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July 27, 2010

watching the tide come in at Logas Sunset Beach, Corfu

Most people who have heard of Corfu have heard it is full of British tourists. This is partly true. On our last day there, we ventured south to some beach towns filled with British pubs, and the union jack was everywhere and I was reminded of, say, Myrtle Beach.

We (I should say here who “we” all were: Q and P, Aussies I met backpacking four years ago, and John, their friend from home) were lucky. From about July 7 until the 15th, we stayed in a mountain village 15 miles outside of Corfu Town, only near other small villages and beaches, high in the hills, surrounded by olive trees. The GPS system referred to our street as “unnamed road.”  John’s mother grew up here, and his family still has a house here, so we stayed down the road from his aunt and uncle, and next door to the house where his mother was raised.

This meant more than not seeing British  tourists. It meant eating feasts of epic proportions (and I do mean epic in a somewhat literary fashion, so feel free to imagine some Illiad/Odyssey Homeric hero-style feasts). Our first morning, we woke up to a plate of freshly made fried bread dumplings drizzled in homemade honey. It was a sign of things to come. We had salads with just-off-the-vine tomatoes, soft and peppery (rather than firm and bland like supermarket tomatoes), with homemade olive oil and crisp green peppers. We were fortunate to be invited to John’s uncle’s name-day celebration, where we were treated to stuffed peppers, salad, baskets of bread, a plate of Greek cheeses, heaping platters of pulled lamb meat, and endless glasses of homemade, sweet white wine.

I want to go on, to talk about the calamari, the prawns and mussels, the saganaki, the grilled octopus, but I’m not a food writer and this is getting ridiculous.

Besides eating, we spent our days driving (or riding a little quad scooter) to different beaches (arriving late afternoon, staying until 7 or so in the evening), paddle boating out to crystal caves (but alas, we saw no crystals), visiting village dance and name-day festivals, and, when in our little village, because the villagers all know John, slowing down our car, leaning out the window, waving, and calling, “Gia sas!” (This is essentially “hey, y’all!”) When we ventured out to a restaurant one night without John, the waiter still knew we were his not-from-around-here friends, and asked us where he was.

The last night in the village, I attempted to make biscuits, and they came out small and hard and cakey, almost. The guys liked them, but that’s only because they’ve never had proper biscuits. I have failed them, and I have failed the south. Luckily, I think I have convinced them to spend a decent amount of time there on their US road trip.

I’m in Berlin now, and will try to be better about updating. It gets really daunting when you let too many days go by.

Oh and in closing. The radio stations in Corfu were…well…it is obvious why Corfu isn’t the popular culture capital of the world. This was on all the time. The soundtrack to our time in Corfu.

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