef-ari-sto, ish).
Am I a travel blogger now?