I have a much-loved copy of Mary Stewart’s This Rough Magic at home and why I didn’t bring it with me I do not know. Although I could probably recite the darn thing from heart, I want to read it here, where the villas high in the hills could hide a dissolute actor and his musician son from the world, where the crystalline blue green water could easily be home to life-saving dolphins, and where the nearby Albanian coast makes a currency smuggling operation entirely plausible. The title is a quote from the Shakespearean play that is also said to have been set on this island and it’s not a stretch to imagine Prospero conjuring a tempest from this magical place.
I am in love with Corfu. From our arrival on the island this morning, to our trip up in the hills to visit a monastery and catch views of the sea that I will forever carry in my mind’s eye, to our stroll through the decaying but elegant streets of the old town, to a stop in St. Spiridon’s church, the day was perfect.
Jerry and I decided to have a mezze of tzatziki, melitzanosalata (fresh and herby it was the best version of this eggplant salad I have ever had), olives, saganaki cheese, a salad of grilled talagani cheese, oranges, and pomegranates, and dolmades (not the best, in fact not as good as mine, but very nice.)
I suppose it’s no surprise that we stumbled back to the ship and I immediately fell asleep. Jerry went to the pool and swam and read until he was the color of a beet, then he too came back to the suite and crashed.
We woke up with plenty of energy at about 5 pm and eventually went to the patio for dinner. They were serving “American barbecue,” loosely understood (as if there even is such a thing.) Jerry had chicken and short ribs and I had salmon, all with corn on the cob, mashed potatoes and grilled vegetables.
It was pretty darn good. Just fruit for dessert but I got my sugar needs met by sucking down three lime and mint drinks that the bartender made for me — as perfectly refreshing as they could possibly be on a hot summer night.
By then a band had come out to the deck to play for a while, before the serious nightlife began. They were an all-Asian band called The Music Society and they played an eclectic set ranging from reggae, to Jimmy Buffet, to James Taylor, to Santana, to Ike and Tina Turner, to Neil Sedaka.
It was a bit surreal but we danced as the sun went down.
We enjoyed it til the hardcore music performers showed up and started belting out ABBA and asking members of the audience to dance. Oh, and all the lights on the pool deck started flashing multi-colors, turning our faces blue, green, red, orange, and purple in turn.
Too much fun for us. We came back up to the room to watch the ship leave its mooring and head out of Corfu. Our last glimpse was a crescent moon hovering over the lights of the city. Magic indeed.
[In an inexplicable but welcome trick of cruise ship scheduling, we return to Corfu on July 4. That is not enough. I’ve already started searching the Internet for a rentable villa. I can imagine no nicer way to spend a summer month than in the hills above clear waters, looking for dolphins, eating Greek food, and re-reading Mary Stewart. It could happen….]