Greetings from Greece.
We are having a fantastic winter here in
Corfu although a cold one. Early one morning I went
outside to investigate why we had no water. The icy wind woke
me from my slumber and I soon realised that 'frozen
pipes' were the cause. What in Greece I hear you cry?
Our elderly neighbour lamented - I have never seen a
frost in the village - let alone frozen pipes! It was no
laughing matter. Some villages were without water
for nearly a week - they had to wait for the mains water
pipes to defrost before the water could flow again!
the 6th (Theofania - Literally 'appearance of God' or
Epiphany) was the coldest any local could remember.
Many went down to the Church at Kouloura for the
blessing of the Cross in the Water.
Only one local lad was
brave enough to endure the icy waters and retrieve the
Fortunately since then, then weather
has steadily improved and now we are back to warm spring
days and the occasional shower.
Olive Tree Preservation
One can hardly visit
Corfu without commenting on the number of
Their verdant green, carpeting the island and protecting
it from the searing summer sun.
Local life for
generations has been dominated by olives. Their crop
essential to survival. It is estimated that on Corfu
there are over three million trees and has been
suggested that at their peek they provided nearly 1% of
the worlds olive oil!
Recently though, the
importance of olives has lessened. The market value of
olive oil has weakened and tourism has offered
alternative ways of earning a living. Many are now
deciding that collecting olives is simply not worth the
Recent bans concerning
aerial spraying have not helped as they have reduced
crops. Pests such as the 'Olive Tree fly' have ruined
harvests. Alternative methods of controlling this pest
have yet to be implemented by governmental authorities.
The results, in some locations have been devastating. This grove
located on the main coastal road between
Acharavi was decimated. By the olive fly? No! The
owner simply decided that he would not collect the
olives anymore and would sell the wood. Currently, the
cases are few are far between. But they are being
fuelled by the increase in value of the timber. This problem
was brought to
Jim and Lorraine Webster:
The wholesale cutting of hundred year old olive trees
in Corfu may result in an ecological catastrophe if it
isn’t stopped soon. Despite protests to various levels
of government and articles in the English language press,
the devastation continues. The timber bought is sold to
contractors who bring in large crews to cut the trees.
When approached, they claim they are pruning the trees.
It is well known that the proper way to prune
established olive trees is to reshape the tree to reduce
the density of foliage and allow sunlight to penetrate
into every part of the tree. Cutting and leaving a one
or two meter
stump is not pruning.
There are many environmental consequences of removing
large groves of olive trees. The reduced tree cover
ceases to moderate the natural cooling effect which will
increase energy consumption. Fewer trees reduces the
natural nesting places for local and migratory birds.
Storm water runoff is increased with the consequence
that severe erosion takes place as the root system of
stumps is not as effective in water retention as that of
mature trees. This is a particularly important hazard in
Corfu as the winter rains are particularly heavy. Lastly, whole systems of native shrubs, herbs, flowers
and delicate orchids that flourish in the shade under the tree canopy
will be lost. The Corfiot reported: “Even disregarding
this damage [to the ecosystem], the cruel cropping of
trees destroys the characteristic feature of Corfu’s
landscape – one of the features which distinguishes the
island from other holiday
What can we do?
Due to the complexities of this problem. We plan to
spend March seeking and investigating the answers to the
Once these questions have been answered - we
will file the report in next months newsletter, then we can
decide what action can be taken.
How can you help?
At this stage, please not
not become too concerned. Currently the cases are small
and isolated, but we feel that they need to be nipped in
the bud. If you would like to contribute your thoughts,
then please follow this link:
Olive Tree Preservation: Forum
Report by Angela and Graham
1989 when we first had the opportunity to visit Albania.
I remember someone saying on the boat as we sailed over,
how privileged he felt to be making this trip. The
captain of the ship explained that he had persuaded some
Albanian officials to try and bring some tourism to the
area in order to bring in some foreign currency which
was badly needed. It was still communist at this time, a
year or so before the uprisings and overthrow of the
Albanian government. We were not allowed to take any
written material into the country and had to list every
currency note that we had on us including the serial
number. We also had to sign to say we were not
concealing any video cameras, televisions or washing
As we sailed up to the harbour in Saranda, it was quite
a strange sight to see a wide curved bay with a sandy
beach spread out in front of us. It had a lovely
promenade with palm trees, but there was no one on the
beach, no sun beds, sun umbrellas or beach bars that you
would expect to see on a beach on the Ionian sea. Built
into the rocks on the harbour side of the bay was a
swimming pool, it was full of children, hundreds of
them. There was a great lack of colour, everything was
very drab, especially the clothes that the people wore.
Two high speed armed patrol boats were moored along side
the harbour and armed guards stood on the dockside. They
just looked at us as we walked past, to the two buses
awaiting our arrival. Not a very friendly welcome. There
were no private cars, only army vehicles and old local
buses with broken windows, the few shops that existed
were empty there was nothing to buy, literally nothing!!
We were taken to the archeological site in Butrint and
passed soldiers in their concrete bunkers at regular
intervals along side the road as we drove through the
countryside. We passed donkey carts as we drove and saw
many people working in the fields.
After our visit to
the archeological site of Butrint we were taken to the
only hotel in Saranda where we were served the most
enormous meal with so many courses it went on forever,
whilst we watched the local folk dancing. We were not
encouraged to go out into the town, hence the large
meal, but we did manage to get a quick walk around,
before we returned to the boat but there was very little
to see, only poverty.
In September this year 2003, we returned to Albania on
the same trip as we took those 14 years ago and what a
different place we saw. The trip on the boat was very
straightforward although a visa is still needed, there
were no restrictions on what we could take into the
country. The armed boats had gone and the swimming pool
in the rocks had gone. When I told the guide of the
children I saw on the previous visit she explained to us
that the children went to the swimming pool at the
weekends to swim and play at the beach whilst their
parents were working in the fields. She said it was very
sad to see them in those days, on their own, the parents
so busy working in order to get enough money to feed
them that they had no time to spend with them. The town
is very pretty and this time there was much more colour.
The buses that met us on the dockside were much improved
and as we drove through the town, we saw shops with
goods in them, many new hotels and new buildings
everywhere. Many of these new buildings are empty
hotels, waiting for tourism to take off. The hotel we
were taken to was very clean and modern and a big
improvement on our previous visit. We again visited the
archeological finds in Butrint. We drove through the
fields, and a village, where there were new houses and a
great deal of building taking place, a hotel on the
beach (with sun beds and sun umbrellas !!) and continued
alongside the huge lake where the mussles are farmed.
The lake spreads all the way along to the site of
Butrint, an old Roman township that was visited by
Julius Ceaser. It is amazing how much of the ancient
buildings are still intact. It is now a world heritage
site and is considered one of the most important
archeological sites in Europe. Much of the work to
uncover these historic buildings is funded by large
donations from Lord Rothschild and Lord Sainsbury and
much more of it had been restored than on our first
visit, it is a site really worth visiting. It is in a
beautiful area where the plains stretch along to the sea
facing Agni bay in Corfu, and the mountains stand high
at the back of the plains where in winter they are
covered in snow.
We returned to one of the hotels for a rather late
lunch, nothing like the size of the one we had 14 years ago! We visited a few of
the shops and bought hand made lace mats and tablecloths from the ladies selling
their goods along the promenade and outside the hotels. There are now a few tourist shops selling souvenirs and many
people on the tour bought cigarettes and tobacco which I
believe is even cheaper than in Greece.
The whole day was full of interest and passed very
quickly and it was sadly time to return to the boat to
go back to Corfu. I will always remember the relief on
returning to that boat on our first visit. Although the
visit was interesting, it felt very unwelcoming and
frightening seeing soldiers with guns everywhere, it
made us realise the freedom we have in our modern
European countries and I was glad to be back on that
This visit was very different and that uncomfortable
feeling was no longer felt, big improvements have been
made and it is quite remarkable how much has been
achieved in about 10 years. I believe the country has a
long way to go yet to reach today’s European standards,
a little paint would go far and a rubbish collection
service is long overdue, but there is a vast
improvement. It is not dangerous to visit this part of
Albania, although the British Home Office does issues
warnings about Albania, this is a day trip to a seaside
town in an area that belonged to Greece until the second
world war and holds non of the dangers of the capital
city. It is quite safe, the people are friendly and
pleased to see you, the guns are gone and the communism
with it. Do take the opportunity to visit and support
these people that are trying so hard to make a decent
standard of living for themselves and their future
This winter, we have been very busy with
improvements to the Taverna. The kitchen has been completely remodeled and
enlarged, resulting in a new working layout. Part of the kitchen was dug-up to
remove a step - or split-level, so now the kitchen is on one level. Underneath the floor, we
found the original floor constructed out of huge hand-chipped stones. We
carefully removed each one so that they can be reused in another property.
The work has now been completed and new equipment
is on its way - Eleni is now keen to try it out!
Jeremy had been in Corfu for
a week, doing work on ‘Sarava’, by the time I flew in from Bristol. I only had
hand luggage so sped through the airport and out into the morning light, the air
was warm and smelt of foreign lands; damp earth, pine trees, fresh coffee,
cooking and strong tobacco.
Amazingly the first person I saw in the doorway was my friend Yiannis, who had
been my faithful guide and driver since my first visit to Corfu. Looking very
chic in a navy blue shower-proof jacket he grinned at my surprise. He was very
pleased with himself for being there so early to meet my flight, he did not know
I would be on that one but, remembering I would be there that day he decided to
be there in case. To the chagrin of the other taxi drivers queuing for fares he
walked past them, chatting merrily, climbed into ’K9’, the official number of
his cab, and sped away .
When I arrived at the marina I found ‘Sarava’ incredibly tidy, Jeremy had
obviously spruced her up for my arrival, normally everything is everywhere
during his spring maintenance schedule, cupboards turned upside down, hatches
open, carpets up and tools all over the floor. He leads a sailors bachelor
existence when alone, living on bacon and eggs or pasta and sauce until I get
there. We eat out most nights and revel in trying different restaurants before
the tourists arrive.
The next day was blue and white, the sun strong with a cool breeze falling down
from the hills. I went into Corfu Town early and pottered about, seeing friends,
enjoying a Nescafe Frappe under the trees of the Espianada. The Mediterranean
swifts with their elongated, arched wings were gliding and swooping overhead,
their high-pitched whistles filling the air. The cricket pitch was emerald
green, soon it would revert to scorched orange-brown earth until the first rains
of autumn. It was delightful to take my time, read a paper, write some postcards
and not rush around as I do during the summer months when family and friends on
board need feeding and ferrying.
The following day we moved the boat to Mantouki, pronounced Mandouki by the
locals, not a breath of wind rippled the water, surprising as the night before
we had been woken by a particularly violent thunderstorm. The owner of the
boatyard, Dionyssis, was waiting to guide ‘Sarava’ onto the partially submerged
lift and waded chest high into the water. He had to make sure she was secure
before putting the machine into motion. We were pulled gently out of the sea
onto the slipway and although at an angle, sloping backwards towards the water,
it was comfortable on board. We enjoyed wonderful views, with ‘Sarava’ resting
on her twin hulls we were twenty feet above sea level. We looked towards Ipsos
and Pantokrator on one side, the distant mountains of Albania and the islet of
Vido on the other. Like a sentinel watching over the New Port and its visiting
cruise ships, Corfu town rose majestically, its lovely multi-tiered buildings
glowing pink in the evening sun.
Next morning I took my folding bicycle into town, feeling very brave and
adventurous as I have always used a taxi before . I am not a brilliant cyclist
and had to dismount frequently to allow more knowledgeable drivers to go first.
Following the main road as far as the port I headed up the hill on the sea side
and noticed a tiny bay with a very pretty miniature church wedged between two
buildings, one of them a café. Chairs, tables and umbrellas overlooked the
water. I went down a very steep slope, again prudently wheeling my bike as the
brakes definitely needed attention, passed under a huge, ancient stone archway
and chose a table. While I sipped my coffee I enjoyed a marvellous view of the
Old Fort and Palace. Under the pine trees in the Palace gardens there is a
narrow wrought iron spiral staircase enclosed within a cage-like construction to
prevent its users falling off onto the sharp rocks below. I wondered whether
this had been used to facilitate sea-bathing by Greek royals in the days before
the King Constantine had been exiled. When I put this idea to Jeremy he
suggested a more logical, if less romantic, explanation; that it was an
efficient means of escape, in times of trouble, to a waiting boat.
I spent the rest of the day in luxury lazing by the pool of the Corfu Palace
Hotel. This is an annual treat, the boat being out of the water and in the dusty
chaos of the boatyard, my day of 5 star pampering . The gardens overlook the sea
and are scented with freesias, roses and jasmine, heaven on earth. I read, swam
and dozed on my sun bed until the sun disappeared. I cycled back to the boat,
changed, dragged Jeremy away from his work and we rode off together across the
main road and up the hill on the other side to try an new restaurant. We
followed our noses and the smell of olive-wood smoke and cooking led us to the
beautifully converted olive press, ‘La Bonita’, a traditional Corfiot building
of one story with a tiled roof and mellow golden stones. We propped our bikes at
the gate and went inside. It was a real surprise, a huge glass door welcomed us
to a gracefully decorated interior. Sea-grass floor covering, softly upholstered
chairs, designer linen tablecloths and napkins, the ceiling sporting an enormous
silver tube like the body of a Chinese carnival dragon. It was the 13th May, our
21st wedding anniversary. As we walked in the heat hit us, it had been a very
hot day and the olive-wood fired pizza oven was alight and ready for action. The
manager apologised profusely for the fact that the air-conditioning had broken
down, he was just waiting for the electrician. He duly arrived and, as we
ordered a bottle of Champagne, was busy fixing it. The room was beautifully cool
in minutes. We were very hungry and ordered paper thin prosciutto with juicy
honeydew melon to start, followed by our pizza, cooked to order, with parmesan,
rocket, more prosciutto, fresh basil and black olives. The base was thin, crispy
and definitely the best I have ever tasted, delicious, ‘nosteemos’. As we rode
back, luckily downhill all the way, the night sky was littered with brilliant
stars. Toad and frogs in the gardens were competing with each other for the
loudest croak. Amongst the bushes, under the lemon and orange trees, the cool
darkness was sparkling with thousands of fireflies, their acid greeny-yellow
lights flickering and dancing everywhere. I could have watched them for hours.
Every patch of grass became a fairy grotto.
The mattress on the double bed in our cabin had sunk in several places, deep
indentations which made it uncomfortable every time you changed position. It was
made of solid foam, common in most boats, and very hot during the summer months.
Consulting our ‘guru,’ Yiannis the taxi driver, we paid a visit into town. He
parked the car and led us towards the church, Agios Theodoras, daintily
decorated in marzipan yellow and white, looking just like a birthday cake.
Wondering if he had totally understood what we were after, or if he thought we
should ask for heavenly guidance for our quest, I casually asked him, “Where are
we going Yiannis-moo?” (Dear Yiannis) It looked a highly unlikely location for a
bed shop. “Ella,” he used the magic word which means many things in Corfu; ‘come
here’, ‘come on’, ‘come here’, ’look’, ‘here you are’, ‘there it is’, ‘lets go’
and so on, one hears it all the time. On one of our earliest October half term
visits to the island we brought one of Miranda’s best friends for the week.
Everywhere we went we thought she was being called; her head turned every few
minutes to the exclamations of the locals, in typical Greek banter, shouting her
name, “Ella!”. (My Cavalier King Charles Spaniel now responds faster to “Ella”
than to his own name, ‘Burberry’!)
There, under the shadow of the grand church in the little piazza, among the
tourist shops brimming with olive-wood bowls, wooden spoons and ornaments,
wobbly metal display stands jingling with hundreds of wind chimes and cheap
jewellery, was the improbable bed shop. In comparison with all the glitz and
glamour of its neighbours it looked rather drab and boring. No decoration or
sparkle here. The ugly duckling amongst the swans. It had only a plain window
and a doorway and was slightly gloomy inside after the brilliant white sunlight
in the square.
Shelves on the left of the doorway were stacked high with pillows in polythene
bags, looking like dozens of marshmallows. There were beds of various sizes and
with Yiannis’ help as interpreter, bed- tester and mattress expert, we chose
ours. “What size do you want?” asked Maria, “What sizes do you have?“ replied
Yiannis before we could open our mouths. He rolled his eyes at us as if to say
‘stupid question’! Maria patiently explained that we could have any size,
thickness, softness or hardness we required, as well as our choice of filling
and springs. The factory was nearby and would make to order. Jeremy groaned
thinking this would take months. The last mattress we bought in England was ‘off
the peg’. We were not allowed to have the one we chose because it was the
display model. We were forced to have an identical one ordered; it took four
months to arrive and was not as soft as the one we had tried. What sounded like
and argument followed between Maria and Yiannis then he said, “It will be ready
in two to three days and they will deliver,” with a triumphant grin.
Needing some new pillows I asked Maria to extricate some from the pile for me to
feel. Most were filled with polyester which I will not have but she suggested I
try one special variety which most Corfiots used. It was firm but springy, I had
never felt one like this before. Maria explained that it was filled with pure
sheep’s wool, in a cotton casing, cool in summer, warm in winter and it would
never go flat. I bought four and they have been marvellous. I reached in my
handbag to give Maria our address and phone number but Yiannis whipped a smart
business card out of his jacket, with the dexterity of a conjuror, and told
Maria to all him when it was ready; he would instruct them when and where to
On Saturday morning Jeremy and I were up at six to visit the agora, the outdoor
market. We carefully climbed down the 20ft metal ladder, wobbling slightly,
walking passed Dionyssis’ work shed - a concrete box with a corrugated iron
roof. On a rough plank of wood, propped on two oil drums as a makeshift bench,
was a plastic crate filled with dozens of fresh sardines on a bed of crushed ice
and partially covered with a colourful teacloth. The box sat neatly between the
tools of his trade and assorted tins of paint, an early morning present from his
friend the fisherman.
Lohagou Spiro Vaikou Street leads from the port road to the market. The hill was
steep, it was already very warm, so we dismounted and pushed our bikes for the
last hundred yards. Walking gave us the chance to admire the enormous stone
walls of the New Fort, particularly the carving of the symbol of Venice, the
winged lion of St. Mark.
By 8.30 the market was a colourful sight, bustling with local shoppers and
traders. It was very noisy and fragrant, the scents of fresh fruit and
vegetables mingling with wet fish and dried herbs, with just a tinge of exhaust
fumes from the constant stream of slow-moving traffic passing into the town
centre. Each stallholder loudly extolled the virtues of his wares, trying to
outdo his neighbour in volume. They will often call out, “Kalimera Kyria!” (Good
morning Madam) so you feel obliged to return their greeting out of politeness
and this, naturally, leads to further conversation.
“Would you like some beautiful tomatoes, aubergines, courgettes?” and so on.
“Not today, thank you” is usually followed by, “Where are you from?” my blonde
hair and fair skin being an obvious giveaway that I was not from the island,
despite my best efforts at speaking Greek.
“England,” I reply. “Ah yes, I thought so, I have been in Manchester,” he would
announce with pride. “Oh dear,” you think to yourself, “how sad, what a pity he
did not get to Devon, The Lake District, Cornwall or Scotland.”
“How nice, next time try to see the Westcountry where I live,” and you edge
slowly away only to be accosted by the next stallholder. Not wishing to be rude
to such friendly people, a trip to buy a few supplies can take a long time.
Luckily, half-way up the thoroughfare, squashed between stalls is a tiny
kafeneion, (café) the white plastic tables and chairs covered by a makeshift
canvas roof, one ‘wall’ formed by the side of a van, the others by bits of
polythene sheeting. The ‘hut’ at the back is just big enough to house the
necessary crockery, a till and a calor gas hob. We were the only foreigners
amongst the early morning customers, I was the only female. However, we were
greeted warmly and served delicious Greek coffee in miniature white cups,
glasses of iced water alongside.
Refreshed and energised, the caffeine kicking in quickly, we went to the olive
oil vendor. We bought a litre of the golden-green oil which he decanted from a
large earthenware jar into a re-cycled plastic water bottle.
“Real oil, fresh from press, no chemicals”, the farmer told us. We also bought a
bag of pistachio nuts, pink tinged, which showed how fresh they were, he also
had huge, plump sultanas, the size of size of ripe grapes, which had been dried
on his flat roof in the Corfiot sun; half the price of the shrivelled ones sold
in polythene packets in the shops. As I squeezed the bottle into the basket on
the back of my bike Jeremy said I should be careful not to confuse it with an
identical one already on the boat which he had filled with ‘2 stroke’.
We bought some lemons, the size of baking potatoes, a bunch of crisp, dark green
rocket, peaches, tomatoes, a melon, some tiny new potatoes and a gigantic
cucumber. No chilling for weeks on end, genetic engineering or irradiating here,
just sun, fertile soil and harvesting after the produce had ripened naturally. I
am always tempted to buy too much but storage for fresh produce is limited on
the boat and things deteriorate rapidly in the heat. We treated ourselves to
some wild strawberries, sold in white plastic yoghurt pots lined with vine
On the other side of the fruit and vegetable market, past the corner where an
open-sided van sells socks and enormous knickers, are the fishmongers, their
stalls dripping with melting crushed ice, probably supplied by the tiny shop
along the waterfront by the New Port sporting the sign, ‘ICE IS MADE’. Their
catch lies glistening on the ice, dead eyes staring at the sky. Almost every
type of fish can be found, salmon, tuna, mackerel, swordfish the size of
dolphins, shiny, green/black mussels, red mullet, whitebait and sardines,
cockles and lobsters. The live prawns which are described in Sainsburys as
‘Madagascan Crayfish’ are as long as your hand. They are commonplace here, we
like them barbecued on the aft deck while at anchor in a secluded bay somewhere.
I decided to take a few photographs, I had always been in too much of a hurry
before, with family and friends on board, waiting to set off on another
adventure. I only have one, taken by Miranda last summer, of me with a gigantic
swordfish on the slab behind me. I have the awful feeling that once ‘Europe’
gets its hands on these lovely islands, places like this market which have gone
on happily for thousands of years will simply be swept away under a tide of
bureaucracy and ridiculous ‘Euro-law’ and disappear forever. The olive oil
vendors were delighted to pose, I tried to take a casual shot of them chatting
and gesticulating but at first sight of the camera they lined up regimentally,
shoulders back, chests out, grinning widely.
Another general shot took in a plant stall with its array of multi-coloured
roses, pelargoniums, pots of bougainvillea, jasmine and hibiscus, tin cans full
of pristine arum lilies cut from gardens before dawn; the market being up and
running by 6.30 every morning except Sunday. What I first mistook for unusual
yellow flowers turned out to be courgettes with their frilly blossoms in tact,
pretty enough to put in a vase. Giant tomatoes glowed in the early morning sun
and dried herbs tied in neat bundles filled the warm air with edible scents.
Lettuces of all shapes and sizes sparkled with water droplets,the farmers
sprinkled water on their produce regularly to keep it cool and fresh. Kos is
called ‘Corfu’ lettuce in the ingenious way that Turkish Delight became ‘Greek
Delight’ after the Turks invaded Cyprus in 1978. Nearby was a display table with
more than fifteen varieties of olive from tiny black local ones to plump
Kalamata, huge green Queen olives and others mixed with herbs and spices. We
were encouraged to try them all, a good ploy, especially as we were peckish; we
ended up buying a kilo. Needless to say they bear no resemblance to the hard,
dry, woody ones, tasting of brackish cardboard, available in English
“I suppose buying fresh food like this, straight from the farmers and fishermen,
with the odd fly or bee buzzing about, will soon be sanitised by Europe,” said
Jeremy glumly, “it will all end up in jars and packets along with everything
else.” In Devon we always bought our clotted cream straight from the farm, a
practice now banned thanks to blessed Brussels.
My last purchase was half a kilo of bright red cherries. Baskets full we headed
off for another coffee at the fishermen’s favourite café by the port. Jeremy
went into the chandlers and came out with a glossy brochure full of pictures of
dinghies, he had also bought a crusty loaf of village bread, still warm. We can
never resist buying fresh bread whenever we pass a bakery. It is the smell, of
course, we always have too many loaf-ends in the galley as nobody can resist
starting the new one. The fish in the waters around our boat are very well fed,
probably obese and in danger of sinking. I suppose this irresistible aroma is
the reason supermarkets in Britain waft the chemically produced scent of fresh
bread electrically from the entrance; hungry people buy more.
When we got back to the boat Dionyssis emerged from his little shed, scaled our
ladder and handed us a blue plastic bag. “For your lunch,” he said, “they are
all cleaned and ready to cook, just fry in a little olive oil.” The bag was full
of the sardines, carefully beheaded, we had seen on his workbench earlier, he
wanted to share his bounty with us. Spiro, the engineer, had left us a bottle of
his village wine and his wife had donated a home-made loaf. We waited until the
evening to prepare our banquet, “It’s like the miracle of the loaves and the
fishes!” quipped Jeremy. Sitting in the cockpit, a vase of wild flowers on the
table, the coral sun sinking behind the mountains, we raised our glasses to the
kindness and generosity of our Corfiot friends and felt truly blessed.
Corfu Holiday FAQs
Take a new look at our FAQ page.
Corfu getting Around
Hire a car, take a bus or use a local taxi, but renting a motor boat can be the experience of your Corfu holiday.
How to avoid Mosquitoes while on Holiday.
How Much Money?
How much will you need for eating out while on Corfu?
Properties with pools, traditional local houses and quiet apartments. Agni Travel can help you find your perfect holiday.
It's carnival time!
The Greeks like to celebrate at almost every
occasion possible. Now as it is nearing Easter,
everyone is celebrating with parties and family
In Corfu town they have three weekends of
celebrations prior to 'Lent' or 'Clean Monday'. This
year it started on Sunday 8th February with a small
procession in Corfu town, and then on the 15th
February, more people had got costumes and faces
painted to join in the fun. The big crescendo was
this last Sunday 22nd February with floats, bands
and people in fancy dress costumes all following the
carnival through the flagged and colourful streets
of Corfu town.
There were streamers, horns, confetti and loud music
everywhere. Even though it was cold and rained all
day long, the show still went on! With smiling faces
on frozen bodies. What an atmosphere!
You were surged on with the crowd, umbrellas
bumping into one another, but it was fun. Once the
carnival was over, it was a mad dash to find seats
in the cafe bars on the Liston for cups of coffee
and hot chocolate, to warm up those fingers and
You don't have to go to the expense of hiring or
buying costumes. A lot of people made their own or
just wore something silly to join in the fun. Men
dressed up as women, complete with tights, high
heels and hand bags! Not surprisingly , many had masks over
their faces to hide their identity!!
There were stalls in the town and on the 'platia'
selling toys, spray foam, horns and pop corn all to
add to the enjoyment and atmosphere.
Clean Monday (23rd February) is the start of 'Lent'
and that means no more meat until Easter for the
Greek people. Mum and Eleni had been busy cooking in the
kitchen for a grand feast. We had : taramosalata,
squid, octopus in vinegar, fried prawns, garlic
rice and prawns, lagan (special flat bread), salad,
gigantes beans in tomato sauce and mussels, all washed
down with dads home made wine.
The dessert was
'Halvas' which is a sweet made of almonds, sesame
oil, sugar and then a flavoring: chocolate or
vanilla. It is very sweet and sometimes best eaten
along with a little bread.
Normally we would take all the food picnic style to
St. Spyridon's beach and eat together as one family,
then later, flying kites from the cliff tops or on
the beach below, but as we have had so much rain
over the past week, we decided to picnic indoors
around dad's open fireplace.
The evening before, Theo and I joined Nathan, Eleni
and Aphrodite in a local bar/restaurant for the
fancy dress and pre carnival party. What fun we all
had eating our 'mezzes' as the open fireplace roared in
the background, the music and dance started and out
came the fancy dress costumes, whistles, confetti
Even Nathan made an attempt - black hat and
confetti! He just loves the chance to dress up !!
Here are a few of the costumes, see if you can guess
the real identities.
Later in the evening Theo and I joined our friends
at another party in Kassiopi, danced and had fun
until the sun came up!
Lynn - Agni Travel
As the summer season 2004 is drawing even nearer,
why not have a look at Agni Travel's properties on
Corfu and treat yourself to a small piece of heaven.
Villa Ollios, Kalami
Sleeps 4-8 From 1320 Euros per week
Villa Ollios is a
beautiful modern villa that nestles in the olive
groves overlooking the charming and popular bay
and village of Kalami on the North East coast.
The house enjoys a marvellous sunny position
with views of the famous Lawrence Durrrells
'White House' from almost every window.
Kerasia Beach Villas - Kerasia
Sleeps 2-4 each, from 441 Euros per week
This unique villa positioned in a stunning location, with direct access to one of the north east coast’s best (blue flagged) beaches, is well sought after. Kerasia is a long and curved elegant bay, fringed with lofty trees almost hiding the few buildings behind this lovely shore. With clear sea and good swimming this is perfect for a mid morning dip or snorkel.
Villa Thea, Temploni
Sleeps 4-8, from 1330 Euros per week
A modern, well
equipped villa with private pool. Villa Thea is
located at the center of the island, offering an
idea base, to explore and find the most secluded
beaches on Corfu.
Kaminaki Olive Press,
Sleeps 4-8, from 1225 Euros per week
old Olive press has been so expertly restored,
that only those with a complete disregard for
traditional beauty could possibly resist its
An insight to the workings and personalities of our church
HOLY TRINITY CHURCH, CORFU.
The February issue of 'Pulse':
February Corfu Pulse
The March issue of 'Pulse':
March Corfu Pulse
Back to Our Roots — An
Two Greek-Americans are undertaking a modern-day odyssey to Greece from New
York, in honor of the 2004 Olympic games. Departure is scheduled for May 30th,
2004. The journey by sailboat will take approximately 10 weeks.
Seeking adventure and self-discovery on the high seas, the two mariners will
sail across the Atlantic Ocean, through the Mediterranean Sea, and north on the
Ionian Sea to Kerkyra (Corfu), Greece. The stops en route include the Azores and
Gibraltar. Estimated arrival in Kerkyra is on or about August 5th, 2004.
Mr. Katehis, owner of a food service/catering business on Wall Street, was born
in Kerkyra in 1964. His parents, in search of a better way of living, moved to
America when he was seven. Since that time, he has often visited his
grandparents and other family members who stayed behind. “During my trips to
Greece, I would get goose bumps all over my body. It’s an exhilarating feeling
of deep-rooted homesickness,” says Katehis. “Anxiety would build inside as I
came closer to reliving my ancestral past. I would be the happiest of kids
visiting the storekeepers and small Venetian-style streets of Old Corfu Town
that I had left behind.”
A technology consultant in the investment industry, Andonis Prikas was born in
the US in 1967. His father is from the island of Kos and his mother from the
Greek mainland. “The trip is inspired by my grandfather, who was killed in the
1946 Civil War,” says Prikas. “His name was Captain Kostas Ladas, and he fought
proudly for what he believed in.”
Katehis and Prikas will be sailing on their 40-foot sailboat, “Adele.” After two
years of vessel preparations—and searing criticism from both family and
friends—they have finally made the trip a reality. Although all necessary safety
measures are being taken, it is the thrill of the unexpected—the lure of
adventure in the old Homeric tradition—that drives them on.
Boat Storage Services
WHAT ARE WE ?
For some time now, it has become apparent that there is
a need for a management service of private boats on
behalf of semi-residents and annual visitors to Corfu.
By semi-residents we refer to many Greeks and foreign
nationals who own a second home on Corfu, and generally
reside there for varying periods of time, mostly during
the summer months. Whilst property management has long
been established on the island, boat management
facilities to store, clean, care for and prepare motor
boats, for these semi residents, are few and far
between. There are also a number of annual visitors to
the island, who do not own property but own motor-boats
for use whilst on their vacation.
What essentially we wish to offer is a facility to
safely store these motor- boats and their equipment in
the owners’ absence. We would also offer to have boats
fully serviced and ready for use on the arrival of the
owners and remove boats from the sea and relocate them
to storage on the owners’ departure. Obviously the
biggest advantage to owners of such a service would be
the ability to maximize the use of their motor-boats
during their stay on the island, and to avoid the loss
of the first few days of holiday with troublesome
engines, cleaning and launching. There are also several
auxiliary services that we can offer and they are listed
in detail below.
WHO ARE WE?
NEBSS is run and owned by Harry and Louise Katsaros.
Those of you who are familiar with the North East of the
island may be aware of our other businesses in Kalami
Bay. They are Harris Kalami Boats, our boat hire service
and Sakis Water Sports who has been successfully
teaching people to ski since 1986. We have over fifteen
years of experience each in the boating business and for
the past twelve years have been looking after our eleven
motor-boats, three speedboats and various craft
belonging to friends and family. Apart from the
experience we have gained we are both fully qualified
power- boat handlers to RYA level three standard and
Harry to day skipper level. We are also both fully
qualified British Water Ski Federation Instructors. Our
love of the sea has encouraged us to take as many
courses and qualifications as spare time will allow. To
this end, so far, Harry has successfully taken part in
powerboat racing and has also become a qualified
lifeguard and deep-sea diver. What we can’t do
ourselves, as the saying goes, we know a man that can!
WHERE ARE WE?
Our boat yard is located at Leondari, on the road to
Agios Stefanos, to the North East of Corfu. The location
is conveniently central being equidistant to the
sheltered harbours of Kassiopi, Kouloura and Agios
WHY OWN YOUR OWN BOAT IN CORFU?
The main advantage of owning your own boat rather than
renting one is that you are not restricted to boat
rental laws. You can use your boat any time you like,
even at night (providing you have the correct lighting)
and you are not restricted in how far you can travel
(other than safety, weather, boat limitations and
equipment will allow). Just think how lovely it would be
to visit Corfu Town, do your grocery shopping or visit
your favorite taverna for your evening meal all by boat,
avoiding the often stressful experience of driving on
the Corfiot roads in high season! If you are already a
boat owner in the UK, but spend time in Corfu every
year, it might be worth considering bringing your boat
out here permanently. Storage fees are generally cheaper
and the weather definitely better ensuring maximum use
of your boat.
FULL LIST OF SERVICES OFFERED
1.Storage of boats in enclosed, secure and insured
2.Cleaning and dry storage of boat equipment
3.Servicing and winterization of engine
It is recommended that all engines that are brought to
our yard are flushed through with fresh water and a
desalination powder and winterized according to
4.Body work and engine repairs
Any body-work repairs, alterations or engine repairs can
be arranged by us, using locally authorized, qualified
5.Re-licensing and updating of boat paperwork
We can renew licenses for any motorboat licensed in
Greece, which by law, must have its paperwork updated
To ensure the save delivery and recovery of your motor
boat to and from the sea we would advise and offer the
regular servicing of boat trailers.
7.Delivery of boat, fully operational, to sea on your
To ensure the maximum use of your holiday time we will
have the boat fully fueled, delivered and launched into
your choice of Kassiopi, Agios Stefanos or Kouloura
harbours, before your arrival. This will also enable us
to “run” the boat to ensure all is in working order.
8.Removal of boat from sea and relocation to yard on
On the owners departure boats will be recovered from the
sea and returned to the yard for storing, cleaning and
All boats, must by law, have a minimum, of at least,
liability insurance. Arrangements can be made for this
and full insurance cover, by us, through local insurance
10. purchasing of boat equipment
Replacement or new equipment for the owners’ boats, can
be arranged by us using local and national suppliers.
11.Advice and help with boat buying and selling
We can advise, help or act on behalf of anyone wishing
to buy a boat for the first time, sell and or replace an
12.General advice and information on local coastline
and general international sea law
We can provide clients with and inform them of the
latest requirements by law with regards to operating
private boats in this area.
13.local weather report
Up to the minute forecasts on local weather can be
provided on a daily basis to our clients.
14.boat handling tips on how to get the best
performance from your boat
Whether the client is new to boating or wishes to try
something different (like take the family water-skiing)
we can provide tips and advice on how to do so safely
Whatever your requirement we will, whenever possible,
endeavour to meet your needs.
Leondari, Sinies, Corfu 49083
To add a caption to this photo, follow this
March Corfu Caption Competition
You may have noticed little
shrines or even small churches that are dotted along the sides
of the roads in Corfu. What are they for you may ask? Well, the
locals erect them at the location of an accident! They are
reminders of good luck, if the person survived, or monuments if
they died. The shrines are tended by the local people or the
immediate family. They are good reminders of narrow bends or
accident black-spots and indeed have an effect of slowing
drivers at these points!
Over the last few months major improvements have been
made to local roads and now most along the NE coast have been
fitted with barriers and even a set of traffic lights at the
sleepy village of Gimari!