Posted by: travelrat | February 8, 2018

The Achilleion

The Achiileion

Corfu: 16th October 2017

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that the Empress of Austria, Elizabeth of Bavaria, familiarly known as ‘Sisi’ visited the Mon Repos Palace in 1863, and fell in love with Corfu. So much so that, in 1889, she started to build her own palace, the Achilleion, which she visited at least twice a year, having pretty well dropped out of court life in Austria.

Line 2 of the ‘hop on/hop off’ bus calls here, but we rode down on the regular KTEL ‘blue bus’ (Service No. 10) which leaves from San Rocco square, and costs a fraction of the price.

At least three tourist coaches were at the gate when we arrived; we thought there must be a cruise ship in. We found out later that there wasn’t, so goodness knows what it would be like if there was. But, a helpful attendant beckoned us through the aimlessly milling crowd to the ticket office. The fee included use of an audio guide … but only on production of ‘satisfactory identification’. We’d left our passports back at the hotel, and hadn’t brought driving licences, for we didn’t intend to drive in Corfu. And, nothing else we had was ‘satisfactory’ … so no audio guide!
In the first room we visited, a tour group of around fifty people had assembled, being screeched at by a tour guide. To avoid them, we went up to the top floor, and worked our way down. Thankfully, we never saw them again. The rooftop balcony led to a terraced garden, where all is peaceful and tranquil. The garden is presided over by a gigantic statue of Achilles, erected by Kaiser Wilhelm II … ‘Kaiser Bill’ himself! … who had bought the palace from Sisi’s daughter, who had inherited it on her death in 1898.
He arranged it so he could see the tip of Achilles’ spear from the deck of his yacht when he arrived … and knew he would shortly be in his ‘holiday home’.

Achilles


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