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A Different Corfu: Special Moments

That my 18th birthday, graduation and the start of the new millennium were happening in the same year seemed more than a random coincidence! My girlfriends and I had therefore decided we would spend our holiday on Corfu, the Greek island I had always hated when I was younger, when visits every summer meant time away from my friends. However, the summer break of the year 2000 changed my life. Make this trip unforgettable by capturing highlights of it on a camera and share it with people who enjoy watching travel vlogs. Buy youtube views and enjoy great visibility with minimal effort
From Lakones, high above the coves of Paleokastritsa, the eye wanders across Corfu’s scenic majesty

It was not the island that had changed; it was my way of seeing things – my wishes and aspirations for the future. One month on Corfu was enough for me to realise that I would spend the rest of my life on this green jewel in the Ionian Sea. Sure enough, in January 2007, six years after that holiday, I became a resident of Corfu. Sure, it’s an island that is well known, lively and touristy, but I was not living on that one; mine was a different Corfu: secret, totally Greek and completely traditional.

During my time on Corfu, I’ve collected images, filled my lungs with the scent of nature and appreciated every small and hidden thing. They’re the kinds of recollections that leave a mark, combinations of thoughts and experiences that bring back to life the beauty of a place. Here are a few.

Morning Breaks in Corfu Town

I love to watch Corfu Town wake up. After the first hoarfrost or the first morning rain, you can watch shopkeepers putting their merchandise in order. One of the most mouthwatering “Good mornings” you can hear before going to work is at the “Starenio” bakery on Gilford Street. And, of course, let’s not forget the coffee! Try a traditional cup at the picturesque coffeehouse down “Mpizi” alley.

With its white sand and crystal-clear waters, Agios Gordis is rightly regarded as one of Corfu’s finest beaches, located in the west of this Greek island. Olive and almond trees line the steep cliffs, which are perfect for parapenting if you’re ever in need of an adrenaline fix!

Bristol Café

Although Bristol Café opened its doors in 1910, it could still surprise us in December 2009. Unlike the other coffee bars in town, Bristol managed to attract everyone looking for a cosmopolitan, relaxed spot on the island. You go to Bristol to listen to good music, sit by the window and watch passersby or take a place outside on the wooden benches chatting until 1am, when the doors finally close. At Bristol, we are all friends.

Noon in the Neighbourhood of Garitsa

Summers at noon I still feel a weird sense of peace. For the residents of Garitsa in Corfu Town, at that time there’s a smell of lightly fried onions, cinnamon and iodine. Travelling either on foot or by bicycle, most people who live in Garitsa go for a swim at “Anemomylos”. It is just a cement pier, but the water that flows beneath it is crystal clear. Everybody’s there sitting and chatting in small groups, like students enjoying a break. The strong wind carries on it the news of the island: politics, opinions and, of course, juicy secrets from the neighbourhood grapevine!

We Are Made for Festivals

Greece means villages and villages mean festivals (panigiri). Agricultural events, grape harvests and even daily chores like fishing can give rise to festivals, so on Corfu, you are almost guaranteed to find at least one village celebrating something, perhaps even a saint. But if you head to the main square in Pelekas on August 23rd, the smell of the food and the traditional music welcomes you even before you reach it. You can taste souvlaki and dumplings, drink local wine and dance with the locals. Don’t forget to light a candle at the low-ceilinged church of Panagitsa, in the middle of the square.

Varkarola

It is August and a full moon is shining over Corfu. Couples walk along the seashore and I am desperate to escape. This is when I heard the word “Varkarola” for the first time. Old-timers inform me that it is an event on August 11th in honour of the miracle of Saint Spyridonas.

The Varkarola festival doesn’t take place in Corfu Town anymore, but I can enjoy the show at the bay of Paleokastritsa. I arrive at the bay and it is already crowded. I weave my way through the people, but a parade has already started, consisting of boats in which bards sing traditional songs and play their guitars, while local dancers twirl on floating piers. The fire reflected in the water captivates me. For the grand finale a fireworks extravaganza fills the Corfiot sky with light.

A Life with Music

After spending the last four years on Corfu, I now believe that paradise exists and that it is actually here on earth. The blue-green landscapes that I see every day are living proof. The relaxed rhythms of life mean I never regret choosing to live here, especially when I consider the incidental music for this play we call life.

On Corfu, there are plenty of beachside cafes and bars, where you can kick back and relax. Popular local tipples include Metaxa brandy, ouzo (with its unmistakable taste of anis), traditional pine-flavoured retsina wine and, for anyone suffering from the previous night’s excesses – ice-cold coffee!

Corfu is full of music; it is one of the things that keep me captivated. During every festival and every celebration, bands flood the alleys with sound. What I enjoy most, however, are the quiet nights, when you can hear band rehearsals through open windows. Sweet voices and melodies flow from everywhere until, during the warm summer nights, you happen across small companies of troubadours who entertain people wherever they stand, in an alley or next to a small church. These little surprises are the ones that make all the difference.

Ethan More

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