In May we headed to Corfu, a Greek island in the Ionian Sea for a well deserved break in the sun. Before I moved to Scotland I took the sun for granted, knowing it would shine in my native land down under more often than not. I would hide from it in the long summer from October to March, only venturing outdoors when it was absolutely necessary to compete or commute. After all the sun is a killer.
Now that I stay in Scotland, the land of mist and grey with a gentle sun that nurtures the body, to be sure of a sun filled holiday, a trip abroad is required. So a short three-hour flight to Corfu, the island made famous by the Durrell family, and as the birthplace of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh. It is also recognised as one of the greenest of the Greek islands.
The place we stayed was on the east coast of the island and had a large swimming area. Each morning I would get up at dawn and go for a swim in the cool waters, often with only the sea birds and fish accompanying me. The dawns were magic as the sun rose over the mainland, with smooth conditions that were too hard to resist. I would often go for a swim in the late morning, and in the late afternoon as well, exploring the local environs. I was more often than not the only person swimming any distance at this time of year, as the water was considered to be too cold at around 18c. A few years ago I would have agreed, but not now that I swim in the cool waters of the Scottish lochs.
I did try to swim in the pools in the complex, as they were a decent size, and very clean. There was only one problem: they were too warm for me. They were also heavily used by other guests who did not venture too far from their sun lounges during the day. So I would leave them to their pools, and swim in the ocean, with the joy of some gentle waves generated by afternoon onshore winds, and the feel of salt water on my skin again. It was very relaxing to swim at dawn, have a shower, and then enjoy the delights of the breakfast buffet. Over the week I managed to swim around fifteen kms, a good way to get some time in the water under my belt before the start of the summer season ahead. My swimming at home had been mainly in the pool to date, with only short swims outdoors. It was good to swim with warm air on my shoulders and back again, after the blast of my first winter swimming without a wetsuit
We also managed to explore the island a bit, at least to see Corfu town. Whenever I travel in this part of the world, the sense of history is always there waiting to be discovered and lapped up. Having been born in the New World, this concept of a long history with all its monuments, buildings and myths are a constant source of wonder. It was hard to leave the island to return to Glasgow, but we knew that we would have to make plans to travel again.