The Corfiot Village That We Call Home
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Before I get into the ‘meat’ of this post, I must tell you that we had a surprise on Thursday, 10th July and it was … er … irritating to say the least! I had spent the morning rebuilding a dry stone wall that had been decimated when Yiorgos cut  back a nearby olive tree some time ago. I was pleased with my morning’s efforts, despite a few nibbles from horse flies. I was inspired to do more work in the garden that evening. This amounted to extensive watering by hand, not to mention a few mosquito bites!

I had finished for the evening when something made me look out of the apothike window. It had started to pour with rain. Where did that come from? Obviously I know where rain comes from but it wasn’t predicted and it hadn’t looked like rain whilst I was watering. It developed overnight into a full-blown thunderstorm. The next morning, you could have been forgiven for thinking that it had been a dream. July weather was back to normal!

All of the following should be read  whilst understanding that we cannot get anyone to feed and water the animals on account of Jake terrifies the life out of the locals! (Generally, Greeks are as scared of dogs as they are snakes!)

We had been trying the dogs in the pens off and on over the week because we wanted a little holiday – the one referred to in the subject line. We expected barking and we weren’t disappointed! I should emphasis that they are not at all fazed by going in the pens. It is all treated as something of a game. Although Jake and Bella are separated, they still have each other for company. The issue is Bella and drinking water.

We have tried everything with Bella to stop her tipping her water out. She seems to delight in jumping in the various containers we have tried, ranging from a plaster’s trough to a washing up bowl. She tips them in seconds! However, following a visit to Robertos’ hardware store in Roda, we came up with another idea. This involved a painter’s rectangular bucket which was about a foot deep and was made from plastic.

Said bucket was reinforced on one side with the aid of a couple of pieces of wood and two long, stainless steel coach bolts. The bolts were passed through the steel mesh forming the sides of the pen and then through another length of wood before being secured with a couple of wingnuts for easy removal. Bella had a bit of a go at pulling the bowl away but it held! (Despite a few teeth marks!) We were in business!

“Now then,” I here you ask. “What’s all this about a holiday?” Okay, firstly I am sure that I won’t have to tell anyone that occasionally, I am prone to slight exaggeration or as I prefer to call it, “making the story interesting!” The truth is that our friends, Neal and Bev who have a house in Petriti, had invited us to go for a meal and stay overnight with them. This is something that we have never done before given that it is over 150 kilometres round trip. Normally I curtail my drinking and have to drive home. It would also give us the opportunity to go for an English Breakfast at ‘The Big Bite’ in Benitses on the way home!

Our holiday started on Friday, 11th July in the evening when we set off for Petriti with the dogs safely ensconced in their respective pens. Adonis stayed in doors and before you ask – with a litter tray!

We have a list of tavernas and restaurants that we fancy visiting and many are in the south of the island. The venue for this evenings meal was to be one of them.

We met up at Neal and Bev’s house and and Neal kindly offered to drive. I think he realised what a treat this was for me! We set off for a couple of pre-prandial drinks in the village of Νεοχώρι at Cafe Alekos. We were made welcome by the owner – Alekos, of course!

Νεοχώρι translates as ‘New Village’ and it is by Corfiot standards. The Church that stands opposite Cafe Alekos was inaugurated in 1937 according to the plaque outside. It struck us as a very pleasant village and both Neal and Bev told us that despite its relative newness, there was a real sense of community with various community based functions occurring all the time.

After a couple of drinks, we made our way to the suggested venue – ‘The Village Taverna’, in Marathias which is now being marketed as ‘The Village Restaurant Wine Bar‘.

The food was described as “Modern Greek Cuisine” which we thought was an accurate description. You can still get old Corfiot favourites there as well. Our meals were very good. I was impressed with the Pork fillet Diablo which was as hot as its name suggested. It really was tasty. All of our meals were very well presented. The wine was good and the Myrtle liqueur was a nice freebie if not a little too sweet for my taste.None of us could fault our meals.

The service was excellent. It was efficient without being over attentive. They had the balance just right. The only thing that disappointed me was when I asked for the stuffed leg of lamb and they hadn’t got it! I had psyched myself up for it but the Pork proved to be an excellent second choice.

From what Neal told me, I suspect that many of the items on the menu were probably not available. Tricia and I actually find this irritating when you have made a decision only to be told that you can’t have it! We would suggest that they (and many other places) would do better to restrict the size of their menus to what they actually can always produce and have a changing selection of ‘specials’. It would avoid disappointment not to mention irritation.

If you are a visitor and wanted to get away from the often sameness of the food on offer at some beach-side tavernas, we would recommend a visit here. It is not cheap but the price reflects the quality of the food. We would definitely go back.

It was well past midnight when we left following an interesting chat with the owner. Before anyone asks, yes, we were the last to leave. This has become something of a habit when we get together with Neal and Bev! We returned to Petriti where we had a nightcap before turning in at some ungodly hour!

We know that Neal and Bev were a little concerned that we would have difficulty sleeping what with the occasional dogs barking, donkeys braying and general country noises. They had forgotten that we live amongst it all our lives now and whereas it may be different for them compared to the UK it is part of our everyday existence. We slept well. Mind you, there was a very vocal rooster nearby!

All too soon, we had to say goodbye. It had been a great excursion for us. But our break wasn’t over yet! We still had breakfast to sort out!

On our way home, we stopped off at the Big Bite in Benitses for a full English Breakfast. Sometimes these things just have to be done! The Big Bite sits on the beach which although it is small, it is well used. Vera, the owner, had arranged for a party of visitors to help clean up the beach at the beginning of the season.

Despite being community minded, it clearly made good business sense. This stretch of newly cleaned beach looked really nice. It’s looked a lovely place to sit for drinks, snacks or a meal.  As Tricia mentioned elsewhere, it’s also a great place to sit whilst getting your fancy for a full English breakfast out of your system!

Somewhat reluctantly, we continued our journey home where we arrived some time after midday. The animals were pleased to see us and hadn’t come to any harm. They all, however, appeared to sulk for the rest of the day. Oh yes! Bella’s water container survived even if she had managed to make the water somewhat muddy!

Our only question now that we have convinced ourselves that the dogs will survive a day without us is where else should we go next? Tricia is already hinting about Ikea in Ioannina on the mainland!

If you want to view a few images of our meal at The Village Taverna Restaurant Bar along with some views from ‘The Big Bite’, Benises, click here.

That’s it for now!

Bob & Tricia.

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