Although it is warm and sunny with a light breeze, TH (the husband) assures me that where we planned to sail to today, is not possible due to an adverse forecast. He needs to know the wind direction, and sea state.
TH spends every spare moment on the Internet, checking each and every world weather site, and if they should disagree, then this means the weather is ‘unsettled’ and he will not leave. I’m not being critical, it’s necessary, but frustrating at times. Goodness knows how sailors in the past coped with no wifi to check the weather. Is this why they were always getting shipwrecked? Earlier this morning, a yacht entered harbour from the direction we were hoping to travel, and the Dutch guy on board told us that there had been ‘no wind’. Hmmmmm……
Anyway, this means another day or two here in Kassiopi, on the very NE tip of Corfu. We are safely moored in the very pretty harbour, surrounded by tavernas and a Byzantine castle behind on the hill. This morning we took a walk up to Kassiopi castle ruins. We have been to Kassiopi several times in the past, and the shady walk goes through a plantation of olive trees, so it’s something nice to do when it’s very sunny. The approach to the castle is via a very rocky steep path, winding past some houses, which is difficult to find. I guess lots of tourists would not be prepared to turn themselves into an agile mountain goat, and the castle probably does not get many visitors as the approach is unsuitable for the very young, the very old, the infirm, plus anyone wearing stiletto heels.
There is a Greek sign at the castle which implies it was awarded 2.4million euros for renovation and improvements. You see these signs everywhere – children’s playgrounds, falling down houses, promenades, marinas etc have all been awarded money by Europe. I’m not totally sure how it works, but having talked to some locals, it used to be that municipalities put in a proposal for how they were going to improve something, and now much money they needed, and Europe would stump up the money.
I wonder if anyone ever checked how the money was spent? Apparently, before the EEC got wise, they used to hand over the whole amount to the local mayor, who dished it out as it was needed to the project workers, but some unscrupulous mayors handed out very little, and kept the rest for themselves, building a huge mansion and buying a fleet of cars! Fortunately, it doesn’t happen this way now. This is only what I have been told by other Greeks, so if you are a Greek mayor or know better, please let me know.
Anyway, as we walked around Kassiopi castle ruins, we looked for signs of how the 2.4million euro had been spent. Certainly not on the access path! There was a fairly impressive restored gateway and entrance though. Walking along by the castle walls, there were inlaid floodlights every 50 metres or so, and also many fire hoses, should the stonework suddenly burst into flames. Within the castle’s large perimeter are olive groves, some of the money looks like it was spent on new black nets to catch the olives at harvest time. Apart from that, we couldn’t see anything which showed how the money had otherwise been spent, unless there was an underground shopping centre with an attached multi-storey car park which I’m sure I would have known about. Maybe the money had been safely invested by the Greeks in a high-interest account until needed? Somehow I don’t think so….
This morning we are off to Corfu Town on the local bus, one of my favourite places. It’s about an hour away via winding roads following the coast. Some fantastic views……. In next blog post.