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16th June, 2015


The pilot greeted me with a very large smile when he came on the bridge, since we last met a few years ago the jetty has been extended and four passenger ships were due. We were, by far, the smallest, but at least the one that came and parked on the other side of the quay gave us a certain degree of shadow from an already baking sun.

The new pier extension has effectively doubled the ports capacity and I would estimate there must have been at least five or six thousand cruise passengers ashore, many of whom seemed to be milling around the narrow streets of the old town. It was certainly very busy, but somehow it didn’t seem overcrowded and I would assume the local traders must have been delighted. The old town has a sort of shabby splendour, the architecture being a part of which makes it a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The 14th century Venetian Fortress and Esplanade Square were once used to drill Napoleon’s soldiers and for me there is an early 19th century feel about the place. We stopped for some refreshment in a pavement café next to the Catholic Cathedral and the Town Hall, which had been originally built as a theatre, and watched the world go by for half an hour.

I had timed our return to miss the tours, unfortunately it didn’t, as they were running just a little late, and passengers for two of the other big ships were also returning to ensure being back on board before an early afternoon departure. The embarkation hall, packed with people, was an instant return to the 21st century. Fortunately it was all taken relatively calmly and everyone streamed out from the other side of the security barriers and made a long ‘snake’ along the dock and back to the ships. Two left just after 3 pm, leaving us in bright sunshine and with a fine view of Corfu Town, a view that has probably not changed that much in two hundred years, at least from a distance.

Captain Philip Rentell

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