I have always wanted to visit Corfu ever since I read ‘My Family and other Animals’ by Gerald Durrell when I was quite young. It often made me laugh out loud but I was struck by the descriptions of the island, the people and the flora and fauna.
Paul and I had a week there in April – we arrived just before the season started and everyone was painting, power-washing and planting. At first, it was a little bit on the chilly side with an unseasonal Mistral wind blowing. The locals put on multiple layers and complained that it was like January.
We hired a car from the airport and drove across to the North West of the island to Paleokastritsa. We took a wrong turn just before the town as the authorities had removed a sign to avoid confusion. We ended up – and up – and up! We finally stopped when we could see our destination far below us and asked directions in a Bakery, promising to go back and buy bread another day.
Paleo surpassed our expectations. The blue ocean was as clear as crystal and a tad warmer than here in the summer. The water was deep and full of fish. The beaches were empty as nothing was really open – which suited us down to the ground. A few tavernas welcomed us and we ate out a quite a few times as the food was real food, and the village wine like nectar.
We learnt that 5 minutes was half an hour, 10 minutes was an hour and a half. The scenery was amazing, the locals welcoming, everything seemed easy. Well – it was for us. The Corfiots work really hard throughout the summer to earn enough, starting at 9 in the morning and working till 1 am seven days a week. They can’t afford holidays themselves – in the winter months they cut olive wood for the fire and make olive oil.
Paul did a tiny bit of sketching.
We swam on four deserted beaches, took a leisurely boat trip, visited a monastery and walked up the donkey paths through the olive groves to buy bread in the bakery, as promised. There was a cafe there and we drank frappe overlooking the swooping swallows and the turquoise bays of the town.