This is the Corfu I love.
I jokingly say that my origin is Mediterranean since I am half French, half Greek and have lived in Italy for more than ten years.
When I lived in Italy, I spent my holidays on Corfu where I met up with family and friends and very soon realized that this was an environment I wanted to live in! The reason is both simple and complicated at the same time. Corfu combines elements of Italy, France and Greece due to historical happenstance, which has imprinted itself onto the beautiful scenery of the bountiful Mediterranean as well as on the people’s temperament.
The “problem” with Corfu is that the list of things you should experience throughout the year is endless.
It’s magical to swim at Halikouna beach then walk on the sand dunes through the cedar forest on a spring day. It is lovely to stroll in the main town during Holy Week, with marching bands adorning the moment with music, or on summer afternoons when it is flooded with people. However, the scene changes into something from an old time romantic film in the quiet, nostalgic winter evenings. I love being carried away by the sunset on one of the western beaches of the island but I wouldn’t change for the world the magic of the moonrise over the mountains of Epirus in the east.
One of my favourite pastimes is visiting the villages in the hinterland of the island followed by a jaunt in the Corfiot countryside in order to pick fruit, wild vegetables and herbs.
Once, on such an outing, I asked where the house of an acquaintance of mine was so I could drop by and say hello and if there were pomegranate trees in the area as it was autumn. Within a few minutes of my reaching the square, a lady from a group of elderly people pointed me towards the house I was looking for. How the information about who I was looking for reached that lady is still a mystery.
Needless to say, I found my acquaintance and we whiled away the next few hours quite wonderfully catching up and sipping coffee, to which we had been treated by the locals. On my way back through the village after nightfall, the elderly people were not there anymore, but to my astonishment and delight, I found two bags full of pomegranates on the low wall where they had been sitting! This is the Corfu I love, full of contrast and small everyday human stories.
My favourite destination, however, is the unknown destination because that is the one waiting to be discovered. It can be in the next alleyway in the city of Corfu or in a small picturesque village in Zagori. Greece is a country that always surprises you and you can never run out of things to see.
This is why I like to travel under my own steam. In other words, any means of transport giving you the freedom to see different places depending on the mood of the moment.
Choice of food also depends on the moment. A tomato with virgin olive oil and fleur de sel contains all the sweetness, the earth and the sea of our country and yet there are moments when it can be considered a fine gourmet dish in all its simplicity.
Its contradictions make Greece adorable and are imprinted on everything: its flavours, the people’s temperament, especially their passion. Every moment in Greece is in itself a memory scented by sea air mingling with forest aromas and the smell of wet soil after a mountain shower.