Thursday, October 7, 2010

I'm alive... and visiting Old Perithia!

hillsides of old Perithia covered with crocus

Yes.  Well.  What can I say.  The month of September just got away from me.  It slipped through my life like socks on a waxed floor, and the best I can do is tell you that I had a wonderful time of it!

Highlights include: "Saint Middle Son"'s visit; a trip to Brussels for a cousins wedding; (with concurrent visit/housesitting by charming Englilsh friends); delightful impromptu end of month American houseguests for sailing, and a delightful meeting, on purpose, with cruise ship passenger parents of son's dear friend for a day visit to Corfu (with lunch). 

Old Perithia
But I'm going to start with last weekend first... 

FINALLY, I visited old Perithia.   Friends invited us to lunch at Foros Taverna (along with a nice amble and a bit of "work" clipping and picking wild rose hips from the bushes along the high paths).

Tomas drawing in background
Tomas the proprietor is a wonderful host with a surprising talent: he draws a picture of the village on a business card while you are eating!! (his phone number and hours are on the back for reference.)

His food (well, his wife's food!) was wonderful and the five of us ate plates and plates of meze instead of ordering a traditional meal because it was all SO good.  For dessert he served us a delicious walnut cake which was incredible.[I hadn't realized he was "famous" as Rick Stein and Italian television has put him on the map- he is NOT a prima dona sort of guy- at all! Nor are his prices! Plus he loves dogs and told us Balou was always welcome...]

We decided to take the Balou along with us, because although she's large, she's so quiet and gentle and just so huggable, that we figured she'd be fine.  (and she was!)  She loved walking in the mountains smelling new smells and finding new brambles and weeds to get stuck in her fur (though I think she really enjoyed lying around under the table at the taverna best!) 

The weather was perfect and the company was totally enjoyable.

Old Perithia is the ruins of an absolutely lovely village high up in the mountain almost on level with Pantokrator [914 meters]   It was built in the 14th century as an escape from the two big annoyances of the times: pirates and malaria.  It's a perfect example of a traditional Corfiot inland village.   By the 20th century both annoyances had pretty much been cleared away, so everyone moved to their "other properties" near the sea, and "old" Perithia was born.

one of 8 (or 11)
In its hey-dey, old Perithia boasted a police station, a school, a court house and 8 (to 11- information varies!) churches- built by the individual families!- with over 1500 residents- many of whom where well off.

Now there are only a handful of people who remain all year.  Thankfully the great taverna owners (Tomas included!) are among the people who stay year-round!!

I'll include a few photos of the ride there...

looking towards Butrint (Albania)

You drive past Kassiopi and before you get to Acharavi you take the turn to Perithia, Old Perithia and Loutses.  [picture is of the delta where the sea used to wash right up to the edge of the ancient city of Butrint - a world heritage archaeological site in Albania.

The road winds up several switchbacks and takes you quite high up and deep into the center of Corfu.

So that's my lovely Corfu for now.  I will try and give you a bit more details on Brussels and saintly son's visit in my next post...

(not to mention at some point I'll have to give you the three incredible recipes I used to serve our visitors who came for lunch!  Three Corfiot specialties: Sofrito, Chicken Pastisada, and my favorite: "little shoes" or Papousakia....)


  1. Hey! Welcome back. I was wondering where you had gotten to?
    The crocuses are even out inforce here in Athens - but they're the shy, pale lilac varieties, not those wonderful egg-yolk yellow ones you showed us. Amazing what the first rains can coax out of the ground, isn't it?

  2. Fantastic photos, I miss Greece.

  3. Glad to see you back posting Jes. I've missed you.

    Lovely post and pics xx

  4. Greetings and I'm glad I'm back too! Thanks you all so much for checking back to see if there was a pulse left in the old blog!!


    Dear She,

    The picture really doesn't do the crocus justice- it looked like the hillside was blanketed with the bright yellow little flowers! (not a purple one in sight!)

    Also around sunning themselves on the lovely rocks around the crocus, were vipers- we saw three! Fortunately they really were more afraid of us so they disappeared fairly quickly after we spotted them, giving me pause to intrepidly get any closer to take pictures of the flowers!


    Dear Eric,

    I know. Whenever I leave to go anywhere else, my heart is still here. What can you do??


    Dear Ayak,

    I"m glad I'm back too! Now if I can just keep sounding relatively interesting....


    So often I feel I am so boring and that I just happen to live in an amazing place!

    hugs all around,

  5. Glad to see you back...and with such super photographs, too.
    I envy you Brussels....we're moving to Costa Rica soon, and I doubt I'll ever see it made the most of it on my last visit.

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  7. [yes, well, if only truestarr could actually write in complete sentences for a change!!!]

    I'll try it again:

    Dear Fly,

    You will come back to visit Belgium, I am sure. The memory of the amazing food will haunt you! (if not that, then the smell of the North Sea after a storm, or the brilliance of the autumn changes along the Meuse and in the Ardennes...)

    Of course there IS a lot to be said for warm weather on cold old bones!! I hope you saw all your favorite places (and ate your favorite dinners!)

    Thanks for checking back again

    Your posts keep me laughing and crying with both chagrin and delight. Your wonderful point of view on expat life in France and its absurdities is a rare gift and priceless to all of us who read your blog.

    I really hope you will be documenting your move and relocation as you can!!

    You do realize that moving to such a romantic place as Costa Rica is fraught with the possibilities of other misguided specialty coffee drinkers seeking an alternate reality and a place to carve out their version of a Graham Greene existence!?

    Looking forward to your future posts!

  8. Thank you for your kind words!
    I have been looking at the blogs about Costa Rica....and I promise mine will be different!

    I have been playing with titles....
    Coffee pickin' Caucasian..?
    Land of the Plastic Bag....?
    Where Manyana Never comes....?

    Yes, I hope I will be heading back to Belgium one day...nowhere like it.



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