The Corfiot Village That We Call Home
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We left you last halfway through September. Since then we have had some dreadful weather, interspersed with some periods of nice sunshine. To say that the weather has been unusual for the time of year is an understatement. Many flights have recently been cancelled resulting in passengers being stranded and put up in hotels. We fear for next years tourism because most of those affected were couples that deliberately wait until after children have returned to school after the summer holidays. The island has been showing signs of closing down since late September which we put down to the dire weather. Ho hum!

Anyway, since we last wrote, I have had another birthday. Yes, Saturday, 20th September was my birthday!

I was 21 again but I did have 45 years experience! To celebrate we went out TWICE to Kassiopi. Okay so once was only for a big Full English breakfast at Bolero Taverna – a treat for both Tricia and I.

The real highlight was dinner at Το Κύμα Restaurant in Kassiopi followed by late Coffee and Metaxas at the Wave Bar. (Both run by the same family).

It has been over a year since we had visited Το Κύμα and I am delighted to say that the food was as good as we remembered it. I know that eating out is a personal thing but we reckon that it is probably the best restaurant in Kassiopi. The only place that may be up there with it is Trilogia if its reputation is anything to go by but we have yet to eat there. From what we have heard, our bank manager might frown if we were to visit there!

The location is stunning, overlooking the harbour and it was, as Tricia pointed out, how I would like to think that first time visitors would remember Greece. At this time of year, looking across the harbour with the lights twinkling can only be described as tranquility personified. There was no loud music. You can go back into Kassiopi for that if it’s what you are looking for!

The food is, in my opinion close to nouvelle cuisine, (Tricia disagrees with my description) characterized by lighter, more delicate dishes with an emphasis on presentation. Of course, should you wish traditional Greek dishes, they are available too.

Tricia started with a spinach, bacon and cream cheese tart whilst I went for mussels in wine. Both were excellent. We both decided on Monkfish fillets wrapped in Prosciutto served in a white bean sauce. The main courses were outstanding!

The service was excellent and the presentation was very good indeed. As always on special occasions, we tend to stray away from the house wines and splash out on something half decent. We both prefer red wines but as we had settled on a light fish main course, we went for the Amethystos white. This is always a good choice. Why have I mentioned red wine I hear you ask? I will explain.

Before deciding on our main courses, we ran our eyes over the red wine list. Our eyes lit up when we saw that they had Chateau Julia Merlot – one of our favourites. Then I saw the price. This is never a cheap wine but €10 dearer than we would pay in a class restaurant in Corfu Town was too much by my way of thinking.

As it happened we didn’t have to make a difficult decision because it would not have been appropriate with our main courses.

Again, this is a restaurant that we reserve for special occasions. We normally eat in everyday tavernas and grill rooms. If looking for somewhere a little special without traveling to Corfu Town, we would highly recommend Το Κύμα Restaurant.

We both enjoyed the evening. It was made better by the fact that we had a short journey home, albeit, a late one.

Sunday 21st September was spent at home and little of consequence had happened until something flew past my head in the living room! It took a little coaxing to get it out of the house but it remains a mystery as to how it got in the first place. All the windows and doors that were open had their insect screens closed. There was no evidence of it coming down our chimney. We can only suppose that it slipped in when we had come in or out of the house and remained hidden until I disturbed it. A mystery indeed!

On Tuesday, 23rd September we had a little treat in store! Not only did we get to go to one of our favourite parts of the island but we also got to eat in a taverna that we have been threatening to visit for ages – To Bioporos Taverna in a little hamlet in the south of the island called Alevropari.

To be honest, Tricia and I would never find it but our friend Jan had offered to take us along with another friend of ours, Lavinia and another friend of Jan’s, Elsa. Jan and Elsa had been there before which was fortunate indeed!

Bioporos is actually an organic farm who serve mainly their own produce. They also provide accommodation. You can read more about the place on their website

We had something of a meze which was very nice and the wine was excellent – so much so that Lavinia and I decided to buy a bottle. We were robbed! The wine in the bottle was not what we had been drinking! However, the taverna owner and his son were later to redeem themselves. Read on ….

We were on our way home in Jan’s VW Golf. Do you remember that I had previously mentioned that this place was in the middle of nowhere? I had a feeling that Jan was taking us in the wrong direction but I couldn’t comment as I didn’t know. It was reminiscent of all those times in the past when someone says, “I know a short cut!” There came a point where we were driving along what I can only describe as a track between some ploughed fields and woodland. The inevitable happened!

The driver’s side front wheel slid down into a ditch! Try as we might we were stuck. After many attempts to free the car we gave up. I continued to try to extricate the car whilst the womenfolk set off in two different directions to seek help.

Tricia and Jan were first to return with a local in a car. He was sympathetic but was convinced that he would not be able to get the car out without a tractor. After a lot of discussion, it suddenly dawned upon us that the owners of Bioporos were farmers and would probably have a tractor. Our Corfiot helper agreed and took Jan and Tricia back to Bioporos.

They returned shortly afterwards, together with the owner who had recently sold us the overpriced wine along with an aging tractor driven by his son. After a lot of instructions in Greek, we extricated Jan’s car much to our collected relief. We thanked our saviours profusely and the over charging was forgotten … for the time being! Poor Jan would not stop apologising for the mishap and insisted upon me driving everyone home! At the end of the day, it was just one of those things – a brief lapse of concentration probably paused by us all chatting! It was a memorable end to a great day!

We had no more adventures during September! However, our friend Doug came up and assisted us greatly by strimming much of our land. I did some myself as well as stacking our firewood and covering it as we needed to start thinking about keeping it dry with winter fast approaching. Doug finished off the strimming on Thursday, 4th October.

However, on Friday, 3rd October Tricia and I had been invited to coffee by Lavinia at her house in Kinpiastes. It is a lovely old village which is very dear to Vinni’s heart as it is where she and her late husband built their home. Vinni’s house is one of those that you would never find without a guide but having now been led their by her, we are confident that we would find it again. It is set in amongst woodland on a plot about the same size as ours. For those that remember Wells Woods at the top of the road in West Wickham where my Mum and Dad lived, it had a very reminiscent feel to it. It was a great place to sit and have a chat over coffee.

From there Vinni drove us to Alonaki Taverna near Lake Korission for lunch. The journey was great as we went through many villages, some of which we were familiar with and some of which were new to us. It was a very pleasant scenic journey. Alonaki was a new taverna to us although we have been aware of it for years. It is in a nice setting overlooking the sea. We ate mezes, all freshly cooked. The young owners were really nice and proudly showed off their twin daughters. I suspect that the taverna is family owned but the younger generation were ‘front of house’.

We returned to Vinni’s house via different route and managed to see even more parts of the beautiful south of the island that was new to us. We were lucky to have a great guide! Tricia and I returned home tired but pleased with out day out.

This brings us to Saturday, 4th October and another tale of dining out! We were conscious of the fact that places to eat out were going to become fewer as the month drew on. ALready some were shutting. Also, both Tricia and I had forthcoming trips to the UK lined up which effectively meant that we had little time to go out for dinner before almost everywhere shut down. We decided to go to Ta Rebetika in Acharavi.

I like Marios, the owner because of his enthusiasm and willingness to try different things. I also like his pizza oven! I would have one if I thought it would get used. It is a great way to bake. Apart from one other table, it was empty when we arrived but Marios was his usual boisterous self and greeted us warmly. I enquired as to what fresh fish he had which came as a surprise to Tricia as she thought we were going out for a pizza!

Marios shrugged and took us to his chilled display where he had two fish – a sea bass and a sea bream. Both were enormous! I asked what the sea bass weighed. Again, Marios shrugged and took a guess at 1½ kilos. I asked him to weigh it. It came in at 1.7 kilos (about 3¾ lbs)! We asked him to cook it for us and said we would share it!

The fish was so large, we knew it was going to take a long time to cook. We need not have worried as Marios kept us supplied with starters and freshly cooked flat breads. It was an excellent meal. The fish was perfectly cooked. What a feast! Oh yes, the price? Fifty euros including our drinks and tip. A memorable, not to mention unexpectedly good meal.

We then went through three days of diabolical storms until Wednesday, 8th October when joy of joys, the sun shone! We even saw a tortoise wandering across the vegetable patch whilst we were having coffee on the veranda. On the downside, considering that it was only a week since we had strimmed, the growth of grass was unbelievable!

I was due to leave for the UK on Saturday, 11th October and most of my time was spent working on my revamped photography website:  www.bobgilesphotos.com. I must confess that I am pleased with how it is progressing. The rest of our time was spent ensuring that Tricia had sufficient provisions for the short period that I was away.

My journey to the UK on Saturday, 11th October was both uneventful and extremely quick. EasyJet did very well. Even my car rental went smoothly and I must confess that I liked the Peugeot 2008 diesel that I was provided with very much. I never thought that I would ever say that about a Peugeot!

It was great to see Louise and Steve, Corinna, Dave and the grandchildren again but my only regret that it was simply not possible to meet up with David and Shelley as time and distance made it impractical. Ho hum! I can however report that all were well. Lauren has started her college course and seems to be coping with her early morning starts well! Ryan seemed to have settled into life at ‘big school’ well and Maggie also seemed happy in the infant’s school. I can report that Rebecca seems to be doing well as she approaches her last years at secondary school with some encouraging results.

Most of my stay was at Corinna’s and involved the usual rounds of medical appointments. Good results I am pleased to report. Of course it goes without saying that I was forced to undertake the usual round of ‘retail therapy’ along with just about every variety of ‘junk food’ that I could stuff in my mouth! I think that my managing to replenish my wardrobe in the space of four hours whilst out with Louise during the course of a Sunday morning was a particularly  outstanding achievement!

My journey home on Friday, 17th October was a relaxed affair. I had been lucky with the weather whilst in the UK. Although it had been predominantly grey, there had been little rain. However, it was a pleasure to land at Corfu and have the pilot announce that it was 23°C. The cheer that went up from the passengers was deafening. There were obviously many trying to get the last bit of sun!

Tricia and I had one last opportunity for a day out on Sunday, 19th October before she set off on her own journey to the UK. We drove down to the South of the island on something of a mission! I will explain! A member of one of our Facebook groups had expressed his intention to be married in Corfu next year. He and his fiance wanted a church wedding but the Orthodox church had declined as they were not Orthodox Christians. There is a Catholic chapel / church in Messonghi but they had never seen it. I offered to photograph it for them if we were ever in the vicinity. This was to be the occasion. We took photos of the church and its surroundings. Fortunately, it was sunny and hopefully the photos were worthwhile.

From there, we followed the river that separates Moraiatika from Messonghi to the sea. It was very photogenic. I love anything to do with boats. They are always a great subject. From there, we drove through Boukari to Petriti where we stopped at ‘Joy’ Cafe for coffee before returning to Boukari for lunch. We had decided to eat at the Kalami Fish Taverna and were welcomed as long lost friends by Vassilis and his wife.

We had yet another outstanding meal of grilled prawns and Glossa (sole). To be honest, we cleaned them out of glossa! As always, it was a great meal in great surroundings. Unless we are lucky in that the weather holds and encourages places to stay open longer, that was probably going to be our last fresh fish meal in the south of the island until next year. Ho hum!

Tuesday, 21st October came all to soon and so it was off to the airport with Tricia who was flying to Luton airport for the first time. AGain, she had an excellent flight which landed early. Corinna managed to find the airport and collected her.

Not unlike my earlier visit, Tricia’s also involved retail therapy but I guess that one of the real highlights were her visit to Rustington to see her Dad and sister, Sandra. She was accompanied by Corinna. They had arranged to have dinner out and by all accounts it was an outstanding success. Tricia is pleased top report that she found both her DAd and Sandra well and on good form.

The second highlight of Tricia’s stay was Lauren’s 18th birthday on 27th October. She had a great day, received lots of presents and had a great birthday party with family and friends at a local pub. Having seen the photographs, I think it fair to say that a great time was had by all.

Tricia was very lucky because so much was going on whilst she was in the UK. continued right up until the night before she left to return home. This was Friday 31st October which, of course was Halloween. She was enlisted to accompany the children. (No! Not to scare them!) It sounds as if she enjoyed herself as much as the kids!

That brings us to Saturday 1st November and Tricia’s welcome return home! I don’t know who was more pleased about her return. Me or the animals!  🙂

We started with the Title, “Has Winter Come Early?” The short answer is, “No!” It has been pretty good to date. We will excuse a few hiccups!

That’s it for now. Be sure to check back for updates and don’t forget to check out the photos here.

Bob & Tricia

 

 

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