The Corfiot Village That We Call Home
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Well, hello there! Yes it has been a long time since our last post and there is no real excuse! We hope that you will forgive us. Thanks to those who enquired after us. Thankfully we are both fine. Some of those queries have prompted me to put fingers to the keyboard. Needless to say, we have taken countless photos. We will try to share only those that we feel will be of particular interest.

Let’s see, where did we get to? Let’s start with one of our regular trips to the south of the island on the Sunday, 9th November. Tricia and I were fortunate enough to visit Olga Stavrou’s Workshop in Messonghi. This was not our first visit and yet again, we were amazed at Olga’s amazing talents. She is an extremely capable artist in many mediums. Needless to say, we returned home with some new items for the house! We have included some images of her work here.

It came to a point where we were starving and went hunting for lunch. We were amazed to find Kalami Fish Taverna open in Boukari. We looked no further!

As Tricia’s birthday fell on Thursday, 13th November, there was nowhere inspiring to take her for a meal and so we settled for something home cooked. It’s a real pain when birthdays fall mid week in winter here!

On Friday, 14th November it was cold. We soon discovered why when we spotted the first snow of the winter on the mountains in Albania.

On Saturday, 15th November, the sun was shining and Tricia and I decided to venture out for a bit of a road trip. I wanted to take some photos on the west coast travelling south from Pelekas. The journey gave us an opportunity to renew acquaintances with many places that we haven’t visited for a long while.

We had only visited Pelekas in the summer previously when the village was over-crowded to our taste and the descent to the beach a bit of a nightmare. In winter, the village had returned to being a typical working Greek village and was more to our liking. The road down to the beach is still a nightmare but the views from it are breathtaking! The beach is really beautiful and we can see the attraction for visitors. We do however suspect that some of the owners of some of the really nice properties probably flinched as the resort side has developed.

Kaisers Throne provided some spectacular photo opportunities even though there was a lot of haze caused by numerous bonfires.

We continued our journey passing through Sinarades which I reckon is one of the nicest inland villages travelling south. It struck us as a very well maintained village and were we to be told that it is a wealthy village we would not be surprised. It’s a really great looking place.

The next village that we (re)visited was Agios Mattheos. Again, this is a village that we like because it is another real working village. It is very large and there are some spectacular views.

We continued on south through the village of Vraganiotika, home of the Mavroudis family museum and modern olive oil press which we will get around to visiting one day! We have plenty of our own oil at the moment and it would have been something of a ‘busman’s holiday’ as the museum is closed at the moment. The presses are hard at work!

We continued through Linia before heading to St Georges South. It would have been remiss of us to ignore the beach at St Georges South! If you like a sandy beach, I doubt that you will find much better on the island. Like all resorts, it is pretty desolate out of season and apart from ‘Cafe Sas Too’ on the beachfront we didn’t notice anywhere open. Out of season, the length of the beach and just how spread out St Georges South is, becomes very apparent.

Again, like Pelekas and so many other resorts, we can understand why so many people fall in love with them – often without venturing elsewhere.

From there we made our way to Argirades. We have a friend who wishes that they had bought a property there. We can see why! Very nice.

We ventured on through Marathias as far as Perivoli by which time I was starving! (No change there!) We had a look around Perivoli but there was nowhere obvious to grab a bite to eat and so we retraced our steps and headed down through Neochoraki and Vasilatika. By now you can probably guess where we were heading!

We came out at the Tee junction on the Boukari to Petriti Road right alongside Spiros Karidis Fish Taverna! We sat in beautiful sunshine by the beach and had a glorious fish meze comprising fresh Kalamari, mussels, the best white taramasalata ever, fresh chips, tomato, cucumber and onion salad all washed down with a couple of beers.

After that, even the two hour journey home didn’t seem much of a chore … even if I was nearly asleep by the time we hit Loutses! It was a great day out and shows that there can be plenty to do outside of the season if you are of a mind. It always makes us wonder why those with properties in Corfu scurry back from whence they came at the end of the season!!

Not a lot happened over the next week but we did spot a couple of things that may be of interest to those that enjoy the flora and fauna of Corfu. First there is ‘Toad in the Hole’ No! Not the sausage in batter meal! If you ever where toads go during the daytime, we can reveal that they dig themselves into holes in the ground. There is a photo to prove it! The second thing of not was a fungus which I believe to be Clathrus ruber. We have only ever seen this distinctive fungus once before and that too was on our land.

Many who frequent Greece will be aware that dogs and cats are a bone of contention amongst visitors. Rarely is it recognised that they invariably not kept as pets per se and roaming dogs are not uncommon –  as it used to be in the UK decades ago. Similarly many cat’s are feral and visitors understandably become distressed at the sight of a scrawny looking cat. To be honest, those that insist upon feeding them whilst they visit and then leave them to fend for themselves when they leave are adding to the problem. Dogs and cats rarely see the inside of houses in Greek households as they are generally perceived as being dirty.

Neutering is rarely undertaken which leads to a lot of problems, particularly with female dogs. They are often abandoned as owners cannot afford to feed them. This leads to a lot of unwanted puppies. One of the more unpleasant sides to this is that puppies will often be deliberately abandoned on the property of ex-pat owners in the belief that they will take care of them. In particular, the English love of dogs is well-known.

A good friend of our, Lavinia fell foul of this during November when two puppies appeared on her terrace during a very wet night. Vinny already has a dog and it was impossible for her to keep two extra dogs. She made a lot of enquiries and eventually a German charity agreed to take them once they had seen photos of them and that they had been inoculated – at her expense. This was where I came in.

On Monday, 1st December, I visited Lavinia at her house in Kinopiastes and took some photos. The puppies were very healthy and lively. The photos were circulated and the charity ultimately rehoused them. It was the end of a very distressing incident for Lavinia,

I am sure that everyone is aware that logs, kindling, chain saws and axes form a major part of life during winter in Corfu. One becomes experienced overtime as to some of the less obvious hazards apart from severing limbs connected with such activities. Scorpions are frequently found but on Wednesday, 3rd December, I was stacking wood when I came across a snake skin in amongst the pile! Despite my vigilance, I never came across its owner! I had just about finished my wood stacking and was on my way indoors when a sudden movement down the drive caught my eye. We had some trespassing sheep!

Despite snow on mountains, there was still the occasional butterfly about on the 9th December.

On Friday, 12th December, Tricia and I took ourselves off for a walk around Loutses. Apart from anything else, we wanted to be nosey and have a look at a couple of new houses being built! The sun was shining and the views amazing. Again we were surprised to see some butterflies. We have included an album dedicated to this walk.

On Wednesday, 17th December we were amazed to see a lot of bees about and even more amazed to see almond blossom.

It wasn’t long before Christmas was upon us. As usual, Tricia and I spent it at home alone. Don’t feel sorry for us because we had a feast! The turky was probably the best we have had in Greece and our gammon was outstanding. Of course we miss not seeing the kids and grandchildren but Skype is not a bad substitute.

We had an invitation to join our friend Jan at her house on Saturday, 27th December – St Steven’s Day. She always has something of an open house on this day as it would have been her late husband, Stefanos’ name day and of course, her property is on the San Stefanos Estate. It was a great day out and one that we really enjoy.

This brings us to Wednesday, 31st December – New Years Eve. It was also memorable because we had snow! As always we spent New Year’s Eve at Maistro Taverna and yes, we had a good time!

This seems like a good time to pause for breath as I will now have to see about creating the various albums to accompany this post. 2015 is a new year and seems like a good place to start the next post. Until then, take care!

All photographs accompanying this post can be found here.

Bob & Tricia

 

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