A Corfu Escape Amidst Covid19

Corey was the motivating force in planning a trip beyond England. Though he booked everything last minute, he was researching family travel abroad on various websites, and through numerous colleagues and friends who’d also been on a recent trip abroad. I needed reassurance, and a clear concept of what the steps would be for each leg of the journey. I purchased water nappies, snacks, and ‘items that stick’ for Saya’s airplane activity kit. Then we posted our out of office messages, and left at 5am for Heathrow on Thursday morning. Saya was an excellent traveler on this leg of the journey. She babbled in the cab, and ate to her heart’s content on the flight. We got her for a short nap as well so she’d be ready for the Greek sunshine when we arrived.

It was clear many British families had the same plans as we did! The majority of the resort guests were from the UK- like 99.9% I’d estimate. We checked into our room, explored the grounds, and found a perfect sized playground for Saya, right outside the main food hall. It was 30 degrees and we couldn’t wait for the sunny adventures ahead.

Each day started with an early breakfast buffet that was followed up by a morning swim at the pool. We’d break for a snack (usually dried fruit or a banana that I’d lifted into my purse from the breakfast buffet), and then hit the playground for swings and slides. We’d be the first family lined up at the dining hall for lunch. This was so Corey could score an al fresco table with a highchair, while I loaded up plates for lunch that always included a Greek salad. We discussed the important point of whether or not a Greek salad was actually called a ‘Greek salad’ now that we were in Corfu. Corey mentioned that the staff all seemed responsive when we pointed and named the salad amongst others at the salad bar, so we concluded we didn’t need any further digging into the topic. We’d have a family nap in our room after lunch before our afternoon swim in the sea. Corey and I decided that we liked the sea compared to the pool, though Saya’s stamina was much shorter than we expected for both. After 20 minutes, she’d want to explore the shore, the rocks, and the little wave pools along the sand. Corey reported that his main highlight of this trip was taking Saya into the sea for the first time as the water was clear enough to see small fish, and warmer than the resort pool.

We would return after a couple hours to shower off all the sunscreen, and be first in line for the dinner buffet. By the way, my highlight of the trip was not cooking any meals, and having watermelon served during every buffet. After dinner, Saya would attempt to visit the playground again, and we were do anything to distract her so we could get back to our room for her bedtime routine. By the third night, we discovered that handing her the room key was the best way to get to her go directly back to the room. Being charged with this important task was the motivation she needed to bypass the slide. It’s safe to say that the highlight for Saya’s trip was likely the playground…and probably having the attention of both parents nonstop.

After she’d fall asleep, we’d turn on the baby monitor and sit outside in the warm evening under the sky speckled with stars. I’d usually turn in earlier than Corey, and he’d wander the resort playing the music trivia games, or checking the resort mini-disco.

A fun coincidence on this trip was a colleague arriving in Corfu a couple days after us and only staying a 17 minute drive away. They picked us up in their rental car, and whisked us through olive orchards, and small fruit stands to their private accommodation! We enjoyed the local taverna overlooking the sea with a serious order of surf and turf for our first lunch together. Saya enjoyed her first taste of octopus and calamari and we couldn’t get enough of the souvlaki.

I supported Corey decision to book later return flights so we could have a full last day. My colleague, and her daughter who is exactly two months younger than Saya, kept us busy with a morning swim at theirs. The pool was inhabited by a small frog which kept us all busy as we swam around one another. We finally got a colander and placed the frog in the bushes so we could have less of a wary swim! We couldn’t say no to another taverna lunch and Saya caught a quick nap before we loaded our gear into a taxi for the airport.

Our journey home started with Saya being carsick all over me, but Corey and I worked together to check in, pass through security, and find our gate, with her being as comfortable as possible. The family bathroom was a gem in the middle of the Corfu airport to say the least. The flight activity bag that I’d assembled was put to good use and helped pass the time between snacks, and a couple of attempts for a second nap (which definitely didn’t happen).

By Heathrow Express, we were all tuckered out. Saya wasn’t inspired by the plane, train, and automobile trifecta we planned for this leg of the journey. She let us know this at various points. But we agreed that a full last day was worth it, and she slept as soon as her head hit the crib when we arrived home.

It took us a week to unpack and finish laundry. The warm memories of Corfu sustained us through a rainy week in London. Corey’s mom said ‘we still have to live life’ when we reported we would be traveling out of the country, and that felt very true on this four day adventure. Corey’s motivation to always live this life to the fullest is what I didn’t know I needed at this time, yet I’m clear it was the exact thing for our family this August.