A storm has blown in, cold and blustery, clouds heavy with rain. I’m hiding away inside, watching Miss Marple as I wait for a loaf of seeded, whole-grain bread to finish baking.
It’s the perfect sort of day to escape to a Greek isle for a sunny trek around Corfu’s Old Fort (Paleo Frourio). Even if it’s only in our imaginations.
I visited this 15th Century fortress three years ago with my brother and a group of dear friends.
Although it was only May, it was blisteringly hot, and we guzzled water as we gazed up at the crumbling rock walls that have protected Corfu for centuries from pirates and invaders.
Built by the Venetians on the site of a Byzantine castle, it used to be connected to the mainland by a moveable, wooden bridge.
The British replaced it with the current solid pathway in 1819.
The fortress has seen fierce battles, parades of prisoners condemned to death, and worshipers gathering at the only Doric-style church in all of Greece.
Historians believe it was the site of an ancient temple, and others have found written evidence of a settlement there, complete with churches, water cisterns and storehouses for gunpowder.
Walking down to see the Doric columns of the church, we craned our necks up the cliff face and saw a lighthouse towering high above us. In spite of the heat we were determined to see it, so up we went, one scorching step at a time.
Our steps led us around and through the Old Fort, deserted now after hundreds of years. I wished I could’ve closed my eyes and seen soldiers tramping through or heard lookouts hollering that they’d seen a ship.
I wondered what they’d eaten, where they’d slept, what their lives were like.
At last, huffing, puffing and drenched from exertion, we reached the top.
It was worth it.
The views were stunning, providing brilliant vistas of Corfu Island and the sea.
Even better were the breezes that swooped around us, cooling us just enough to let us enjoy the view we’d worked so hard to see.
What is the best view you’ve worked hard to see?