Hi everyone, I hope that you are all well. I have been back in the UK now for a week and I have had time to reflect on my first visit to Corfu this year which was mostly positive but has also left me with some questions too.
I arrived late on Saturday night and was picked up by a Greek friend and as is customary I dropped my bag at the apartment and we headed for the village to see some friends and have a few beers. Then a few more beers as the bar was busy with live music and lots of people!
Sunday morning another friend Nick Pagiatis, popped round for breakfast as my wife, who was there the week before had bought me a welcome pack of bacon, eggs, milk and orange juice. But, we decided to head for Alexandros taverna and have an English breakfast there and very nice it was too! We had a lazy day scootering around and unexpectedly met a Danish man named Kim Jaque in Vatos who I had arranged to meet the next day. Kim took us to meet Maria aged 83 and her husband Spiros aged 89 who were the owners of the Spiros 97 taverna and minimarket which they had opened and have run for 60 years!
On Monday we went back to Vatos to meet a Kim Jaque for breakfast. Kim told me all about the hippy days when the Island was first colonised by the long haired youngsters from Europe, Scandinavia, America and Australia. He had many old photographs and some great stories. My breakfast of a special omelette was cooked by a German friend, Dagmar Jahn and set me up for the walk that our guide Kim was to take us on.
Up, up, up we went, through the olive groves to the gateway to the Agios Georgios mountain where at last we could descend and through the deserted village of Trialos. A flat walk around the headland bought us to a house full of orange and lemon trees. We were greeted with a Tsipero and water and I sat for a while gazing at the different herbs and fruit that were all around us. Anise (aniseed) thyme, rosemary, oregano, potatoes, tomato plants and flowers too. We then headed to the Myrtiotissa monastery. Then down, down, down to Myrtiotissa beach which only meant one thing…we had a long walk back up to the main road! A pit stop at Elia taverna near the top where we were given a bottle of water and a short walk through the woodland where I saw the Kelia lake and wildlife. After a 6 km walk it was time for a beer!
On Tuesday I headed for a meeting with Bob Bakker from the Netherlands. Bob has been a very generous with his donations to the Children’s home and we went for lunch at Rouvas by the market in Corfu town. We then went to the home and I showed Bob the bicycles and aircon units I had bought for them. I had intended to buy another unit for the study room but Bob was more concerned about privacy of the showers for the boys and girls. I had to agree so we came away and decided to rethink what we should do next for them?
I was back in town on Wednesday to meet with Sally and Clive Harmsworth who provide the mobility scooters and aids to tourists on Corfu and I had invited them to accompany me on my meeting with Andreas Skoupouros, the president of the Disabled society. The meeting went well and having spoken to the Mayor of Pelekas, Alekos Martinez I have secured a floating disabled wheelchair for Glyfada beach which will be delivered soon. Andreas is a fantastic young guy who is disabled himself and is achieving great things on the Island. He also answered a lot of questions that Sally and Clive wanted to know about how hotels and apartments could improve facilities for disabled people who visit Corfu.
Thursday was supposed to be a trip to the waterfalls of Nimfes and a coffee with Valerie Morrow but with no rain for a few weeks the waterfall was dry so Nick and I headed to the “Friends of Corfu” charity bake off event where we met many people who support the poor and needy. I gave Martin Brindley 200 euros for a cooker he had bought for the mental home and we chatted with everyone and ate homemade pork pie and had a beer. Next stop was the Red Penguin for breakfast with my old friend of 30 years, Spiros. But, it hadn’t opened for the season yet so we carried on to Sally’s in Ipsos…Closed! I said let’s go for a swim at Nissaki and have lunch at Mitsos taverna as by now we were starving! When we got there it was closed! I saw the owner Katerina on the beach so had a quick chat and we decided to head back down to Barbati and stop at the first taverna that was open on the main road. We had a seafood platter with octopus, calamari, fish, fried aubergines, courgettes and a large beer. Phew! Just in time…
On Friday we rode up to Doukades to pick up the book ” A year on a Greek Island” by Maddie Grigg (Margery Hookings) A signed copy had been there waiting for me for over a year! Then up the northwest coast to meet Mandy and Terry Lockett. Mandy has taken over the running of the Corfu North Facebook group for me and is doing a great job with it. They have rebuilt a house in Prinilas and the views are stunning. We had coffee and went down the road to meet Dimitris (Jimmy) and Eleni at the 007 James Bond café. They had laid on a meze lunch and we talked about the café, the Corfu villages book and the charities and I was humbled by his generosity and genuine interest. We then drove to the Porto Timoni headland but decided not to make the walk down to the beach as it was a good 30 minutes walk from the top. A great day out with very special people.
Saturday was my last day and I spent a few hours cleaning the apartment and packing my bag. I went up to Pelekas to say my goodbyes and had lunch with my adopted family, George and Rodula Kontis from the Hawaii pool bar…Closed! Well not for me…Home made chicken soup with vegetables. It was the best meal of the week! Kisses and the promise to come back soon I went back to the apartment, put the scooter to bed and waited for my lift to the airport from good friend Nick Diavatis. A glass of red wine on the patio looking over the countryside to the sea, Corfu town and the Greek mainland…Ahhh…It had been a good week…
If you would like to buy the “Corfu villages printed book” you can buy it here…www.corfuvillages.eu or from the Amazon bookstore. All of the money will go to the Corfu charities this summer and beyond. Thank you to everyone who has bought the book and to the very generous donations too. Together we can make a difference…Bless you all 😉 x