Hi All, Our last trip to Corfu this year was booked over six months ago and my wife Ann and I had agreed that this holiday would be a quiet affair where we would just relax and enjoy each others company, spend some time at the apartment and in our village of Pelekas. This was a special “birthday” holiday as I am 60 soon and I have just closed my shop and taken semi retirement. I wanted to do some different things on my last visit of the year and find some hidden beaches and tavernas.
With two days to go my daughter Eva, aged 24, asked if she could come with us for four days. We agreed as she had just passed her latest course on Spanish language to go with her degree in French and Italian and we were there for ten days anyway and she needed a few days rest.
We arrived late on Tuesday 4th September and as usual we dropped the bags off and headed for the village for a couple of hours. It was great to be back and it was the first time in five years that we had been together on Corfu but my son Bobby was in Nepal so not exactly the whole family.
Luckily my Dutch neighbours had texted me to ask if we needed anything for breakfast as they were leaving early on the Wednesday morning and they would leave a bag of goodies on the front door handle. We had a late night and so slept in a while but were happy to find a bag of bread, butter, eggs, ham, tomatoes potatoes, feta cheese, onions and cucumber in the welcome pack.
As some of you may know, my first priority is to start my scooter which I bought seven years ago to help me to visit the Corfu villages and to write the Corfu villages book. Well, once again it didn’t start so I asked my Greek neighbour if he could help. This was a bridge too far for Christos as he said the carburettor was blocked and we would have to call a mechanic. Alekos the scooter man duly arrived and took the scooter away and said he would drop it back in two days time. So, we walked up the steep climb to the village and to our favourite daytime place, the Hawaii pool bar. When we got there we were greeted by the family but also by six of our extended family who had already arranged to go to Pelekas by chance some months ago. We had a lazy day and walked back down the hill at tea time to have a shower and make the journey back again a couple of hours later for our evening meal. Luckily two friends of ours were staying in our apartments and gave us a lift up to the village. We met up with the family for a meal and were told that the meal was on them which was nice! Our quiet holiday for three people was now for nine as we hit the bars and it was 4.00 am when we got to bed.
I was up at 10.00 am the next morning and made some breakfast out of what we had left from our Dutch friends and again headed for the village as the scooter wouldn’t be ready until 3.00 pm that day. We don’t see much of the extended family much as four of them live in Cambridge so it was nice to spend some time with them and listen to there views on Pelekas as they had only ever been to Moraitika thirty years ago. They had arrived a few days before us and were loving it. We headed back to our place at mid afternoon and the scooter arrived with some stern advice from Alekos. “When you leave the scooter for several months, you must drain the petrol out of the tank as the two stroke oil will separate and clog up the carburettor!” As I was a friend of Christos’ he said he would not charge me for the pick up or drop off of the scooter which was nice of him.
On Friday I had arranged for us to meet a friend of mine, Lavinia Psarras in her village of Kinopiastes.We had a frappe and she then drove us in her car over to the east coast where we had arranged to have lunch with Thomas Haas and his wife Clair. Thomas has the online radio show on YouTube and broadcasts from his studio in Agios Mattheos. We had a fantastic meal at the Alonaki bay taverna where the views of the sea were lovely and the meal was to die for. We had a table full of starters and as the main attraction the biggest Dorado fish I have ever seen…Nostimo! Tasty! We made our way back after several hours of eating and talking and had a quick nap before going up to the village to the souvlaki grill house for a gyros as we weren’t that hungry after our all day lunch. We popped into a couple of bars to say hello on our way up to the top of the village and our local. And here the story changes…
It was around 9.00 pm in Aleko’s bar and I was talking to some tourists when my best friend Bob from Wolverhampton walked passed me and asked me why I hadn’t emailed him to ask him where we were going for our Friday night drink with the lads? A few seconds later our other best friend Dave walked passed and asked if I wanted a beer! Oh my God! I couldn’t believe it! My two best friends have come for the weekend to celebrate my birthday! Then my brother in law Kenny walked passed! Then Tracey, Bobs wife. Caroline, Dave’s wife. Helen, Kenny’s wife and sister of my wife Ann. Then their son Matthew! Wow! I was absolutely shocked. I was crying my eyes out and couldn’t believe what was going on. They were all laughing and said it had been planned for months and all my friends in the village knew! Eva recorded a video and I am not ashamed to say this was a very special moment in my life and I am truly humbled and feel extremely blessed to have such good friends and a loving loyal family.
The next morning I couldn’t wait to go up the village to see everyone as there were now sixteen of us in Pelekas. We spent the day at the Hawaii pool bar as that is where my friends were staying in the brand new state of the art rooms which were completed this year. Ann then said she had another surprise for me later that evening. A birthday party table for seventeen at the Hawaii with my best Greek friend Nick Diavatis. Well, could it get any better? 😀 A brilliant night was topped off with a birthday cake from the owners Rodula and George with only one candle thank goodness. Eva flew back to the UK late which was a bit sad but she had had a great time and I am pleased she came.
It was now Sunday and the last full day for our four best friends so we all headed out on our scooters to Paleokastritsa for the day. Firstly, I took them to La Grotta, a cove just before you enter the resort. It has a cool vibe of chilled house music and we saw a professional diver diving from the high rocks above. Then down to Paleo’ for a swim and another great lunch. Pelekas by night…What happened to the quiet holiday for two? 😀
On Monday we went to Corfu town for a look around but ended up on the Liston for a glass of Corfu beer and then down to “En plo” at Faliraki for some lunch. Matthew flew back in the afternoon and Bob, Tracey, Dave and Caroline flew back that night so we were down to ten.
Tuesday we headed down to Kontogialos paralia (Pelekas beach) with Kenny and Helen. My friend Nick came down and I shared a light lunch with him and we had a catch up. A Hornet decided to join us which I didn’t mind until he hovered by my hand. I flicked him away but it was too late, he had stung me! Ouch! Did he know it was my special holiday? I washed my hands with soap and water, applied some cream, took an antihistamine tablet and the waiter bought me an ice pack. It was swollen throughout the next day and felt like a needle was stuck in my finger but no big deal. 😉 Kenny and Helen flew out that night and the extended family had gone in the afternoon.
Wednesday and Ann an I were alone. Where has everyone gone! So now we had three days left of a ten day holiday to have some time together. We chilled all day and cooked at home. A good old British dish of Chicken tikka with village wine and a scoot up to the village for an ouzo.
Thursday was our last full day so I wanted to do something we had not done before. We had coffee in the square by the church and took the road through Gastouri and then the winding road down to Benitses. We took a break as it was half way to where we were going and searched for the Roman baths ruins behind the line of tavernas. After following the sign we reached a dead end? But no, a tiny gap to the right meandered around the corner to the ruins which were guarded by two goats, one of which you would not mess with! We joined the coast road where the water is just feet away and arrived at our destination, the tranquil bay of Notos. We had a rest, ate our packed lunch of feta salad sandwiches and drank our half a bottle of chilled white wine. I had a look around the taverna there and it looked great. I will definitely eat there next year. When we got back to our place we decided to straight to Pelekas beach for the sunset. It was a bit cloudy at first but as the sun went down we took some amazing photos and of course it was very romantic. Shepherds pie for tea and another late night in the village.
Friday was our last day and that only means one thing when you own a property on Corfu. Cleaning, washing and packing. When all that was done we popped up to the village to say our goodbye’s and have a beer for the road. The next day we woke up in England. Had it all been a dream? Well, if it had, it was the best dream I have ever had…;-)
P.S. Just a few books left now that I have bought back from Corfu. You can buy them from the Amazon store. I am working on a project with the Children’s home for next year and I will post more information when I know more.
Bless you all, Steve 😉 x