Warm sunny greetings from Agni Bay. A season
packed newsletter for you this month - to help you though those winter
Well after a wet September, October turned out
to be the most perfect month. In fact we are in the 'grip' of a heat wave at
the moment! The Taverna closed last Sunday (27th)
During October, the perfect sunny days with
not a cloud in the sky, gave way to perfect long lazy lunches. This month's
celebrity visitors (Lynn and Martyn) caught by the camera!
If you missed out on last months newsletter,
(as I suffered a few problems sending it out),
then you can view it here:
The Taverna is now closed. Sad, but it does
give us much needed time to recover from the summer. And what an enjoyable
summer it has been.
Visitors during August, can only dream of having the Taverna to themselves!
Not to mention the beach:
Alex came down to help close. Actually closing the
Taverna for the winter is quite a job, and takes about a week to complete.
Our fisherman still turns up daily - but is
unable to 'sell' his catch.
Winter plans? Well I have started the long
This month saw
many site regulars and contributors - thanks for all you help.
Each morning during October, I made the
effort to visit some of the resorts and villages around the island. With the
information and photos gathered, I have been able to dramatically overhaul
the 'Corfu guide' part of this website.
Having lived on Corfu for nearly ten years
now, it was surprising just how little of the island I had actually seen.
More worrying was the misconceptions that I had in my mind about certain
resorts - 'Sidari on Sea' for example turned out to be quite pleasant!
During my travels I met many interesting
experiences. The following describes my journey to Paleokastritsas:
HOW TO GET THERE BY CAR
All roads on Corfu seem
to lead to Paleokastritsas! The best way - for the views though, is to go
via the Troumpetas pass. Look on your map for Skipero (which is on the main
Sidari road). The pass is just above.
As you drive through the
pass, admire the stunning scenery. At the top take a left (if you are coming
up the pass) - signposted to 'Paleokastritsas'.
You will now drive though
the small mountain villages of Alimatades and Lakones. Watch out for these
in the road:
And also this:
This lady called Eleni, I
almost ran over. I came round a bend, she leapt out in front of me! Why?
Well these mountain villages are famous for this:
Grapes, but more
importantly their wine! local villagers line the roadside selling their
homebrew. After drinking the second bottle with Eleni - it was only 9.45 am!
I left with a couple of bottles, two jars of honey, a hand carved cat from
olive wood, and
all the local gossips! As you carry on the road through the village you will
also find a disappointing tourist scene. The village square is now
home to various gifty type shops selling hand carved olive wood items,
leather and fur coats! Drive swiftly though (unless you wish to visit the
Anglo Castle - turning on the right).
You will now start to
drive down to Paleokastritsa though narrow, twisting Greek roads. Watch out
Large 'tourist' coaches
block the roads at every photo opportunity viewpoint. As you enter
Paleokastritsas turn right down to the main bay and look for somewhere to
park. Enjoy your day there.
Time has flown! She is nearly a year old.
Her birthday you may recall is on the 3rd of November, so we are coinciding
the event with her Christening. I will report all about it in next months
Chris and Donna have been searching out some
local drinks for you to try during your next visit!
(Tsitsibira) - Ginger beer is a legacy of the British protectorate and
the drink is still made to the traditional recipe of grated ginger, lemon
juice and oil, water and sugar. Enjoy it at the famous Liston in Corfu town
while 'people watching'.
My opinions on
the stuff: Very spicy soft drink with sediment at the bottom. Needs to be
served chilled and definitely puts to shame any other brands of ginger beer
that are readily available elsewhere. A lovely soft drink that certainly sets
the taste buds off.
Kum Kuat ( Kum quat)
Another very interesting locally produced product. Comes in a variety of
flavours when distilled, even chocolate! The main manufacturer (grower) is at
South China, the tree grows up to 2.5 meters high and was imported in 1860.
The citrus fruit, looks like a tiny plum shaped orange and is distilled to
make the liquor.
cooperative was established in 1981, aiming at the collection, processing,
manufacturing and marketing of Kum Quat. The 'Golden orange' or Corfu
Delicious cooperative produces - liqueurs , marmalades and fruits preserved
in syrup. All of these can be found at supermarkets, souvenir shops and at
experts, Harry and Maraika of Spiridon Street, Corfu town, offer an excellent
selection and are very friendly - you will probably end up being invited in
So with the Taverna now closed, what do all the staff (and owners!) do? Theo
and Alex run a quarry up at the village of 'Porta' - high above Agios Stephanos. Most
evenings they go fishing - sometimes for fish, other times girls!
Alex's parents run the 'Kafeneon' at 'Kendroma' - the one on the bad bend -
he is often seen there helping out.
George is training to be an electrician. He will not want me to tell you
this, but he failed one set of exams, so he is studying extra hard at the
moment! George and I are planning a trip over to Albania - he has friends
there. We expect to go for a long weekend - deep into the interior! I will of
course make a details reports about what we find for the site.
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 pf the properties we have on
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.
Villa Atraides is a very private
Villa. There are four double bedrooms, each with a double bed, and fridge!
Three of the rooms have their own bath room.
The bathrooms are typically 'un-Greek' -
they are superb.
After you have explored the extensive and
mature grounds you will find the 'Pool area' which can only be described as
'paradise'. The pool is 75' ( 22m ) x 22' ( 7m ) kidney shaped with its own
island. There are spectacular views and many different plant aromas to
enjoy. The grounds are naturally Greek with fruit trees, olives, oaks, and tropical palms and
The following is based on my last nine years
The first two weeks of October, see daytime
temperatures of mid 20's. Usually crystal clear skies with warming suns rays
- now that the sun in lower in the sky. Evenings will feel cool and require
a jumper. The sea is still sufficiently warm for swimming - having had all
summer to warm up, it takes several months to cool down. The landscape
returns to its lush green state after the punishing summer.
The second two weeks see daytime
temperatures of low 20's. Beaches are desserted, and many tavernas start to
close. (Taverna Agni usually stays open till the end of the month though
during the daytime - closed during the evening).
Evenings can be cold and only the hardy will eat outside after the sun has
October does see some rain, usually
only a few days worth per month though. Choose your accommodation carefully
to ensure it is warm during the night and has somewhere to enjoy the rain
should you be unlucky!
For me, October can be one of Corfu's
finest months. The beaches deserted. Tavernas quiet and clear days with
stunning views. (During the peek summer months, the humidity often makes
visibility poor - sometimes completely obscuring the views of Albanian from
the Taverna). As an added bonus, flights and villa prices much lower. If you
are prepared to risk the chance of rain, October should be an option for you
Note: School holidays often fall during mid
October and will increase the amount of people (and prices) during that
Eleni and I went out for a meal last night
to celebrate the end of the season. When the bill arrived - guess what - all
the prices were in drachma! The waiter had conveniently converted total
(16,500drxs) into Euros for us though. It made me laugh!
Have you ever wanted to visit Corfu during the winter months? What about a
weekend summer trip? None of this is possible because there no scheduled
flights to Corfu. So we are working with
Hilary and Harry from the Corfiot Magazine to petition Easyjet to start a UK to
I am adding a new section to the website called
'Greek Life'. This is where I will add many of the interesting aspects of
Corfu (and Greece), which do not fit in a tourist section! The first part
will focus on Olives - which can hardly be missed as there are an estimated 3
million trees on the island!
I went out for the day with Olga. She has about
two hundred trees around and above Agni Bay.
Do not forget, olives are backbreaking work, so
when collecting them you will need one of these:
Olives flower during May if you
suffer from hay fever then you may need to avoid the first couple of weeks of
May - or find accommodation that is close to the sea.
During the summer months, the olives slowly
fatten. The olives start green and depending on the variety, (there are more
than 300 hundred types), they will turn purple, then black. (And you thought
that green olives were just unripe black ones!) Corfu mostly has the small
Anyway, during October and November the olive
nets are prepared. Olive groves only give fruit every two years. Now this may
come as a shock to you and it is certainly a little problematic. Nets from
groves not giving fruit need to be moved to those that are - not an easy
Before setting the nets under the trees, the
ground needs to be cleared of 'undergrowth'. With Corfu's warm climate weeds
and brambles thrive making the task of clearing difficult - often a petrol 'strimmer'
is employed rather than Olga's hand scythe.
The nets are 'laid' under the trees. Each net
is about 10m by 30m. They are 'sewn' together with nails or large plastic
pins. Usually the whole grove is covered with nets.
Now, to a controversial point: Olive spraying
which is need to control the breeding of the olive fly -it lays its eggs in
the developing olive. The resulting grub eats the olive while growing and
destroys the fruit. Infestation of greater than 1% of olives in a grove
render them unusable for table olives and if greater than 10% unusable for
During previous harvests, the olives were sprayed from the air with
Lebaycid. To be honest the chemical used is not as bad as it sounds -
not that I agree with it though - and it is currently used throughout America
to control mosquitoes. Anyway, since last year the EU banned aerial spraying.
This year, the olive harvest has been a disaster. I am worried that unless a
solution is found, many locals will stop cultivating the olives or worse will
sell the land for development. Incidentally, the USDA is currently funding a
search in Africa for parasites to kill the fly.
Back to the olives! During December - April,
the olives slowly ripen and then drop. Every ten days or so during this
period, a visit to each grove is need to collect the fallen olives. If they
are left any longer, they start to shrivel and their oil becomes useless.
The olives are collected using a short stick
with a nail in the end. Starting from the top of the grove, the stick is
pressed into the net, turned 90 degrees and then lifted. this action of
raising the net makes the olives run downwards. Once the olives start
rolling, coupled with a swift wrist action, the olives can be gathered into
small piles. The whole grove needs to be worked in this fashion. Each
pile of oilves then has to be sifted of leaves and twigs and then put into
sacks. Back to where the donkey is needed! The sacks need to be
carried back to the road for collection by the olive press. The collected olives are either 'pressed' for
their oil or preserved in brine. Only the very best will be preserved though.
I will report about the pressing of the olives
in next months news letter.
There is nothing finer than fresh bread and