|Clearly the title of this piece needs a little bit of explanation: my hostel on Corfu is called the Pink Palace, but I, and some other Aussie girls, renamed it The Pink Pile of Poo, in honour of the appalling service, vibe, attitude, accommodation, and general world outlook of this place. I cannot say it enough NEVER EVER GO THERE! I will also be sending a review to all the travel websites I know flaming this place, so hopefully people will stop going there.
How did I come to find myself in a pile of pink poo you ask? On the unwitting recommendation of a fellow traveller I met in Athens but who had never gone there. I will also take some of the blame, as I didnt look in the Lonely Planet or do any research about it at all really. When I did read the Lonely Planet my heart sunk, it said "If you are missing school camp, come here." Oh dear, not really my cup of tea, and certainly not worthy of an intrepid traveller such as myself! But I had already booked, which included a bus from Athens to Corfu in a much less stressful way that it ordinarily would have been if I'd done it independently (e.g. walking, the metro, a local bus, an intercity bus, a ferry, another bus) I decided to persevere. And initially I was heartened, as the bus was full of not only Aussies, but they were also genuinely nice and I got along with them really well.
However! On arrival at the Pink Pile of Poo (henceforth known as Pink Poo), we were made to wait 3.5 hours to check in, partly because we arrived at 6.30am, but also partly because of a lack of organisation. We were also given a welcome drink at 7am, a shot of pink coloured Ouzo (I declined) and then were told to watch a video about all the fun things we could do at the Pink Poo... enter the feeling of school camp, but with the debauchery of alcohol fuelled adult fun. When we were finally checked in, after being told only 25 Euro rooms were available, but which I knew for a fact were only 18 euro on the internet, but unsuccessfully arguing that point, we were given our pink card, basically a folded piece of card board we need to present if we want keys to our room, and which will be stamped each breakfast and dinner... more and more like school camp.
Feeling an overwhelmin urge to exit the Pink Poo, even though I had just got there but thoroughly incensed when I was told by other guests in the room they had booked online and were paying only 18 euro (there is no air-con or even fan in this 8 bed, west facing room I am condemned to) I caught a bus to Corfu Town with a couple of likeminded Aussie girls.
Corfu Town was lovely, situated in a bay, encircling a port but soon giving way to quiet but wide pedestrian streets, the large cobblestone worn smooth by foot traffic. Innumerable alleyways branch off from the main thoroughfare and are often draped in either creepers or laundry, a familiar sight now that I've been in Greece awhile. A cool breeze cropped up as we walked to the Venetian fort that dominates the southern end of the port and was worth a bit of a look, if only for the opportunity to dip my overheated feet in the clear blue sea, and for the view of the island from the top of the fort. The bus ride back took us through the charming little villages that are dotted around the islandand are often being threatened by the encroaching olive groves and orchards. Corfu is the most lush Greek Island I have been to so far, covered in not only olive groves, which tend to be dry, dusty places in summertime, but also in forest dotted with tall thin evergreens that spike intermittently out of the lower vegetation.
I spent one day on a quad biking safari that I didn't particularly enjoy, partly because a quad bike is pretty poor cousin to a motorbike or scooter and also because mine seemed to want to veer to the left quite sharply and dangerous, not a good thing when you are driving on the right hand side of the road! As an indication of the calibre of the Pink Poo, after lunch we played a "get to know you game" which involved the 35 of us on safari standing around and havnig to tell everyone:
1. Our name
2. Our nationality
3. Our favourite sexual position
4. If we are straight, gay or bi
5. If we are red, amber or green light (e.g. back off/have a partner, not fussed if we 'pick up' or completely up for it)
This game was basically played so that everyone knows who is available and who isn't, so they don't have to waste time talking to anyone who isn't up for at least a pash...funny that I had no trouble picking which girls were green lights, and also that I was the only gay in the village! As we walked back to our bikes I also wasn't particularly surprised to hear some guys saying, 'Only one dyke out of the bunch, not bad' and 'yeah, lucky there isn't more.' I suppose I should be thankful that now I will not longer be bothered by a lot of the blokes! :P