Sailing southward overnight we awake with the stark mountains of Albania rising from the waters edge. We have left the Adriatic Sea and entered the Ionian Sea. The heel of Italy lies to the West, Greece to our South, as we make for our landfall - Saranda, Albania.
Albania, with a varied history from ancient times, this rugged land has been ruled by the Romans, Greeks, Byzantines and Ottoman Turks, until, in the last century, it became a self ruling communist country, isolating itself from the rest of Europe.
Shaking off the shackles of tyranny in the late '90s, it is still economically underdeveloped.
We toured the UNESCO World Heritage Site - Butrinti, inhabited since prehistoric times and with ruins dating back to the 8th century BCE. first by the Greeks and then the Romans, it is now being slowly excavated, exposing the remnants of those long past cultures.
Corfu, home of the first university and philharmonic orchestra in Greece and birthplace of Queen Elizabeths' husband, Prince Phillip.
We toured the central part of the island, high into the hills. Stopping in a small town to walk through the narrow streets, we visited one home where we saw the owners' olive oil press and then continued on to Corfu Town, where after walking the old town, Judy and I visited the 400 year old Synagogue and spoke to one of its' members, learning of how all but 100 of the towns 2200 inhabitants were taken to concentration camps and less than 100 returned at wars end.
We then returned to our ship to sail overnight to our next port, Itea.