Kalimera ↑ all posts


A memorable night on the deck of the ferry is cut short by the arrival in Igoumenitsa at the unfriendly time of 04:00. I pack up my stuff and roll off the boat into Greece. I’m heading to Corfu for a night to see a bit of the island and to meet the family of Kai’s labmate Kostas, who’s family run the bakery in the small village of Kavvadades in the north west. I get the first ferry I can from Igoumenitsa to Corfu at 06:30 and follows Kostas’ cycling instructions to the family home.

“A couple of kilometres climbing” turns out to be an ascent of a huge ridge running across the island, or at least it feels pretty big in 38 degree heat. From the peak it’s mainly downhill to Kevvadades and I almost miss the bakery but Pelagia (Kostas’ sister) shouts out to me just in time. The family welcomes me warmly and treats me to a delicious and extensive lunch of traditional Greek food: stuffed peppers and aubergines, fresh feta cheese, stacks of marinated fish. And of course fresh bread from the bakery downstairs!

After lunch they take me down to their holiday house near the beach at Arillas where I’m going to be spending the night. Pelagia makes sure I’m well supplied with water and juice and cake, and leaves me to sleep for a few hours - sleeping on the deck of the ferry was fun but not particularly restful!

Around 8pm Aleko, Kostas’ friend, arrives on his motorbike to take me for a bit of a tour of the island. We watch the sunset from a clifftop overlooking the beach at Arillas and then drive a bit further up the coast for a beer and Aleko tells me about his days spent free diving and spear hunting in his youth.

Final treat of the evening was a visit to a local festival honouring the death of a saint. We stop on a road overlooking the valley where the festival is being held and in the distance the festival is in full swing: bright lights, singing, Greek music, and plumes of smoke drift upwards from a grove of tall trees near a small church.

Underneath the trees there are hundreds of tables all filled with people from very young to very old, all chatting and laughing and eating. Every hundred feet or so is a cooking station, each with 10 or 12 lambs being grilled over open coal fires. When a lamb is done it is brought to a chopping block where a guy with a big meat cleaver hacks it into sections which are then chopped more finely (bones and all) and served in a parcel of paper with bread. You take your parcel to a free table if you can find one, and eat with your fingers, washed down with beer.

Unfortunately I’m getting quite tired even after my afternoon sleep, so we leave around 1am but the party is still in full swing! It takes a while to leave as Aleko seems to know every second person we pass, the festival seems to be a great way for the locals to catch up with each other and there’s lots of hugging and shaking of hands.