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"Wadde hadde dudde da" at Korfu

13.-27.5. 2000


I am sure no one of the English speaking folks does understand the heading. So I will explain: this is the title of the German song for the Grand Prix d' Eurovision de la Chanson 2000 sung by a foolish entertainer. Wadde hadde dudde da is the stupid language like an elder lady speaks to a little child and means "Was hast du da?" (What do you have right there?). And why this heading? OK, we will go to the Greek island Korfu with three generations this year and we will hear this childish speech now and then.

As usual we have choosen a smaller hotel and this is Hotel Achilles Beach near Benitses at the eastern coast. We are glad to see our grandson Jonathan for a longer period, Verena is glad to have a recreation past the strenuous baby-breeding and the grandfather looks ahead to some biketours without leaving back his lonely wife Heidi.

Hotel Achilles near Benitses
Jonathan is 16 months old and just learns to walk. Of course there are some scruples, and in earlier times we always said: one should never go to the Mediterranian Sea with a small child, while we observed irritated parents and crying children. The child may fall into the swimming pool all the time and will cry that all the snoozing guests will be shot out of their sunbath. May be the food is not alright or there is no baby-food available and we suffer from diarrhoea? And everything is stuck into the mouth, what's about the heat, the sun and the bright light and the sun-burn? Will the other guests complain about a child crying in the night? Is there a children's chair and bed? And moreover will the child explode during the flight?


We will meet the challenge and buy some sunglasses for Jonathan and four films for the grandpa. At Saturday we must uprise at 3 am, get off at 4 am and arrive at the airport at 5 am. While we wait for the check in our grandson tumbles around in the hall - so there is much to observe. Eventually we sit in the plane and I claim for a place at the window due to my geografical wisdom. There are a lot of free seats and eventually Jonathan uses them all. Meanwhile I peer out of the window and identify the German low mountain range. Above the Alps it is cloudy but I think to see the Grossglockner. Then there is a nice view above the Adriatic Sea with its small islands like toys. We have to set the clock one hour later and then we curve down to the runway of the airport.

Most Famous at Korfu:Vlacherna
The runway is built as a ramp at the end of a lagoon and just below we see the main attraction of Corfu: the cloister island Vlacherna and behind that the island Pondikonissi (named mouse island). So this is somewhat contrary, the scenic view and the runway nearby. As we come down we are glad that our grandson is not exploded or imploded but cries "DahDah!" all the time.

We get our baggage, find the service maids and the transfer bus and soon behind Benitses leave the bus in the botany. The driver points to a building across the street and this is our Hotel Achilles. We check in and hopefully enter our room with seaview. We have a large balcony to the east side. Unfortunately Verena and Joni have a room at the other side with the noisy street. We miss to change the room at once which would have been possible, as we later learn. But then we are too lazy already. Meanwhile some singing maids have arranged the children's bed and Joni gets his first Greek kisses - those will not be the last ones.

The "Beach"
We have a walk around and - as usual - don't feel happy at first. The "beach" is a small stripe of gravel, for the sun-bathers they have built a wooden ramp with brown skinned figures. We look somewhat pale and are possibly easy to recognize as newcomers. But soon we settle at the pool and feel better and better. While we snooze in the sun we must watch Joni that he will not fall into the pool all the time. But with his unstable course like a sailor he is not fast enough. Eventually he gets tired and the former smiling guests (...what a sweet boy...) wake up from their nap. We put the crying child into it's buggy and push up a steep ramp passing a dead rat. So we can walk to the nearby supermarket with a friendly and smiling owner. We buy a bottle of vine for the romantic hour in the evening and some napkins, crackers and mineral water. We learn about the currency again: 1000 Drachmen are DM 6.

Joni sleeps in the swinging buggy and we can return to the pool and no one awakes. So we have a nice afternoon and finally return to our rooms for a shower bath, the after sun lotion and the evening wardrobe. In the dining hall there is a children's chair. We first get a soup, very delicious and then have some salads from the buffet. Moreover there is a buffet with warm dishes and finally we have a dessert as apple, orange, caramelpudding or icecream. Jonathan fundamentally does not disclaim any of these things. But today he is overstressed from the long journey and after some time the dining room is acoustically unusable. I start to increase my consuming speed, gorge down the dessert and the beer altogether and then reship my grandson to his room and bed. He soon ends in the horizontal status. Some time later Heidi and Verena come up whispering and I am proud of my work. We finally have a nice evening at our balcony with seaview and a bright full moon shining above the surface of the sea.


This morning we have the usual receipt of the Neckermann Service. This time we meet a local gentleman from Corfu. The informations given mainly concern to bus tours which are expensive and well organized - not as adventurous like an excursion by the public bus. Joni assists the officer while clearing out his case. He had learnt the word "Nein" before but for this voyage he seems to have forgotten about it.

This day's style is that of yesterday as we stayed at the pool, and this means: we stay at the pool again. And there usually does not happen so much. But suddenly someone shouts out: "An Chameleon!" and all snoozing guests rise their heads once again. And really there is a rather large grass-green lizard which runs along the wall. May be it's length is 40 cm inclusive the tail. Unfortunately there is no chance for a photo and we saw this lizard only once again. The usual small lizards are grey and have a green-blue coloured head. They are to be seen very often. Another observation was a snake in the sea meandering along. Someone said this might be a kind of eel. But the ladies discuss if they should swim in the sea furtheron.

Passion Flower
A yellow butterfly comes along which looks like a swallowtail. The garden area around the hotel is somewhat wild so there are interesting plants sometimes. Some tall trees may be pines. These are twined from the bottom to the top by a climber plant. This is the Passiflora or Passion Flower. At noon the flowers open and shine like white stars out of the green. The beauty of the flower is to be seen from a short distance when an insect gets the nectar within the yellow pollen. The birds are mainly sparrows which like to assemble around our cracker monster. Moreover there are magpies, goldfinch and swallows.

The geographic situation of our hotel is as follows: in front of the building there is the coastal road and up the slopes of the mountains there are wild forests like jungle, absolutely impassable. Some say there are snakes in it, which might be true. So this is no ideal place for passionate walkers, for they can only use the road to the one or the other direction. In the afternoon Verena gets somewhat impatient that there will not happen anything. She retires with Joni for a nap. We stay until the sunset behind the mountain ridge, that is about 6.30 pm.

The dinner runs well today and thereafter mother and son dance some Sirtaki in the hall. Of course this makes it more difficult to get asleep afterwards. Finally we sit at the terrace with some vine and hear some criticism, that we should undertake something, after all we are at one of the most beautiful mediterranian islands and not at any family bath.

Monday, Benitses

Today the Neckermann officer comes up again and me and Joni are witnesses of the following dialogue. An elderly gentleman complains "I have booked a hotel without babies!" "This may not exist!" the officer says. "They should not permit parents with small children" the gentleman continues. "This would be a wrong world" the officer answers. Joni and I vanish around the next corner with red ears. And we never see the Baby-lovers again.

OK, today we will do something and that is a bus ride of 2 km to Benitses. There we inspect all shops for baby food. We are successful due to the Nestle concern. My eyes wander around for a "Rent a Bike" and there are several shops. Ideal and popular are motor scooters, but I am without expertise.


Bougain villaea
To see the scenic parts of Benitses one has to leave the main street. There are small winded roads, a stairway up to the church and many flowers. Under a magnificent bougainvillea the tourists meet for a photo. At the promenade we enter an open air restaurant. Just as we sit down it starts to rain and gets cold. This is the problem hereabout that at such unusual occasion one has the wrong clothings. But soon the rain stops and we decide to walk back. In spite of the busy traffic this works well in single file, one in front with a long neck, the second pushes the buggy and the last one assures against behind. But the landscape is nice, olive groves and wild romantic estates. Near the hotel I detect another bike renting shop.

After a nap we start for another march. Guess where to - right, just into the other direction of the coastal road (south). There are some more shops and hotels and the villages Moraitika and Messonghi. But the sky turns more and more grey and dark and the rain soon overhauls us. Soaked wet we come back to the hotel.

In the evening it is cold and we must stay to our room and chat. After 11 pm someone pounds against the wall of the neighbour room. So we decide to go to bed as the neighbour has decided before.

On the other side there are some other sounds around. During the night frome time to time one can hear a sound like sea noise supported by the buzzing of an aggregate. But the sea lies calm like a mirror. After some time the buzzing and the sea noise fall silent again. We have discussed this sea noise simulator and finally argued that this is the filter pump for the swimming pool.

Thursday, Tour to Corfu City

The day before we had our exercise in a 2 km bus ride. Today we dare to go to Corfu or Kerkyra the metropolis of the island. The bus tour lasts 45 minutes and when you leave the bus you suffer under a cultural shock. A roaring traffic, ignored traffic lights, mopeds and motor-scooters rush around like insects. There is a big square named San Rocco SQR and it seems that all traffic of the city comes along at this place.

Market at Corfu-City
We watch for people with big bags for they are supposed to come from the market. This is near the Venetian Kastell. There is much noise again due to some market wifes crying like a machine gun. We see booths with fish, fruits or vegetables. Someone with a honest face sells us a tray of strawberries. After we have consumed the upper layer we detect some rotten fruits at the bottom which have been hidden thoroughly. But don't worry, we have our holidays.

To find some peace we enter the old town. At first I ask an English couple for their city map: "Where did you get this map?" "At the bookshop over there" they say and soon I own a city skymap with illustrated houses and places like seen from above. We find the M. Theotoki SQR and the Town Hall and inviting seats. We admire the scene while Joni proves his fingernails with dry pigeon dung.

M.Theotoki SQR

We then head for the Old Citadel, there one can see - costfree - the Albanian mountains of the opposite coast. The Contra Fossa Canal seperates the fortification from the mainland. The bridge to the citadel may have seen various fights, today there is a booth for the entrance fee.

Am alten Kastell

We turn to the city again and enter nested lanes and stairs. We see few tourists and find many idyllic spots. But we are happy to find ourselves at a road above the harbour again.

There are some elegant cruisers anchored at the pier, the guests are sent to the town to buy souvernirs. We look for a tavern and find the Citadelle. We have a Greek Coffee there in the shade of the Venetian Fortification. We observe a dog nearby which grubs at a flowerbed until a man comes up with a shovel to put everything in order again. As we have relaxed sufficiently and long for the silence of the sunny pool at our hotel. At first we have to fight our way to the bus stop, stand in the queue and miss to find a free seat in the bus. Heidi has a dispute with a young guy who is not willing to offer his seat for mother and child. He had waited 20 minutes for this, he says. So we build up the buggy at the rear platform of the bus and supply our Jonathan appropiate.

The rest of the day we are lazy. The only remarkable event occurs when a van with a speaker comes up, selling big plants and trees in tubs. We wonder why all the other car drivers honk when they pass by. The solution: a middle sized tree has fallen from the van and now slides behind it on the road.


We have a rest day with fine weather. Verena and Jonathan explore the seaside, splashing in the water and manipulating stones and gravel. Afterwards they have to use the pool to wash off the salt. And now we hear the childisch speech from a lady: "Hattu Bade Bade macht?" (Did you have a bath?). Moreover she talks about a phenomenon named "Wasserschneide", which means that small boys cannot urinate after a cold bath. But the napkin of Jonathan never verifies such fact.

Once we go for the market once again but eagerly talking we choose a wrong path. Suddenly we stand in front of an estate and two barking dogs jump towards us. Heidi stands like a pillar of salt, though the dogs are nice little puppies. A girl comes up and calls the dogs back. Heidi can relax again. "They have not been dangerous" I say but she doesn't believe in this.

The evening is so fine and we sit at our terrace peering to the stars above or into the vineglass in turn. Sometimes a fully illuminated aeroplane passes by as it approaches to land at the airport at the end of the lagoon. Once we see a light falling down vertically. But this is no aeroplane, may be it was a glowworm (lightning bug). Meanwhile it is late and we still talk outside. Though we have started to whisper we hear a remonstrative bump of the next terrace door. This is the "beauteous neighbour girl" as we say and this is a curious individual. She rides around on a motor-scooter all the day and got known to a guy named Helmut, as she tells to everybody. She wants to ride with Verena and Joni too but we better resign. In the morning she attends various exercises of Yoga wrenches, and then one can see some hands on the floor or a leg in the air. She reads a book "Wüstenfuchs" as she claims. "Ah, something about Rommel?" we state. "No, it's about the Female Genital Mutilation in Africa" and so it is "Wüstenblume"(Desert Flower) by Waris Dirie.

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