Warm summery greetings from Corfu - actually March has been a little wet! The month started off fine, with temperatures into the mid 20's but later
it turned cooler and rained! Do not worry - they are forecasting a very hot start to the summer in May.
Now, those in western Europe have been celebrating Easter - so happy Easter! - but you may recall from the February Newsletter, that 'Greek' Easter this year falls on the weekend of the 5th of May. Why is there always a date difference? In my quest for an answer, this morning I popped down to our local Kafeneon. Over a Greek coffee, I questioned Georgos - who by this time in the morning was heavily into
the retsina! After a heated debate between all those inside, (you would have thought they were discussing a national election with the amount of energy expended!) The votes were in and simple answer was given by the most sober. "The Greek Orthodox church uses a different calendar to calculate the date of Easter" - assuming my Greek translation is correct! A little delving into the 'Encarta' encyclopedia on the subject of calendars gave this answer:
"Reform of the Julian calendar in 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII, through adoption of the Gregorian calendar, eliminated much of the difficulty in fixing the date of Easter and in arranging the ecclesiastical year; since 1752, when the Gregorian calendar was also adopted in Great Britain and Ireland, Easter has been celebrated on the same day in the Western part of the
Christian world. The Eastern churches, however, which did not adopt the Gregorian calendar, commemorate Easter on a Sunday either preceding or following the date observed in the West. Occasionally the dates coincide; the most recent times were in 1865 and 1963."
I am sure that this explanation has cleared things up! Otherwise, if you are unable to visit Corfu this Easter, you may be interested in some of the other festivals - most involving food! Bob and Wendy our Greek correspondents from Lafki have written the following report:
Local Greek Festivals
There are many local festivals or 'paniyiris' during the summer in Greece, but I can only speak for Corfu. Most of the villages in Corfu have a festival in the summer, particularly July and August, though there are some in June and September. "The Corfiot" newspaper lists the major ones, but there are many others that only the locals know about. Just ask around.
They are well worth a visit, providing you can find your way there and back - especially after all the eating and drinking! It is a bit like the old fairs that we used to have here in the U.K. Everyone is out for an enjoyable time, meeting friends and neighbours, relatives and being 'seen'. You would be amazed to find the young waiters who have only just served your meal at a local Taverna, later dancing in a circle with family and friends, or the lady that does the cleaning in your villa, with her
generation, clicking her heels in time to the music! All are welcome. Normally you will hear a live band, upwards of five members, playing local tunes, mainly Kalamaniatos and Rouga dances. Do not worry, if you watch for ten minutes or so you will soon understand the basic rhythm. Just join in when you feel a kindred spirit going by. You will be welcomed and encouraged - just watch out for the line of locals flying along to their own intricate steps that they have perfected together over many years. Even the children put us
all to shame!
Each village has at least one 'paniyiri' per year. In the case of Agni it is at Gimari, often held on the coastal road just above Kouloura; quite a famous one I am informed; (although none can match those of our mountain village events, Lafki and Strinilas, at the end of July through the first week in August; they are the peak of the mountain in all senses.) The Strinilas / Pantokratoros festival lasts for almost a week, with pilgrimages to the monastery at the top, culminating in at least two
nights of late night dancing. Held around the 6th and 7th of August. The Lafki 'paniyiri' is on the 25th of July with singing and cantenades, and on the 26th with dancing. Both dates have the usual food and drink available!
So, it is a family event, put the children to bed in the afternoon for an essential siesta, it is going to be a late night! Search out what those of us who have been hooked on Corfu for more than 20 years really come back for, not just the warm sea, sand and tavernas - no the real Greek way of life!
Web Site News
Well the web site continues to grow. Thanks for all your support, ideas and especially photos. Chris and Donna have been answering emails and messages late into the night - how much this will cost me at the Taverna during their next visit - I dread to think! I have changed the Corfu guide comments system and now comments are added to a database automatically - if you have not already added a comment about your favourite place on Corfu then
Corfu Guide I am trying to make the site management a little easier ready for the hectic summer!
The 18th of March was 'Clean Monday' - a time of fasting - well at least no meat is to be eaten!
Normally we make the annual pilgrimage to St Spirodon beach for a picnic with several thousand other locals. Traditionally it is the day for flying kites. This year what with busy roads and the baby, we decided to stay at home with all the family and eat on the veranda.
It was a great day - great food (mostly fish) and plenty of dad's homemade wine - one of the many reasons for me to stay in Corfu!
Well that is it for this month! I leave you with a few notes about Greek coffee - enjoy!
Nathan, Eleni and the now sleeping baby Aphrodite.
Greek coffee is a think muddy mixture served in a small cup (an espresso sized one.) Contrary to what many visitors expect, it is is not exceptionally strong and tastes rather good. I always have one at 10am and another after lunch at our local Kafeneon. Do not do the typical tourist thing and try to drink the whole lot! - leave the mud at the bottom in the cup - not stuck to your teeth! When ordering the coffee, you need to
stipulate how much sugar you require:
A 'med-rio' (a normal or medium one) - has one sugar.
A 'glyko' (sweet) - has two or more sugars.
A 'sketo' (without) - no sugar.
(Many people confuse this with the strength of the coffee and may incorrectly order a medium strength coffee with no sugar.)
To order a medium Greek coffee you would say:
'Ena Elini-ko med-rio parakalo'
How To Make a Greek Coffee
On clean Monday, Lynn made her first Greek coffee - this is how:
First take a Greek Coffee saucepan - this is a small stainless or copper utensil with a long handle (to stop you burning your fingers). Place on a small electric ring or preferably a 'camping gas' type burner.
Fill a Greek coffee cup with water - 3/4 full and poor into coffee saucepan. Then add one heaped teaspoon of Greek coffee powder. If sugar is required then add the appropriate amount.
On a low heat, stir. Once all the powder has dissolved - stop stirring - but leave on the heat.
After a short while, the coffee will start to froth - as it reaches boiling point. Just as it reaches the top, remove from the heat.
Slowly pour into the cup - the light frothy part of the coffee should float on the top.
Sunset at Agios Georgios (North). Thanks to Yanni and Christine for the photo.
Aphrodite - thankfully not yet interested in boys!
Her first meal!
The swimming pool for our new villa is nearly finished! We have been working hard and are very pleased with the results - I will post pictures next month of the completed work.
View from the villa.
The villa is located in the quiet village of Loustri - just above Agni bay, and has four bedrooms - sleeping 4-8 - fully air-conditioned. There are two bathrooms, a fully fitted kitchen - what else would you expect from Eleni! - with dishwasher and washing machine. The villa is on two separate levels - with two bedrooms and one bathroom on each level - Ideal for two families or a large family with teenagers - who want to be a little bit separate from the
parents (or is it parents separate from the teenagers?). A maid cleans daily.
Three large verandas for alfresco eating!
If you are interested in renting the property, then contact CV for further details. As the villa is new on CV travel's books - and was not ready for inclusion of their 2002 brochure, it can be rented at a bargain rate.
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"The original Corfu Villas celebrates 30 years"
CV travel, are currently updating their web site. Richard Cookson has told me that their new 'fully featured' site will be completed and uploaded during the next few weeks. I will post details here.