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Published: June 24th 2010
What a way to find out my decision to walk yesterday was the correct one...............I am woken just after 5am by the mother of all thunderstorms which seems to be directly overhead. The lights went out, the windows and shutters all rattled as the thunderclaps deafened me. The rain was very heavy and the lightening lit up the sky behind so in fact the worst of the storm was not over Kalami but the northern slopes of Pantokrator (I later found out that Acharavi and north had a power cut for several hours following the storm). Well it chucked it down until gone 8 am and I sat having breakfast on the balcony watching the rain turn the olive tree from silver grey to dark green. I think had I been walking today I would have been able to start about 9am and it would have been ok although it did also rain later in the afternoon.
No walking for me; a nice shower, shave and no rushing; no fight to fit my walking sock over my swollen foot. I have already told you about Kalami Villas where I stay. Kalami itself is a small fishing village; it has no harbour
just a jetty but Kouloura is just a 5 minute stroll away. People say it is overbuilt but it still has a small village feel to me and some of the buildings are partly hidden by the cypress trees anyway. Go back to Durrells day when he lived in The White House and there were only a few buildings here; there was no road north of Ipsos, just a track. I have a 1969 reprint of a 1963 Guide book called "Corfu...Venus of the Isles" edited by John Forte in which it says "the forgotten coves and secluded bays of the Durrell coutry dotted along the east coast which are accessible only by sea or tracks - Kalami, Kouloura, Agios Stephanos up to the picturesque fishing harbour of Kassioppi" and another book of circa 1964 called "The Enchanted Iasland of Corfu" which says of Kalami "a small bay of greater beauty. The White House springs from the sea at the end of the bay". There is no reference to accommodations being available........most places it says 'rooms to let' but not here. In fact for Sidari it says ' Two small tavernas. Rooms to let.' So it has come a long
way and is now very popular especially with British tourists and day visitors. The White House is now a Taverna with rooms to let above; one of which still contains his desk. They sell Durrell books in the Taverna and have a wall plaque outside. Current guides say "a delightful small resort, its curving bay of course sand and shingle fringed at the back with cypress and olive trees. During the day it is popular with local excursions and car drivers, but in the evenings it quietens down, though there is often greek dancing and music at one or more of the handful of beach tavernas. For a small resort its facilities are quite good." You can also get a bus from the road junction above to Corfu Town or to Kassioppi. The beach is good for swimming. Nice and quiet the emphasis on this resort is surely relaxation and tranquility. The main reason the resorts on the east coast didn't open up till more recently was because the coast was the domain of the Army and Coastguard under NATO where very close watch was kept over Albania. You can still see patrol boats and the Coastguard lookouts but it
is much more relaxed these days.
As I mentioned Kalami is on a coastal footpath that I walked from Kaminaki, through Nissaki and Agni so those resotrs are in easy walking distance. The other way it is just 5 minutes to Kouloura and continues onto small deserted shingle beaches and eventually in about an hour to Ag Stephanos...............alternatively hire a boat. Today my weary feet (my legs were fine but the soles of my feet ached; bruised due to the continual walking on very uneven almost rough tracks............in fact my all terrain walking boots were not really, on reflection, strong enough for the job and the soles were just a day short of splitting through. These were consigned to the bin and their weight in my travel bag replaced by bottles of ouzo!) were not for walking too far so it was a trip to Kouloura.
The beautiful harbour often features in calenders and the Estate there was recently up for sale at £13m! Mind you I have a book that shows the inside of the large house and it is impressive. You also own the Taverna and the harbour. There is a small beach some 400 yards from the
harbour, of rocks and pebbles. No sunbeds for hire here. There are some trestles about all paint splattered as they are used by the fishermen when painting their boats; but as picnic tables in the summer. The harbour like a horseshoe is attractive and has just small fishing boats and some for hire. A jetty nearby is used to pick up excursions as the larger boats cannot get into the harbour. The Taverna is expensive but if you are visiting it is a must; I had a Corfu Beer or two and it came with complimentary crisps; it was peaceful even though the Taverna was busy. A few fishermen were tending to their nets and one had been out and returned with a small catch of some 20 small to medium fish - nothing more than 6 inches long but more meaty than sardines. The harbour is surrounded by cypress trees and forms almost a complete circle in the larger circle of the bay.......in fact Kouloura means 'ring'. There is also a round biscuit called a kouloura. Beyond the bay Albania is less than a mile away. An hour or so later I stroll back to Kalami and look in
the few gift shops for small items to bring home, e.g. olive oil soaps, a fridge magnet, calenders. I go to The White House for lunch; this Taverna can be expensive but its not too bad if you carefully select from the menu. The sun was up but it was a muggy sort of day; I decided to have a nice Greek Salad of course washed down with beer. It has to be done, after all I am on holiday. There are many diners here like me sat at tables not in the Taverna but placed outside on the rocks. Very nice setting. Boys are using their bread to try and attract the fish; all harmless fun until their father approach and reprimand them saying "that bread is needed to be eaten at our table"!! Happy holidays! I stroll along beach with view of going to Villas for a dip in the pool but before I've even reached Thomas's Place itstarts to rain; not heavy like this morning but a fine shower. This was an excuse to stop for more beer while the rain passed. The lady asked why I wasn't walking today and I explained I had finished the
Corfu Trail yesterday...she said 'bravo'.
When the rain cleared I walked up the Villa, meeting Trevor and Marion the Welsh couple I saw in PaleoPerithi ayesterday. We chat about the end of my walk and about the local Tavernas. I continue back to teh Villa and changed for a swim. The sun was out and I had the whole pool area to myself. It was wonderfully peaceful; I had a swim and then sat soaking my feet for a while watching small lizards on the surrounding wall. I then had a nap on a sunlounger for a couple of hours only waking when I hear voices. There was one other family staying here; two adults 3 children. They were eastern europeans. The children played by the pool but they didn't go in. I read my book and relaxed.
In the evening I returned to Thomas's Place for dinner where I had a pork gyros. A large plate arrived of pork pieces on pitta, with tzakziki dip (yogurt with garlic and finely diced cucumber) salad and chips. A few beers and ouzos to complete my lazy day of relaxation after my walk. A few cruise liners passed, departing Corfu up the
straight heading to either Italy or Croatia. Eventually I stroll back to my room to pack as tomorrow I go to Corfu Town for my last full day on Corfu.
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