Corfu and Greece
Architect and historian Francesco da Mosto embarks on a journey across the Mediterranean sea. As Francesco and the crew of the Black Swan enter Greek waters, the boat is making the fastest headway since leaving Venice on the long voyage to Istanbul. But disaster strikes as the mainsail rips and they limp into the next port, the island of Corfu. Corfu has more relics of British rule than Venetian, and Francesco is soon drawn into a game of cricket on the island's best cricket pitch.
In the romantic setting of the British Garden Cemetery there are many reminders of British occupation. And Corfu is the island setting of the hugely popular novel, My Family and Other Animals. Author Gerald Durrell is long since dead, but his good friend David Bellamy is there to point Francesco in the direction of the island's animal life. While the Black Swan puts in for repairs Francesco takes the ferry to the Greek coast and heads inland. His first stop is the surprising town of Ioninna - a little bit of Turkey in the middle of Greece. Once it was the stronghold of the evil Ali Pasha whose cruelty was the talk of Europe at the beginning of the 19th century. But peace and hope is restored as Francesco ascends the incredible mountain realm of Meteora - a sacred kingdom in the clouds. Here ancient monasteries perch perilously on the mountaintops with, seemingly, no way to get up to them. Inside are some of the least seen but most brilliant frescoes of the medieval age.