From Athens we bus our way to the sea port of Patras, to catch an overnight ferry to Corfu.
We have opted for deck class, with a reserved seat. It is much like an airline seat, or if you wish, just take up a space in the lounge bar. The ferry arrives in Corfu at 06:30 and we awake from our slumber to the aroma of body odour and sour socks. (Almost puts us off breakfast). The ferry, a Minoan Lines ship, takes 2,000 passengers and 250 cars. It takes 7 hours to reach Corfu and then continues on to Venice, another 23 hours.
Once again we have decided to hire a motor vehicle for the duration of our stay in Corfu, the second largest of the Ionian Island group it has a population of only 110,000, however we are reminded that each year a large contingency of Greeks make their pilgrimage to Corfu for the Easter break.
Our representative from Hertz is waiting for us when our ship arrives in port. The Garmin will again test our faith with the GPS unit.
From Corfu town we drive, about 20 km, to the western side of the
island to the small seaside resort village of Agios Gordios. We will be staying at Sebastian’s Taverna, a family owned and run establishment. Sebastian’s parents established this taverna and we will be treated as family for our stay.
Interestingly enough a small number of restaurants, tavernas and supermarkets have opened for the Easter period.
We have arrived in Corfu on the Thursday before Easter and are quite excited by the hype that surrounds this island over the festive season. Since our arrival in Greece, we have been constantly asked, “Where will you spend Easter?” and when we mention Corfu we are treated with awe, “Wow” or something of a similar response.
We underestimate just how lucky we will be.
Easter is probably as big an occasion as Christmas. The lead up, during and after celebrations are amazing.
Two highlights, that will remain with us is Easter Saturday, where we venture back into old Corfu Town for the pot breaking ceremony and Easter Sunday, which we will spend with our hosts.
On the Saturday tens of thousands of people congregate in the cobbled streets of the old town and at 11am, from the windows of the
three and four storied apartment blocks, clay pots of varying sizes (some filled with water) are thrown into the cordoned off streets below.
It is possibly best described as a cleansing ritual, though there a number of different interpretations from the resurrection of Christ to the anger dispelled at Judas. Either way a very unique experience.
We have positioned ourselves inside the barriers, under an awning, below where the pots are to descend. Nothing could have prepared us for the deafening spectacle that is about to take place and we are left shaking with excitement at what we have just experienced.
The throngs of people, in the cordoned off areas, are in a frenzy cheering and chanting for the next volley of pots to be thrown. For nearly twenty minutes hundreds upon hundreds of pots cascade into the streets below until only the largest pots remain (Some well over 2 metres in height). Once again the crowd is whipped into frenzy and urges the inhabitants to propel the last of the pots into the street.
Immediately afterwards the crowd surges to pick up parts of the broken pottery, a symbol of good luck, we have our small
Next the local marching bands parade through the heavily crowded streets, almost like a contest, to the cheers of both those in the dwellings above and the throngs below.
A glorious Sunday morning greets us, along with the cooking fires that have been previously prepared and the smell of whole lamb and goat roasting on the open fires, we are in for a day of feasting and joviality with our hosts and their family. The spit roasted goat is sensational, together with vegetables and salads, from their own gardens. Wine consumed is made by Sebastian, from the grapes that are harvested from the vines that overshadow the taverna.
As early evening approaches we have had our fill and offer to do the washing up and leave the family to continue on.
This will be an Easter unlike any we have ever experienced; we are the season’s first guests (of the taverna) and the only guests staying. We sincerely wish to thank our hosts for such a memorable and gratifying experience.
After the Easter weekend, you get a sense that the new season is upon us. Accommodation houses, bars and restaurants are preparing for the
coming tourists. We have seen this on other islands, towns and countries we have visited and despite the current economic climate that hangs over Greece, we are confident that the residents of Corfu will have a good year.
Our time in this wonderful area has come to an end; we have even looked into the prices of property.
I could think of worse places to live.
Our time in Greece is now over (for the time being) and the next leg of our adventure is to begin. We have an overnight ferry, from Igoumenista (Greece) to Ancona (Italy) and then a 4 hour train to Rome.
Greece has been an amazing experience and we would love to return again, some time.
And a young (three year old) Alexandros reminds us, BEES MAKE HONEY !!!!! (Thank you)
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