Paleokastritsa – Discovering Corfu Part 2

 

Corfu, Paleokastritsa, Greece, Beach, Paradise, Travel

Beautiful Paleokastritsa

Corfu is an island rich in culture, nature, with many places to visit and explore. My family and I did a tour called ‘Discover Corfu‘ which included visiting Kerkyra Town ( mentioned in my last post), and we also visited the north west of the island where there is a village that is like a paradise because of it’s turquoise-blue waters, a village called Paleokastritsa.

Paleokastritsa is one of the favourite places people want to see in Corfu, as it is famous for its unique beauty, and that it something you have to see by yourself. The distance between Kerkyra town and Paleokastritsa is about 25km, so it is a short journey and on the way the landscape is so beautiful, there are many olive trees, cypress trees and lemon trees.

Cave, Corfu, Beach, Travel, Sea, Fish, Diving

In the ‘Deep Blue Eye’ Cave

On arrival we enjoyed a lovely Greek lunch ( a post about Greek food coming soon!), and after that we went for a boat trip to the Paleokastritsa caves. The trip takes about 40 minutes and costs 10,00 Euros per person, we were taken to four different grottos to see the ‘deep blue eyes’ caves. My son was really amazed with the colour of the sea, there were many fish in different colours (he would be looking for Nemos’s and Dory’s look alike!). It was a beautiful trip, a must do for adults and children. You also have the option of doing a trip near the caves on your own and hire a small pedal boat which is more for couples or small groups of about four people. The weather is hot hot hot, and can get easily to it’s 40’s Celsius so I suggest using a high factor sun block, a hat and a bottle of water.

Corfu, cat, monastery

A cute cat having a nap at the Monastery

Paleokastritsa beaches are lovely but sort of crowded so it is up to you if you want to spend the day there. We were in a tour so our next stop would be not far away in the Monastery of Theotokou. This is a 13th century monastery, the walls are in a soft yellow colour, it is  a well maintained and peaceful place with a lovely bell tower. There is a dress code for visiting the monastery and women are given a sort of shawl to cover their shoulders, you may light a candle if you wish and make a donation or visit the souvenir shop.

Corfu, Heart, Love, Travel, Sea, Diving

The Heart Shaped Lagoon

Our last stop was in the village of Lakones, located in a hill not far from Paleokastritsa. Most tour coaches stop here because it is the perfect spot for taking pictures to the shaped heart lagoon, it will definitely take your breath away and it is one of the most amazing views I have seen in my life.

Soon I will be writing about all those delicious meals we had in Corfu, it will be a special post about Greek food.

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How Learning English changed my Life.

I was starting my first year of high school when my mum told me it was time to learn English. At that time I was living in Peru, a Spanish speaking country where schools teach English but lets say it is more like a basic language holiday lesson. My mum said that learning English would be very important for my future, so I started having intensive English lessons in a British Institute outside high school.

My English lessons were always very early morning and I would practically run to catch the bus to make it in time from the institute to the high school. I had a special authorization from the school head teacher to arrive a bit late. It didn’t took very long for my classmates to realize that I was good at English and they would ask me for help when doing homework or when having a test.

In the 80’s we didn’t have Internet so I had penpals in order to practice English writing. My first penpal was a girl from Kent, England. We used to exchange postcards, stamps and posters of music idols. She would be the one who sent me a magazine page with the picture of Rick Astley and he would become my idol, I learnt the lyrics of all his songs and still now I am a big fan. In Peru I didn’t listen to radio stations in Spanish and instead I preferred to listen to radio stations that played songs in English, that actually helped me a lot into understanding the language. On Saturday afternoons I used to spend time at the British Institute library where I was fascinated with the books in architecture and history.

Years later I traveled for the first time to the United States where I struggled a bit because I was speaking ‘British’ and at times people would tell me I was saying things wrong (when I wasn’t) and it didn’t bothered me. American and British English have different vocabulary and also sometimes grammar could be different. For example: A ‘butty’ in British is a sandwich, the ‘petrol station’ in America is the gas station, and British go to the ‘toilet’ not to the bathroom. A very useful book about how to speak British is called ‘The very Best Of British’ by Mike Etherington, this book is a must read if you come to visit England.

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Definitely speaking another language helped me with job opportunities. At a very young age I worked for important companies speaking English and Spanish, met new people who became great friends, and suddenly I found myself travelling to many places for work and pleasure. My love life was not good and it wasn’t going anywhere, so I forgot about ‘normal’ dating and decided to look for love in a very different way. It was time to find Mr Right so one day I subscribed to an Online Dating site. I was very serious about it despite one or two people who thought I was doing something really crazy. There was something special and sexy about flirting in another language, the long distance issue was not important and that is how I met my husband.

I think it is never too late to learn a language, actually I learnt Italian a few years ago and I have been thinking for a while about starting Japanese lessons. Learning languages open doors leading to opportunities in life and I truly believe it can even change people destiny.

Christmas at DisneyWorld and Universal Studios Florida

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My husband and I have been in Orlando in the past as it is one of our favourite holiday destinations. The last time we went to Orlando was ten years ago so we were thinking about going back but this time during the Christmas season. I heard that Christmas time in Orlando is extremely busy with never ending queues in all the Disney and Universal parks but that didn’t put me off about the trip. I liked to plan everything in advance and did my own research about places to visit and things to do. If you are thinking about a Disney/Universal Christmas in 2016 I have some tips to share with you:

Tickets for Attractions: It is up to you buying tickets in advance on a web site or directly at the attractions. A lot depends on how long you are going for, as most UK websites sell 7 to 14 day tickets only. We compared prices on web sites against Disney Parks and Universal Parks but there is not much difference for shorter length trips – some sites do offer some savings compared to gate prices but you have to weigh that against the risks of the tickets not arriving, or not being accepted at the park.

Uber Taxi : It was our fist time using Uber and we are recommending it to all our friends. It is safe, reliable and the cost is less that the typical yellow taxis. All you have to do is add the Uber app in your phone. Uber drivers in Orlando are all friendly, polite and will let you know where about is the Uber location for pick ups at any Disney or Universal Park.

I-Ride Trolley: If you decided to stay in International Drive you will see a cute green bus passing by very often. That is the I-Ride Trolley, they have stops in the International Drive area and you can buy the tickets in selected hotels or just pay to the driver (exact cash). It generally costs a few dollars per day.

Where to Stay: We always prefer to stay in the International Drive area as we like exploring and visiting restaurants, but you could also stay in one of the many lovely Disney Hotels or Universal Hotels if you wish. It depends on your itinerary and how much time you would like to spend at the attractions.

Trip Advisor: Before booking on Expedia, Last Minute or any other web site I would advice to check reviews of your chosen hotel in Trip Advisor. We stayed in the Rosen Plaza at International Drive which has excellent reviews and has recently been refurbished, it is well located for shops and restaurants.

Shopping : Orlando has many shopping centres or malls to choose from, all of them big with many designer shops. I am always looking for bargains and my favourite one is Orlando Outlets at Vineland Avenue. The I -Ride Trolley is very handy as it has a stop in this outlet.

Do a Ride Priority List: Disney and Universal Parks have many rides and there could be long waiting queues, especially during school holidays or Christmas. At the moment the busy rides in Universal Studios are Transformers, Minions and the rides at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter ( Hogwarts trains also is constantly busy). If you love these movies and want to make it to the rides put them in your priority list as soon as you get into the park to avoid more than one hour wait. During Christmas the parks open at about 7.30 am but this isn’t mentioned in the park leaflets.

Express Tickets: You can skip the regular queues buying a Disney or Universal Express Ticket, the cost depends on which park you will visit. Just in case, Express Tickets aren’t valid at Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Harry Potter and The Escape from Gringotts, and The Hogwarts Express. I know this doesn’t sound fair at all, but hopefully this will change in the future.

Using your Credit Card: There has been reports about credit card cloning in Orlando so be extra careful when using your credit card in the International Drive area, especially in restaurants. When paying your bill don’t let the restaurant staff go out of sight with your credit card.

Disney Parks and Universal Studios definitely get better and better with the years, so if like us, you have been to Orlando before, you will realize there are new rides and most of the old ones have been replaced or upgraded. Some people ask me if Orlando is expensive, well for sure you will have to ‘destroy’ your piggy bank. It all depends on how long you plan to stay and how many parks you plan to visit. A Christmas holiday in Orlando is something you must do at least once in your life as it is the most beautiful and magical experience ever. Your children will love it and as an adult you will feel like a child again.

A 70 Year Old Girl

 

My mum at Penrhyn Castle, North Wales.

My mum at Penrhyn Castle, North Wales.

It has been a while since writing in my blog, and this is because my mum was visiting England and we spent quality time together, she is not just my mum she is a good friend too.

This is the third time my mum visits England, she is in her 70’s with a bit of health issues but nothing to worry about. It takes more than 14 hours the flight between Peru and the UK but she is used to it now. She is an adventurous girl, a good traveller and she isn’t scared of the long haul flight but she always carries her rosary.

She doesn’t usually travel with dad, and she doesn’t say that she misses him but when she speaks over the phone with him, I can guess by the tone of her voice that she really misses him. My dad isn’t a frequent flyer as my mum, he says that is because he doesn’t speak English and that is the reason why he isn’t interested in travelling abroad. I’m in the process of making him change his mind.

My mum learnt English when she was a teenager in Peru, but she hasn’t practice the language in years. She understands what is going on around her when she is here, tries to read the newspapers or magazines with my help but she struggles when talking to others. It was interesting to see her trying to speak to my mother in law, it was more like a ‘spanglish’ conversation, so funny, and somehow they understood each other. My mother in law and mum are friends and that makes me happy.

We went for a walk to Liverpool city centre and she was telling me about her memories in the 60’s with the Beatles fever. She said ‘Sweetheart, the fans would scream like lunatics and some of them would faint of excitement!’. We also went to Wales as she loves the castles, we visited Penrhyn Castle and when we were walking in the castle gardens she said: ‘ If a castle would be able to talk, can you imagine all the stories that it would tell?’. She loves trees, and she likes to hug them, she always says ‘ its good to hug a big tree, old trees are full of energy and that’s good for the human body’. She is catholic but she has her spiritual side too.

My mum is the one who gave me all her support when I met my husband, as a good friend she would always listen to me when telling her about my ‘cyberboyfriend’. She knew I met this guy on a Online Dating site, he lived in the UK, I was living in Peru, and at that time I would never imagine getting married with him. One day when I was deeply sad my mum said to me : ‘If he really loves you he will show it, and the distance between you and him won’t be a problem’. She was right.

It is always difficult to say good bye to mum, at the airport my heart breaks to see her leave. She has an English family in this side of the world, my husband and son love her to pieces and we are making sure she enjoys life. She says that thanks to us her dreams as a child about visiting England came true.

We love you mum!.

 

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