Corfu is the Pink Palace. That’s probably fair, although most certainly disrespectful. In a healthy way, of course.
A hostel that serves up (and caters to) comfortable hedonism is the lifeblood of that little – and jaw-droppingly beautiful – Greek Island. The Palace sits like a “General on a Horse” statue above the ocean (something Aegean?), and looks down on an endless beach of crystal blue water and more than a few romantic moments – some worthy of Disney, the rest National Lampoon.
A five-minute walk away from the hostel – again, along the water – will take you to ticky-tacky souvenir shops that sell beach balls, towels, and shot glasses (glasses you could use on this island, I’ll guarantee you) as well as lunch haunts that will toss you Greek salads (yes, they do call them “Greek” salads in Greece) for 2.50, a plate of luscious olives for 4.00 (so good we’d call them gourmet), and half-litres of Mythos beer (damn good, even though you’ve never heard of it, you naive Canadians, you) for 2.00.
So, you get your taste for the island, but you’ve craving your hostel the entire time. That’s what it does to you.
You could arrive too cool for school, and you’ll leave fully enrolled.
When you show up, you get a shot of Ouzo (there are better liquors, but free is free). I’d recommend welcoming yourself to the Palace with a beer from their 24-hour bar (again, just 2.00), because it’s the first of many. At least, it should be.
Dinner’s free at the Palace, and so is paradise.
(Of course, you’ll pay 25.00 for a Booze Cruise and never get a free beer back, so don’t think it’s all-deals-all-the-time. That’s travelling, after all – you have to give a little to get a lot.)
You could probably call it the easiest place to get laid, but that’s not giving you enough credit. Because, hey, you got yourself there, and your fortune is due to your effort, not the ease of the game.
Nights are reserved for a plethora of bars – the hostel has a reception bar, a nightclub, a dinner hall, and a beach bar and grill – that host Traffic Light parties, Beach parties, and Toga parties. If you have to look any of those up to know what they are, I’d recommend you look them up. I won’t waste time telling you.
Now, don’t go thinking this place is only meant for the never-sleeping or the stout of liver. The staff is the best you’ll meet, and the friendliest, too. The rooms aren’t luxury, but they suit you and they’re surroundings. The Palace will let you rest and it will let you be.
You don’t have to drink the night away or discover the beast in you.
But, to quote Russell Crowe and that Boot just to your northwest, “Is that not why you are here?”
You can march all around Europe and love it, and still never really feel comfortable. If you’re vain (yeah, you are), there will always be somebody dressed better in Rome, always somebody not sweating in Paris, and always somebody enjoying themselves more in London. In France, there’s better cheese somewhere else than you are right now. Same goes for the pasta in Italy, and the dark beer in England.
In Berlin, you wish you were somewhere Bavarian. In Munich, you wish you were somewhere alternative. In New York, you want Brooklyn. In Brooklyn, you want Manhattan.
Every time you’re enjoying yourself, that bit of anxiety creeps in and warns you, “There’s greener grass than here.” It’s why you go into every New Year’s with two parties in mind. It’s why you pick safety schools, and it’s why you travel in the first place.
But, to wander around Corfu with a hideous sunburn, to let your gut hang out on the Palace’s booze cruise, to float in stomach-high water with two cans of Mythos in hand, to jump off a 45-foot cliff because everyone else is and you just feel that enjoyable pressure, to go naked under a pink bedsheet and feel the better for it…
That’s true, unconditional, and completely selfish happiness.
It exists at the Pink Palace. At least, it’s pretty darn close.
(*Photos below from The Pink Palace website)