Now that the surprise has been successfully executed I’m free to talk about what had been secretly planned for weeks with Anita’s parents, Jim and Janice, for our arrival into Greece.
Jim contacted me on Facebook stating that he and Janice were planning to surprise Anita by meeting us for the Greece leg of our travels. They had originally planned to surprise us both but coordinating an international surprise without an accomplice on the other side was proving difficult. Let me tell you, even with my help it was no easy feat! After weeks of working with Jim to narrow down a specific date, time and place, the day had finally arrived.
Anita and I were catching the 1pm ferry from Sarandë, Albania, to the island of Corfu, Greece, where I would lead Anita to a nearby café for a bite to eat and wait for our Couchsurfing host to contact us. Anita had organised a host who I had secretly messaged a few days earlier explaining the situation and who kindly agreed to play along.
The first hurdle was being told that our 1pm ferry had been pushed forward to 11am only an hour before it’s premature departure. This would mean arriving in Corfu two hours earlier than expected and having to stall Anita for longer. I messaged Jim straight away letting him know to pull the surprise forward but received no reply. We caught our ferry across, were processed by immigration, then proceeded to the café to wait for our Couchsurfing host who was never actually coming.
I had to lure Anita to this location without arousing suspicion so created a lie about a place in Corfu which had the best Greek lamb and salad at an affordable price. As this café actually didn’t serve either, I would pretend that it must of been old information and that this location was now occupied with this new café. There appeared the second hurdle.
As we pulled up to the café and I explained this to Anita she became aggitated. It probably didn’t help that I had really built up this “amazing Greek food” we were going to have, nor that in reality the food at this café was quite basic and very overpriced. Anita was so insistent on leaving and finding another place until I finally managed to convince her to stay, which I assure you again was no easy feat.
I kept checking my phone nervously but still had no reply from Jim. Anita was facing the front entry so I messaged for them to come around the rear entry but still no reply. It was after an hour of stalling and trying to keep Anita from walking out that I saw her look up and light up. I knew then that Jim and Janice had arrived.
They ran in, puffing and sweating, and threw their arms around Anita who was tearing up with joy. Jim explained that he hadn’t had any wifi and so didn’t receive my messages until reaching the ferry terminal moments before. Once received and realising that we had arrived much earlier, they sprinted the 1km to the café. After some tears, laughter and a short catch up, we jumped aboard the bus headed for Old Town.
Jim and Janice had very kindly organised an Airbnb for us all which was 5-star luxury compared to where we’d been staying. We dropped our bags and freshened up, then went for a much needed beer by the water. After spending the afternoon planning what we wanted to do with our time in Corfu followed by a lovely dinner and a few too many Australian sweets smuggled in by Janice, we crashed out.
The following morning we jumped on a bus headed for Paleokastritsa Beach. This place was perfect. Beautiful turquoise water and soft sand, all housed in by two giant cliffs. Although a little crowded, we managed to find a patch to sprawl out for the afternoon. After a swim we ventured up to a nearby restaurant for our first, and certainly not last, gyros. Man, had I been looking forward to that.
That night we walked through town and along the water to a Greek seafood restaurant that was recommended to us by our Airbnb host. I think we all agreed that it was one of the best meals we’d had in Greece so far. Crusty bread, meaty olives, fresh salad, crispy home-cut chips, grilled octopus and the main event, a whole BBQ fish doused in lemon. It was everything you’d expect from a sensational Greek meal.
Our last morning in Corfu saw us grabbing a light breakfast, packing our bags, and making the short walk to the ferry headed for our next stop – the small, relaxed island of Paxos.