Old Castle Place.

Παλαιοκαστρίτσα (Palaiokastritsa meaning old castle place).

Palaiokastritsa is located about 25 km from Corfu Town (15 km from Gouvia).

Gouvia - Palaiokastritsa

(Google Maps)

Consists of two headlands and five small coves. Beautiful surroundings, wonderful nature.

There is also a tiny harbour in the bay of Antypas where fishing boats anchor and yachts pass by. It also has a very attractive underwater world.
Beautiful scenery, and it gets more and more beautiful the higher you climb.

There are two places you have to visit while up there. The Monastery of Palaiokastritsa (Theotokos Monastery) and Aggelokastro, a Byzantine fortress.

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This Byzantine Monastery dates back to 1225, however the current complex, the cells of the monks and the yard date from the 18th century. The monastery has a small ecclesiastical museum with rare Byzantine icons, holy books and other relics. Inside the monastery you can see a traditional olive oil press, also there is a small shop where you can buy olive oil, soaps and similar products. The road to the monastery passes through a forest of olive trees and cypresses.

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The view from the monastery is wonderful and in the foreground one can see a small island that lay claim to being the petrified boat of Odysseus. There is also another legend; it says that during the Middle Ages Saracen pirates slipped into harbour to plunder the monastery. The abbot who saw the, went into the main church and made a plea to the Virgin Mary. When he went back, the miracle had happened. The pirates and their ship turned into stone.

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The main church is very small, but worth the visit. Whether you are religious or not it doesn’t matter.

Just a reminder, if you are visiting the monastery you will have to cover yourself, a t-shirt and a skirt. If you’ve just come from the beach at the entrance you are able to borrow some clothes to wear. It doesn’t cost anything but it is proper to give a small contribution.

Outside the monastery you can find a lot of small souvenir stands, a beautiful garden and a few domestic animals. There is also a restaurant where you can sit down, have a meal or a coffee break and enjoy the view.

There are two beaches nearby, both small and pebbly and the water is not warm cold! But it is so refreshing. Small tour boats can take you to various caves; blue and other, nearby beaches and so on. Take a chance, you never know what you will see.

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In 2013 I took a small boat trip (a tour) to see the Blue Cave and the end of the tour was at “La Grotta Bar” founded in the late 60’s. The bar is very… what’s the word… hmm.. chill :) Have a beer, have a snack and just enjoy being there.

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Unfortunately I didn’t go up to see the remains of the fortress (as mentioned before, no car, only two feet ). But there will be other opportunities.

The castle was built around the middle of the 13th century. Aggelokastro is one of the most important fortified complexes of Corfu. It was an acropolis which surveyed the region all the way to the southern Adriatic and presented a formidable strategic vantage point to the occupant of the castle.

The forts’ main purpose was to actually protect the inhabitants from the pirates and from the Venetians. For a little while it served as the island’s capital because the governor actually lived there. In 1403 from the castle, the locals successfully fought against the pirates of Genoa and kept the castle their own.

Further down hidden in a cave in a rock there is the chapel of (Ayia Kyriaki) St. Kyriaki. This was originally a hermitage and then converted into a chapel.

Hope you enjoyed it.

Good night from me :)

Kassiopi, Corfu.

The snow fell a few days ago, the temperature went down to -9℃ …. jeez….  winter is not my favourite season. I kept myself warm thinking about summers in Greece and realised, AGAIN that I completely forgot about my “writeaboutalltheplacesIvisitedinCorfu”. :)

So, let us continue our little Corfu tour. Next stop is Kassiopi.

Welcome to Kassiopi

Located about 25 plus km from Gouvia and opposite the Albanian coast. A small and picturesque fishing village.

Gouvia - Kassiopi

http://www.google.com/maps

Because of its geographical location Kassiopi was a flourishing town during the Roman period. Both Cicero and Nero spent time in Kassiopi.

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Some of the significant sightseeing in Kassiopi are the Church of Virgin Mary of Kassiopi (Panagia Kassopitra) and Kassiopi Byzantine Castle.

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Both the church and the castle are easily accessible. The church has an entrance from the main street, and the castle is nearby.
The church building dates to the 16th century.
The castle is on a hill above two small coves which were the harbours of the medieval town. When the Venetians decided to take control, the residents of Kassiopi resisted and fortified themselves in their castle.

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During your explorations of the remains of the castle you will come to a certain spot where you can see the village from above. A great view.

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There are a lot of restaurants, tavernas, cafes, souvenir shops and so on… Whatever you need you’ll find it. When talking about food I do have to mention Limani Bar (λιμάνι-limani means Harbour). Great food, friendly staff and just a sneeze away from the nearest beach.

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And oh mine what a beach. The colors are just… well, there are no words to explain that. You have to see for yourself.

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There are some small beaches within Kassiopi which are mostly pebbly and rocky… But there are longer beaches further north, which are easy to reach on foot, such as Avlaki, Kalamionas and Imerolia. If you have time, put on some good shoes and walk around, explore. Maybe you’ll find a hidden treasure in form of a beach :)

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The one thing I really regret after being there three times is not visiting Palea Peritheia (Old Perithia). a 14th century village built entirely by hand, Located up in the hills about 20-30 km from Kassiopi. Not so easily reachable. If you have a car or catch a cab it’s good. I’ve tried 2 out of three times and no luck yet :)
The only thing I have is this book about Old Perithia :)

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In 1979 Old Perithia was officially recognized by the Greek Ministry of Culture as: A Designated Heritage site with elaborate architecture in need of special public protection; classified as a historic monument.

History, mystery, myth and miracles are the words describing this old village so you understand me regretting not being able to visit the place. But I believe that everything happens for a reason, so I guess this means I HAVE to go back to Corfu :)

Hope you enjoyed this virtual trip.
Wishing you all a sunny day, ’cause here the sun just fell asleep and isn’t coming back until March I guess :)

Beach o’hoi

Ok, so let us continue…

Here are some of the closest beaches to Gouvia. As mentioned before you can either take the bus, drive or ride a bike.


https://maps.google.com/

From Gouvia to Dassia, Ipsos, Barbati (Mparpati) and Nisaki.

The only problem is that my photos have not been organised in a proper way, so unfortunately I can’t connect the name of the beach to the pictures below. But, I recommend visiting each one of them.


Let us start with Dassia. 

Pretty popular, about 13 km from Corfu town. The beach is narrow and long, it is a few kilometres long. Sandy with pebbles. Possibility of renting sunbeams and umbrella for a small price. Lot of possibilities for summer activities. You can also find shade under the trees.

If I am not wrong, Dassia means forest. You also have a view of the Albanian coastline. A lot of restaurants, shops and bars. Quite shallow, so it’s perfect for families with children.

It has also been awarded the Blue Flag for cleanliness.


Let us move along, next stop Ipsos (Ypsos). Located around 15 km from Corfu Town. Shallow water, various water sports facilities, shops, mini-markets, cafes, restaurants and bars. Excellent view to Mount Pantokrator.

Ypsos means height.


From Ypsos we’re going to Barbati (Mparpati).

About 17 km from Corfu Town. As you have  notices these beaches are not far from each other.  To me Barbati and Nisaki have the most wonderful water. It is so clear and so clean, just imagine jumping in there after a short nap on the subbed. It’s nirvana. Barbati is neither long nor wide but you’ll see for yourself. It is in general like that in Corfu, what one beach doesn’t have, the other does. 100%.

White shiny pebbles, a variety of restaurants, tavernas and bars. Barbati is a bit hidden, but it is like searching for a treasure. If you have the imagination :) Tour boats are available fr trips to nearby bays.


Next and last stop in this post is Nissaki (Nisaki means little island).  White pebble beach, crystal waters. Peaceful and calm. Krouzeri beach is the biggest one, then Kaminaki and Nissaki beach. There are also a lot of private beaches that can only be reached by boat.

Nissaki is about 25 km from Corfu Town. You can enjoy its natural beauty because it’s not commercialised like other places.

Do not forget to visit Mitsos Taverna. Family run taverna, by the water. The swordfish is to die for. I remember when I was there in 2013 somebody threw some bread in to the water and you could see around 20-30 fishes going crazy over that bread.

And..last but not least, here are some photos from these 4 places.

Wishing you all a lovely and sunny day wherever you are.

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P.S.

While we’re still in this area I have to mention a beautiful place with the most magnificent sunset I have ever, and I mean EVER seen.

It is in the Gouvia bay (in Kommeno), a small church named Ypapanti. It is easily located, follow the main road to Dassia (from Gouvia) and you will see a sign where to turn to reach Agia Ypapanti.

www.greece.com

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Gouvia – Corfu

The closest beach is in Gouvia. From GCV to Gouvia (screen shot Google Maps – the time it takes is approximate, I am living proof that you can make it (walking) in less than 21 minutes.) Events -1636 Gouvia is an old fishing village built on the bay of Gouvia, today a modern holiday resort. You can also find a small beach there, lots of restaurants and shops, a marina, and most important what is left of an old Venetian navy yard. Built (of course) by the Venetians during their rule period on Corfu. The ruins are close to the marina of Gouvia port. Columns, walls and arches survived but the roof is long gone. The Venetians used the bay as a port and the arsenal was built close to the water.

The keystone of the gate at the entrance to the shipyard bears the inscription:

ZBM ANNO MDCCLXXVIII

ZBM are probably the initials of one of the captains constructing the arsenal. The year was 1778.

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Really magnificent architecture. You can just wander around, touch the walls and touch history. You know the expression: “If these walls could talk”.

(Also mentioned in another blog post of mine : Threes – WPC)

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Close by is a memorial plate dedicated to the Serbian army (allies).

It says:

At this port of the island of Corfu, the Serbian allied army coming from Albania  disembarked from 6 Jan. 1916 to 5 Apr. 1916.

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There is also a duck pond at the beach.

These photos were taken last year.

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If you like italian food, there is a great restaurant called “Bella Ellada”. I think the pizza I ate there was one of the best I’ve ever had, and I just had to come back for more. Great and hospitable staff. But if you need some sugar, I would recommend a place called “Fresh“. Waffles, crepes, ice cream… u name it. They have it.

So, there you go. Next post is about some of the nearby places (beaches).

Wishing you all a lovely day.

Green Corner Villas – Danilia – Corfu

A bit about the accommodations. Green Corner Villas (and yes, it IS green :)
I stayed there all three summers. Now, it feels like a little piece of heaven, it feels like home.

Green Corner Villas is a holiday residence with fully equipped studios and apartments. A complex of 2 buildings surrounded by a large private garden. Each building has 2 floors and all the apartments are fully furnished.
GCV is family managed and the location is very central. It is like you are surrounded by the island, you can easily reach any location from GCV.

It is situated in Danilia, not far from Gouvia (closest beach) and Kerkyra.

It is such a wonderful place, surrounded by trees. It is a bit up a hill, but worth the walk. Easily reachable with any vehicle.

Imagine waking up early in the morning on the balcony, the first sunbeams trying to reach your coffee cop, the sound of crickets… and you can also see swallows flying around. I think they a have a nest somewhere close.
It is really nice and quiet and you feel so relaxed.
And because it is surrounded by these amazing tall trees, you can sleep through the night without using the AC or the ventilator. In case you need to use the ventilator or the AC you don’t have to pay extra for that.
It is a clean and neat place, praiseworthy.

You have a parking area, a barbecue you can use, each apartment has a TV, refrigerator, a small stove and so on.
Even though this is an apartment, you get the feeling you are in a hotel. The bedclothes and towels get changed every 2nd/3rd day, as well as cleaning the rooms. You are always provided with bottled water (no charge).

The airport is only 8 km from the apartment.

The owner, Sokratis Englezos and his family are wonderful people, hosts with capital H. He picked us up at the airport when we arrived and drove us back when we were leaving.
No matter what or when you need it, just ask. He and his family will help you in any way. They are really friendly and forthcoming.

Whether you travel alone, with friend(s), huge family, this is the place for you.

I highly recommend this accommodation and I guarantee you a pleasant stay.
The next time I visit Corfu, there is no other place but Green Corner Villas.

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Corfu – introduction

“There rose up large and lofty trees.
Pear trees and pomegranates
the brilliant golden apples
luscious figs
and green olives.
And winter or summer
fruit never failed these trees.”

Homer, The Odyssey, Book Seven

Corfu, the island of rich mythology and history, art and culture.
English, French and Venetians all passed  through and left their mark on this island.

Mythical landscapes, historical monuments…

An island in an old country with ancient civilisation. An island with many names. From “Makrya” (Long), “Drepani” (scythe), ”Cassiopi” (named after the city), “Arpi”, “Keraina” and so on.

There is a myth relating to the Drepani in the “Argonautica” of Apollonius of Rhodes and in Hesiod’s  “Theogony” telling how Cronos, urged by his mother Gaia (Earth) cut off his father Uranus’s genitals with a scythe in order to take revenge for the atrocities committed by him on Crono’s brothers. Various divinities were born from the drops of blood that fell into the sea, such as Aphrodite, the Nymphs and the Erinyes (Furies). The scythe that Cronus threw into the sea formed the island named after it.

The most famous name was Scheria, mentioned by Homer in the Odyssey.
Korkyra is probably of Illyrian origin. The earliest name Kerkyra, is thought to have come from the nymph Kerkyra who Poseidon fell in love with, and brought to a place where they were to unite and give birth to Phaecias; thus, the island got the name Phaeacia.

During medieval times the island was known as Koryfo (also the name of the Byzantine acropolis – the old fortress in Corfu), then it went from venetian Koryfou to Corfu, the name by which it is known today.

The northernmost island in Greece.

The north part of the island is wider and has more mountains. The southern part is less wide.
Summers are warm and dry, with blue skies and occasional breezes. Mountainous areas are cooler. The winters are mild, rainfalls occur from November till March.

Easter celebration is highly recommended (haven’t been there during spring time yet, but there is still time, right? )
I have been there three times; the first time I spent 3 weeks in July and August. One word: HOT! and wonderful…
Second time was in September; remember to take some warm clothes with you. The evenings and nights can get quite chilly. And 3rd time in June. It felt like warming up before the heated joy of July.

June and September were quiet months, not so many tourists. Giving you the opportunity to wander around the island with few interruptions. Not much traffic either. Not having problems finding available sun beds. Almost always available seats on the bus.
July and August are a bit more crowded. Whatever you prefer, nice and quiet or loud and colourful, Corfu has it all.

Beautiful architecture. Friendly people. Great food. Museums… you name it…

The patron saint of the island is St. Spyridon

How to get there? By plane, by boat, by your own yacht :)
How you get around the island? Your choice: bus, bike, taxi, rent-a-car, scooter, bicycle, boats…

If you choose to take the bus, you have two lines. BLUE buses, they serve Corfu town and the environs. GREEN
buses serve the rest of the island.

As I mentioned before this year was my 3rd and definitely not the last one. I’ve simply fallen in love. The minute I win the lottery I am buying a house down there.
You know when you get that feeling of belonging somewhere . That is how I feel about Corfu.

This is the first of many more posts to come about Corfu. Hopefully somebody who hasn’t visited the island will get inspired to take  a trip.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflections

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This is the city of Kastoria in Greece. It is reflected on the surface of lake Orestiada.

The lake covers an area of 28 square meters.

Nine rivulets flow into the lake. Its depth varies from nine to ten metres. The Orestida was formed ca. 10 million years ago. The Kastoria Peninsula (with the town of Kastoria) divides the lake into two parts, the larger to the north and the smaller to the south.

The lake takes its name from the Oreiades. Lakeside attractions include, apart from the Byzantine architectural heritage of the town, an 11th-century Byzantine monastery of Panagia Mavriotissa  and the reconstructed prehistoric settlement of Dispilio, where the Dispilio Tablet was retrieved from the lake in 1992.

(Lake Orestiada)

The city of Kastoria is built on the peninsula that penetrates the picturesque lake of Orestiada and is one of the most beautiful ones in Greece standing at 620 meters above sea level. It is a modern city that has kept quite a bit of its character and traditional architecture. 

Kastoria is located aproximately 200 km from Thessaloniki. If you have the time make sure to visit. Both the city and its surroundings are beautiful.

(Kastoria)

Neoi Poroi, Greece

Two weeks in the summer of 2010 i spent with one of my best friends in Nei Pori.

Neoi Poroi (Nei Pori) is in the southern part of Pieria. A great combination of both sea and mountain. Nearest big cities are Larissa and Katerini. A little further is Thessaloniki.

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The beaches are wide, sandy and well organised with easy access. Nei Pori has for many years been awarded with the blue flag of the EU. The beach is about 5 km long. Because of that you will hardly feel crowded. The water is shallow, which is good for families with children. There is also a variety of water sports. Sun beds and umbrellas along the beach, lots of restaurants, cafes and fast-food.

Nei Pori has been awarded for many years with the blue flag of the European Union. The length of the beach is about 5 km. Due to the length of the beach every tourist will hardly feel crowded.

The sea is shallow and fitting for family holidays. It is fully organised with sun beds and umbrellas and along the beach are several restaurants, cafes, fast-food.

2,5 km from Neoi Poroi is a small town called Platamon (Platamonas) about 25 km southeast from Mount Olympus. A town with a big variety of restaurants, clubs, shops and so on.

The Castle of Platamon, a byzantine castle from the 12th century is worth visiting. From there you have a magnificent view of the surroundings.

The Turks captured the castle in 1385 and paid much attention to its maintenance because they needed the castle to control the strategically important area.
Inside the castle area is a church of Agia Paraskevi, which during the Turkish had been converted into a mosque.

The location of the castle was built on ancient Heraklion.

We even visited Palaios Panteleimona, a beautiful mountain village at an altitude of 700 m. And the view over the Theramaikos Gulf and coast of Pieria from up there is also breathtaking. It’s dated to the end of the 14th century. Due to earthquakes there was unfortunately a lot of damage to the houses there. In the central square of the village is the Old Agios Panteleimonas church, surrounded by traditional taverns. Cobblestone streets and beautiful architecture is really worth the trip there.

Approximately 50 km from Neoi Poroi is a beautiful city called
Larissa which you can reach by train if you don’t have a car. The capital and biggest city of the Thessaly region of Greece and capital of the Larissa regional unit. At first you think another little greek city. But you’re wrong. It is big! And beautiful. I just wish we had more time to explore the city. Legend has it that Achilles was born here and Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, died here.

My favourite experience was the night swim. Just my friend and me in the middle of the night, the sea and nothing else. Gazing at the stars.

We also attended a wedding of a friend of ours, and that too was a wonderful experience.

Wishing you all a lovely day :)

(if you click on a single image you can see it in full screen)