Monday, August 2, 2010

Mr. Toad's Wild Ride

Only T and I  were really more like Rat and Mole, along for the ride.

The past two weeks has sort of flown by.  Our friends from Athens had a lovely holiday (Tho sadly the Eva Palace Hotel fell a tiny bit short as either they'd cut staff or were just unwise enough to have the beautiful bar lounge on the main floor, just past reception - with the gorgeous view and the only wi-fi spot in the whole place-  only serving after 5 pm!  The children's service was also a bit invisible after the first three days.  hmph.)

Since my last post, we have been living simultaneous lives: the first life (and most typical!) being of two retired and fairly boring early risers, who putter about and do laundry and run errands and make sandwiches, and set the machine to tape programs that come on the television after 11 PM.

Our new alter egos however were playmates to a charming Greek family (with companion friends!) from Athens on holiday!  (In the 14 day visit, T and I went out to dinner 10 nights!  Dinner started after 9 and "usually" we were in our beds around 2 AM.  Très untypical, unless we have insomnia!)

Actually the Pet Shop Boys song, Suburbia, seems appropriate as well!  We were young again, dancing the night away (well at least on one night, when we went to Molfetta Bar after we were done eating at around 1 AM...)

We started on our journey of culinary delights Friday evening- Bastille Day- at Takis in Kontokoli.  There we introduced our friends to the delights of the smoked trout hand made by the owner himself.

The cast of characters consisted of our friends of many years K and M and their three children: C, a handsome young man, aged 10 (who could speak English VERY well!) and the twins Miss K and Mr G, aged, 6.

There was also a charming couple who joined them all as well, M & K's good friends (also from Athens) and K's workmate.

Saturday we all went to our favorite Beach in Prasoudi.  All nine of us.

so beautiful and clear
perfect family beach

We had a lovely afternoon in the sun, splashing in the sea, the children were in heaven... and after all that we had a fantastic meal too.  We had, of course, the marvelous lobster spaghetti with spicy sauce... It was wonderful and fun and when we were done 

Pelekas sunset
From there we went to Petra in Pelekas to watch the spectacular sunset.

Pelekas Bay
If that wasn't beautiful enough, as evening fell Pelekas beach became even more of a picture postcard.

On Monday we went to Spiro's and Vasilis and had again a most perfect meal.  T and I had the Chateaubriand for two.  Mmmmm.

Besides raising their own beef for the steaks they make the most exquisite french fries (in the tradition of "frites"!) and bring you hot ones if you haven't eaten the ones on the dish before they cool down too much.

The chef also prepares a wonderful chocolate soufflé served with a chocolate sauce and a cream sauce, that no matter how full you are after your dinner, you seem to find room to finish!

Tuesday we had a party here at our house for everyone as well as our friends Roy and Sammy and their houseguests!  We had salads and I made souvlaki and a nice chocolate cake to round out the empty spots.

Wednesday we went to Pomo d'Oro. I will say that our friends were MOST generous as we had to fight to pay our share of the bills for all these evenings out!  (we shared ONE, and managed to only get and pay for one check!)

Garitsa Bay
Friday was the mid-point of their holiday, and perhaps we over celebrated.  We started out watching the moonrise from the top of the Cavelieri Hotel.  It was lovely.

I'd had a glass of Prosecco at the house before we left, so I though a G & T would go down nicely.

From there we went to Del Sole Restaurant on Guilford St.  The owner himself came out to take care of us.  When our friend ordered a really lovely wine, he suggested food that would go best with it.  (and when we chose otherwise, ignored us!!)

As I was sitting next to K, we finished off the bottle pretty much just the two of us.  It went perfectly with my lovely brisole (Italian cut of beef).

After dinner K ordered an after dinner liqueur called Mastichato Chiou or Chios Masticha.  It's a brandy-based liqueur native to the island of Chios, and it often accompanies desserts made with almonds.   It has a sweet and faint smell of pine and flavour similar to liquorice.   Anyway, I found it delicious.  So delicious that our friend called for the bottle and between the two of us, we killed it.

THEN we all went to Gouvia to the Molfetto Bar, to dance.... we actually got home a wee past 3 that evening.

Saturday and Sunday were pretty much spent getting over my hangover.

Monday, T and I went to the Chinese (Peking House) on our own.  I hadn't eaten much over the weekend (due to my indisposition) and by Monday evening was pretty much craving some good Chinese food.

Tuesday we met our friends at La Cuchina and had another delightful meal (tho for me with a lot less alcohol!)

Wednesday I'd made arrangements for the ladies (me too!) to go to the Asian Spa in Gouvia.  It was SO nice.  We had a lovely three hours and then went to the Nautilus Bar on the seaside in Corfu town, where we all three splurged and had lovely ice cream sundaes for lunch. (Can't be too healthy!)  Wednesday evening we decided to try the "new" Poco Loco on the Disco Strip.  It was OK, but the margarita icy slushies are to be avoided!  Go for the "classic"!

Thursday evening we left our friends and sadly went to the funeral of Spiro Lemis, the Honorary Consul for Ireland.  He and his lovely wife were instrumental in helping us with all the  paperwork to get our Irish passports and remain on this lovely island.  He was one of the first people we met in Corfu on our first visit 15 years ago.  His charm and hospitality made us feel so welcome that we kept returning and finally bought a house here.

It was a grand send off.  He would have enjoyed it tremendously.  At the end of the religious ceremony in the small but beautiful Agia Paraskevi, the little church near his office, a 30 piece band dressed in white led the white hearse through and around the block to pass in front of his office one last time.

Then he was buried in the British cemetery in a quiet shaded spot.  There was a coffee on the Liston for all who attended.  But our neighbors and ourselves celebrated with a nice meal at Pomo d'Oro, and remembered the good times.

moon over Agni
Friday was our friends' last full day in Corfu.

Early in the afternoon they purchased their ferry tickets but that evening we decided to drive to Agni and have a nice meal at Toula's.

In spite of a bit of confusion on our arrival- the table for nine we'd requested had somehow made its way to Sunday (?!?) Nevertheless, they accommodated us and we had a very nice "last" meal.

Plans were made for us to visit them in the fall and I promised to look into finding them all a nice 4 bedroom villa to rent (ON the sea) for next year.

Saturday they left, and T and I laid around like old people.  But Sunday it was Sammy's birthday so I roused up my activity level and made a nice apple-ginger birthday cake for her (her fav... well that and the pear-ginger one.)  They got here at 4 in the afternoon and we on their way home at 8.

T and I toddled off to bed early and a good time was had by all.

And so that was how we spent our friend's summer vacation!  I'm going to manage to get this post done JUST before the end of Monday... thereby filling you in on EVERY thing I've done since my last post.

Tomorrow I will no doubt have to rest my typing fingers.


  1. My goodness Jes...what a wonderful time you've had. The pics are lovely and the description of the meals you had has made my mouth water.

    You must be exhausted by now though and in need of a rest. I'm pretty certain I couldn't keep up that sort of pace for too long!

  2. wow - you really know how to show visitors a grand time!! what great hosts you are.......and i never knew that corfu was that sophisticated with all those restaurants, even mexican!!

    how fun that you were able to go out dancing (love to do that in the summertime in greece) and also enjoy the beach - the shot of pelekas is extraordinary.

    my sympathy for the loss of your friend but what a lovely send-off as you said, with a 30 piece band!

    how wonderful that you are able to enjoy your beautiful surroundings to the utmost!!

  3. dear Ayak- Still reeling from all the good times! It is wonderful to have friends here and show them all the things we enjoy - but of course we don't enjoy all of them at the same time!! (we space them out over the course of a year!)

    Alls well that ends well and they all had a very lovely holiday- and we got to see our good friends, make some new ones and play with little kids again! All around "win-win"; AND we can now put our feet up and relax for a couple of weeks til the next chapter in 'our crazy life'.

    dear Amanda,

    Corfu is a lovely little slice of paradise, to us anyway;-)

    The Mexican restaurant is "ok". The food was nicely presented and the classic margaritas (and the sangria which was what I stuck to!) were lovely. We used to have a really good Tex-Mex one, but I think the food was too spicy for the average Greek (they're not into really hot and spicy food)

    Corfu has a lot of foreign visitors and so in the summertime in particular will cater to them. Over the last ten years there has also been a fairly large percentage of foreigners retiring on the island as well as a fair number of young women marrying Greeks and staying here. The foreign population of the island is probably around 5 or 6 thousand people (possibly more as that number was from several years ago).

    Going out dancing IS fun, but generally we limit ourselves to weddings, the living room behind the vacuum cleaner while wearing headphones, and the odd overindulgence of drink with wild and crazy friends. (Tho i will admit to the odd swinging of hips when we go out and listen to our friends Blues band in Kontokali...)

    Our friend will be missed, but yes it was a great send-off.

    Every day we still wake up and look around us in our own front garden and say, "We are SO lucky to live here!"

    (sometimes that may have a qualifier attached, like, "except when we don't have water or electricity" but you get my drift....)

  4. What a wonderful fortnight!
    But I bet you're quite glad to be back to pottering again after all the excitement...

  5. Sounds like you had 2 weeks in heaven, although I'm sure everyday is nice there in Corfu! The sunset and moon photos are lovely!

  6. dear fly- OH YES. it was really lovely to see them but my liver needs to rest. (wonder if you can send your liver on a little holiday??) currently we are doing our little do-dum things. the dog is pleased we're not gallivanting as well. (it was sooo stressful for her to guard the house ALONE.)


    Dear Wanda,
    Well in a way it was heaven, tho I DO like to hang around my house and cook more than I like going out! (bizarre? yes.) Thank you for the kudos on the photos- I really dream about having a really nice SLR camera- but I won't complain; my little sony cybershot is doing a pretty ok job. (it's nice to dream tho...!)

    Your photographs are amazing. It's like I'm inside your garden and it's a special magical place. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Lovely article with great images. You know I was really arosed after hearing about that food item. I need to go out to some hotel to have it.



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