Warm greetings from Corfu.
Time certainly does fly during the winter here. It
seems like only yesterday that I sent out the last newsletter.
So with Christmas fast approaching, how do the
Corfiots spend their festive time?
As many of you may know, Christmas in Greece is over shadowed by Easter.
Still, over the years it has become a commercial success! On Christmas
morning, we go to the local church. People seem far more religious in Greece
than else where. Everyone from the village is seen at the church.
After the service, there is the usual
loading of shotguns and
shooting them into the air!
After Church, the 'men' do the cooking.
Unlikely to be turkey! Normally spit roasted lamb or goat. You might not be
so keen for the
traditional roasted lambís head that is usually on offer!
Like everyone else, we put up a tree decorated
in the traditional manor. The local mayor, puts up 'Christmas' lights along
the lampposts and aound the church. You may have noticed these during the
summer, as last winter they were not taken down!
All the Tavernas and restaurants are closed
over the holiday period, so if you plan to visit (and eat) then make sure
you are invited to join a Greek family!
If you are planning to visit Corfu during the
winter, then you will need to fly via Athens. During a recent visit, Theo and I
searched out some of the sites!
Looking out through the aircraft
window, it was pitch black. Occasionally a small village would loom into
view, given away by scattered lights. We were on a night flight over
the Greek mainland. Theo and I were off to the Athens boat show. No sooner
had we taken off and climbed to a safe altitude, we started to descend. The
flight from Corfu to Athens only lasts a short while. As the plane banked,
the glow of the city could be seen on the horizon.
We arrived at the
new Athens airport. It is large, clean and efficient. Indeed, within minutes we had
collected our luggage and were in search of a taxi. Taxis in Athens are
the most popular way to get around. They are easily identifiable as they are
all yellow. Often while taking a ride, the driver will collect another
passenger on route - an interesting way to meet new people!
Anyway, it was
late at night, we found a taxi and headed into the heart of the city. For
the first time, I had not already pre-booked a hotel via the Internet.
Normally when ever we travel, I am always hyper organised and have a schedule
as to where we will stay and at exactly what times! With this trip though, it
was arranged at the last moment. We asked 'Spiros' our taxi man to suggest a
nice hotel. This proved a mistake. The moment we arrived, he ran inside - I
can only assume to collect his 'commission'.
With my limited Greek,
I think it said at the door - rooms available by the hour! This should have
put us off, but it was late. The room was awful, the beds soft and do not ask what the bathroom was like. I
slept on the floor and had a surprisingly good sleep - my years of back pain
disappeared over night! The next morning
we headed to the boat show. Arrived at 10am only to be told that they did not
open until 5pm - typical Greeks! We spent the rest
of the day sightseeing.
Athens is a city
that never sleeps. Traffic, smog, people trying to sell you something at
every set of traffic lights, and busy Athenians. Having lived in Corfu
for ten years, this brought back my nightmare memories of being back in
will find around every corner an ancient relic or quiet street.
Athens is talking about the Olympic games which will be held here
in 2004. Old buildings are being knocked down to make way for new roads.
Impressive buildings are being built at a frantic rate - especially as they
are behind schedule. Construction is everywhere.
Talking of old
buildings, this one is being repaired. The Acropolis, dominates Athens being
high up on a hill and can be seen from nearly everywhere. At night it is lit
up and it looks stunning. To visit, you need to walk up. Not for the elderly,
especially as the ancient rocky paths have become smooth and slippery through
Its sheer size is
impressive, and the views over Athens are breathtaking. From here (see the
above panoramic), you can see that Athens is actually built in a large dip -
hence the smog.
For lunch, we
walked down to the "Plaka". This is the old part of Athens, and where
you will find Americans pointing at ancient monuments and exclaiming 'Gee
honey, I've got to have one'.
The buildings are
old and architecturally interesting. The flea market is touristy. But, the
little 'Plattias' where you can stop for lunch are a delight.
After our first
hotel experience, we excelled on our second choice.
The 'Oasis' hotel
(www.oasishotel.gr) in Glyfada, as its
name suggests very welcome after a hot day of sightseeing along the dusty
We wrecked it though!
Athens - Useful
Tap water is
heavily chlorinated and fluoridated and supposedly safe to drink. Even having
a shower in it, you can taste the chemicals, so drink bottled water.
accepted everywhere (unlike the rest of Greece).
With sunny, hot
(but dry) summers, and mild winters, (it was 25c when we were there in
November), Athens has an ideal climate.
local 'corner' shops often stay open until 10pm.
hours are: Monday and Wednesday 9.00am - 14.30pm; Tuesday, Thursday and
Friday 9.00am-13.30pm and 17.30pm - 20.30pm; and Saturday 9.00am - 15.00pm.
I almost forgot,
we returned to the boat show and bought the following:
It is the 'Pelkios
10m' 22 person boat taxi, with a top speed of 32 knots. We will be using as
our boat taxi to the Taverna each evening from the surrounding bays.
recommended wine is helping me write this newsletter! Rhodes tends to produce
large quantities of good quality table wine, with a dry new world character,
mostly due to its Southern Mediterranean climate. During a recent visit to my
favourite supermarket - the Alpha Veropolos or "AB" for short, I noticed this
new wine. It is a move away from mass production and is well worth a try. If
they can keep up the quality and consistency, then I will be stocking it next
year at the Taverna!
from Rhodes. 12%
Price (AB Super
Market): 7,95 Euros
colour with light green tints. Mature nose with a fruity, citrus scent.
Thick and bodied. Oily. Deep summer fruits on the palate, giving way to a
light smooth acidic finish. A little too short, but it does keep you going
back for more.
The Taverna is of course closed during the
winter. As we live just above the bay, I walk down most days to feed the
cats and check up on the web cam!
During the winter months, Eleni and I are testing new recipes for next
summer - I'll report on how we are getting on in next months newsletter!
Well I have at last started this winter's
site revamp. After my trip to Athens, I had a computer crash - loosing all my
work. Still I have been day and night revamping and adding new content. If
there is anything that you think I have missed out, then just let me know and
I will see what I can do.
Yep, forget Noel
Edmonds, we had a visit from Bob and Wendy - message board regulars during
November. Bob managed to walk past the computer without posting a message on
the site - although he was shaking a little! He has promised Wendy that he
will not install a PC at their house in Lafki - who's he kidding!
summer, our boat taxi is kept at the little harbour of Kouloura, but in the
winter it is lifted out of the water. Theo and I set
off one November morning to take the boat to Corfu town. The day was warm
We spotted four
dolphins playing in the water. They were some way off, and can travel at up
to 30mph, making a clear photo
difficult - especially as they move so fast.
summer months, we often see them go past. You may remember from previous
newsletters, that occasionally a whale is also spotted.
in Greece fall on the following dates. During these holidays, all shops are
Jan 1st - New
Jan 6th - Epiphany
Mar 18th - Ash Monday
Mar 25th - Greek Independence Day
Easter - date varies each year.
May 1st - Labour Day
June 24th - Whit Monday (date varies)
August 15 - Assumption
October 28th - Ochi (No) day.
December 25, 26 - Christmas.
If you have visited Corfu many times and are
searching for something 'traditional' then this may be it.
Sinarades is an
ancient Greek village that has been forgotten by tourism. It clings to the
mountainside, with an almost Alpine appearance, but is located close to the
coast. Look for it on the map between Pelekas and Ag Gordios - on the South
streets, and unhurried locals.
If you plan to
make a family day of it, the nearby beach of Agios Gordis will help keep the
The 3rd of
November was Aphrodite's first birthday and we decided to coincide the event
with her christening.
PS. I almost
forgot - we have been so excited as she first tried to walk, constantly
encouraging her - now she has started walking - it's a nightmare!
The launch of our new travel venture last month has
been very successful. We are offering 'non touristy' villas, houses and
apartments on Corfu. With our experience of running a Greek taverna we feel
we have listened to our customers for long enough and have identified their
needs. If you plan to visit Corfu next month, why not travel with Taverna
Here are two of the properties we have on
Villa Kendroma - Agni
is high above Agni and Korouzari. The villa has a large covered veranda with
The villa is
spacious and has three bedrooms and one bathroom.
The front door
opens to a hallway. Ahead is the lounge area. The furnishings are simple but
The kitchen is
basic, but has a full sized hob and oven. There is also a good array of
bedrooms have French doors opening to the veranda - with breathtaking views.
The bedrooms are
of a good size, with two single beds in each and plenty of hanging space.
The villa owners live below, but are a quiet
chance, they will eagerly show you their prized gardens around the
The walk to Agni
Bay is down hill by road or a small goat track. It takes about 10-15 mins.
The walk back may be too much for some as it is uphill. Kourzari Beach is closer
and a 5-10 min walk. A car though is recommended for this property.
Geronimos House - Loustri, Agni
The house is divided into two apartments - The
upper apartment and the lower - each sleeps 4-6 people. The views from the
private verandas are just
breathtaking. Ideal for spending a evening with friends and a bottle of wine
As you walk inside, you will realise that this
is no ordinary apartment. It is a three bed roomed, spacious apartment with
a huge lounge and kitchen. The focal point though is the stunning veranda.
The master bedroom has a king sized bed with
French doors to the back veranda.
The pool is just opposite, shared by the
other apartments, and enjoys stunning views over Agni bay.