Thursday, 22 August 2019

Back in Corfu after 13
years for two weeks
in the Ionian islands

The Blue Sea Argyrades Beach at Aghios Georgios … my base in south-west Corfu for the next fortnight

Patrick Comerford

I am spending two weeks on the island of Corfu, and hoping to visit some other Greek islands while I am here over the next fortnight.

I arrived late last night [21 August 2019] on an Aer Lingus flight from Dublin to Corfu, and I am staying at the Blue Sea Argyrades Beach at Aghios Georgios or Saint George at the south-west tip of the island.

The Blue Sea was first built in 1976, and is a small and friendly, family-run hotel set in lush gardens, with a swimming pool and its own restaurant.

This area is blessed with one of the best beaches on the island. The golden sand stretches as far as the eye can see, and there is a good selection of tavernas and bars dotted along the road.

Aghios Georgios is also an ideal base for people who like walking and cycling. I am told a short walk through the olive groves takes me to the quaint tenth century village of Argirades, where life goes on as it has been for years.

North of here is Lake Korision, a lagoon that is the most important nature reserve in Corfu and an important place for bird watching. Corfu town centre is at around 25 km away.

This is my second time in Greece this year, having spent Greek Easter in Rethymnon in Crete at the end of April and the beginning of May, and my fourth time in Greece in 18 months.

But it is 13 years since I first visited in Corfu in 2006, when I was a lecturer at the Durrell School of Corfu and that year’s summer seminar, ‘The Emergence of Modern Greece: Politics, Literature and Society’ (21-27 May 2006).

During that week, Paddy Sammon and I explored much of the island, visiting remote villages, beaches and ruins.

During the next two weeks, I hope to explore more of Corfu, including the remnants of the former Jewish Ghetto beneath the walls of the New Fortress, an area still known as Evraiki or the Jewish quarter.

Other parts of Corfu to visit include the Liston, the castle, the Byzantine and Venetian remains, churches and cathedrals, monasteries and convents, the tiny island church of Vlacherna which has become the poster image of Corfu, or some palaces once owned by now-deposed crowned heads of Europe.

Perhaps I may also visit some of the neighbouring Ioninian islands, including Paxos and Antipaxos, or even get to some of the towns on the Greek mainland. At the back of my mind is the possibility of a visit to Albania, which I visited briefly when I was last in Corfu in 2006.

But now I’m off to the buffet breakfast, which is served from 8 a.m. to 9.30. Why not join me over the next two weeks as I renew my acquaintance with Corfu and discover parts of Greece that I am not so familiar with.

It is 13 years since I was in Corfu as part of the Durrell School of Corfu (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

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