Corfu is so lush because of the rainfall this island gets. Most Greek islands are rocky and barren but Corfu is green, lush and colorful with its florals. Being on the Ionian Sea side, the landscape was different from the Aegean Sea side and the influence was Italianate and Venetian in some areas. This decorative jewel of the Ionian islands was full of astounding beauty, delectable cuisine and its own special fruit- the kumquat.In Corfu, no matter where we sat to dine and take in the view, we were surrounded by beauty. The landscaping of any restaurant garden was resplendent. One particular town we drove to, at the recommendation of the villa proprietor, was called Perouales. We drove up to Perouales to have lunch there and we were stunned by what we found when we arrived.
Our restaurant was on the cliff’s edge overlooking the sea. There was a ledge you could walk out onto, with a railing around it, to “become” a part of the view. I am not a fan of heights so I let my husband take our sons out onto the ledge. As many times as we’ve been to Greece, we had not observed a view of the sea quite at this angle. It felt like a 180 degree view. Every Greek island has a vibe to it of ultimate relaxation. Corfu had this vibe, of course. We dined for a long time, enjoying each other, laughing, savoring the meal and cherishing the vacation pace.
The truth is, however, that the locals appear to dine this way, too! They were not on vacation like we were, yet, they treat mealtime as if they are. That’s one of the things people love about Greece—leisure is an art! Coffee breaks last for hours in the town squares. People converse, debate, and discuss politics passionately.
Village people sit in silence peering out onto the mountain landscapes. This baffled my husband at first—how people could sit in silence but be together? I pointed out to him that with a view like that, how could someone NOT sit in silence, relishing the moment? What is there possibly more important to talk about that just observing the beauty of a Greek island? We, too, would be distracted by such beauty in our hustle-bustle pace of a life if we lived on a Greek island.
Lunchtime was a good time to test out Greek words and phrases on the boys to see if they were hearing, learning and applying the vocabulary. Although they hear Greek language spoken back home, the pace of the language is much quicker in Greece.
Another nice aspect about lunchtime was that it was the natural break in our day of sightseeing. We used the mornings to visit museums, churches, monuments, etc and we used the afternoons to hit the beach and do beach excursions. Lunch was time to recharge from all the walking and sightseeing.
Kassiopi, a village up north in Corfu, had a colorful, scenic port and offered day trips to the neighboring country of Albania. You need to have your passport on you, though, and if you have them locked up in the hotel or villa safe, then it’s not too convenient to go back and get them. We had driven all over Corfu in our rental car so this was the case for us that day. Corfu was a kaleidoscope of florals, vistas, textiles, marina boats and landscape.
If you plan to see Corfu which is on the Ionian Sea side, you will also enjoy seeing the other four islands: Lefkada, Kephalonia and Zakinthos all below Corfu.
More information about islands and places in Greece like this are in the book A Magic Carpet Ride.
© Gina Michalopulos Kingsley