| Cunard Queen Elizabeth 2016
Greek Islands Voyage
It is our first visit to Albania, the port which replaced Kusadasi in Turkey. Saranda is a popular beach resort close to the northern tip of Corfu and on its eastern side. The cruise terminal is too small for the Queen Elizabeth so we were anchored. Access to the area is through the gap between Corfu and the mainland, and includes going through the narrow Northern Kerkira channel which is only just over 1 mile wide at its narrowest point. After the clocks changed overnight we awoke to a computer screen showing our potential route was through the middle of Corfu, but that was only to get us into the right area for carefully going through the narrow channel. At 0700 the sun rose into a cloudless blue sky.
Saranda is the gateway to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Butrint and excursions were planned to visit the national park there. We decided to stay on-board until the tours had departed then catch a tender and explore the beach front and shops of Saranda. Tendering was an unusually slow process and we saw disabled people being forced to take a step test before being given their numbered tender ticket. We took photos from Decks 3 and 10 before deciding to go and join the queue for tenders in the Queens Room. Although we only spent an hour walking along the seafront promenade it was interesting to see an Albanian seaside town. There were a lot of local craft stalls with ladies knitting and crocheting and men carving marble. We had remarked on the lack of obvious church buildings from the ship but that was partly because they were small and hidden in the rows of hotels and apartments. As more tourists arrived the cafés and bars became more lively and those with direct waterfront views became busy. Some menus and gifts were priced in euros, which is not surprising since Corfu is only a short ferry ride across the water.
The best panoramic view of Saranda and Corfu are supposed to be from the Lekursi Fortress on the top of the hill, which includes a nice restaurant and bar. One of the tours visited it for a folklore performance but it is too far and too high to hike there when the weather is clear and sunny, not to speak of dangerous on a narrow, steep and winding road used by tour buses. Local taxis are possible but prices are variable and unpredictable.
|Copyright © Peter and Pauline Curtis
Content revised: 31st October, 2016