Friday, 27 July 2007

Some History


Due to its important geographical position the island is the border between the East and the West. Mythology mentions Pheakes, the first inhabitants of Kerkyra whose hospitality to Ulysses when he shipwrecked on the island was made known through the works of Homer in Odyssey.

Mythology also mentions the myth of Kerkyra, one of the twelve daughters of Assop and his wife, Metopis. Poseidon, the god of the sea, fell in love with her, kidnapped her and brought her to this island to hide her from his wife, Amphitreti. However, Pluto, the god of Addis, envied Poseidon's success, and one night he kidnapped Kerkyra and took her down to Adis, leaving Poseidon their baby, Phaiakas. Therefore, in the years of Ulysses the island was named after him and was called the island of Phaeceans.

The island was also called by the Greek name of ‘drepanon’, because of its shape, and ‘Corfu’, because of the two peaks of mount Pantokrator.

In 734 the island was a Korinthian colony. Herodotus mentions that Kerkyra was at that time the best nautical force after Athens. The fact that Corfu possesses a vital strategic position was certainly a main cause for the island's occupation by various invaders such as Romans, Byzantines, Goths, Venetians, Sicilians and Catalans. Romans took over the island and then the Venetians in 1205.

. In 1537 the Ottomans attacked the island and the Venetian aristocrats ordered the residents to destroy their houses so as the Ottomans will not be able to take shelter and then settle down. It is said that over twenty thousand inhabitants were captured during the siege and then were sent to Istanbul. If the island did not have strong fortification it is certain that it would fall in the hands of the Ottomans who eventually surrendered and withdrew from the island. Later on, additional fortresses were built and the defense of the island was fortified.

Kerkyra remained under the reign of the Venetians until 1797. That year, Napoleon occupied Venice and the island was taken over by the French for the short period of one year. In 1799 the Ottomans occupied Corfu and next, after an agreement Turkey and Russia signed, the island was divided into sectors. That also lasted for a short time because, in 1815, the area was occupied by the British who kept the island until 1864, when they finally withdrew and handed it over to Greece. In 1824 the British built the Ionian Academy, which still exists. Till today, on the 21/05 every year, The Corfiots celebrate the anniversary of their freedom from the British by organizing church prayers, sport events and school parades. So, in 1864, Corfu joined Greece. But despite the fact that Corfu became Greek, the Italians never stopped desiring the possession of the island, so, in 1923 they bombed Corfu. In 1941 they occupied the island where they remained until 1943, when the Germans occupied it. The island was freed in 1944.


It is influenced by the west since the island was connected to the west for seven centuries.

The Italian influence is shown at Liston area (Venetians 1205-1214)

(See Liston in the picture above).

Sunday, 22 July 2007


The picture above of Anemomylos was taken in winter and shows the wind mill that was built a few years ago.

Anemomylos or in other words, Mylos, is the palce at the end of Garitsa bay. That place used to have a real wind mill in old days that’s why we call it anemomylos, which in Greek means ‘wind mill’. In winter it is a good small port for the fishing boats, but in summer people go there to have a swim, since on one side the sea is shallow enough for the kids to swim.

On the outer side, behind the artificial mill that was built there, there are small stairs for the swimmers. However, the sea is very deep over there, so if you decide to swim in that area you should be careful. Also the bottom of the sea is rocky and rough but if you like sealife, you will have the opportunity to see fish, crabs and even octopuses hidden in the rocks.

On that small area there is a cafes/snack bars that offers quick meals, and a hotel restaurant overlooking the sea. For a proper Greek meal though, you can visit the series of grill rooms and tavernas just across the street, in the green park along the bay. What can you eat? Souvlaki, pitta,mousaka, pastitsio and the Corfiot pastitsada. You can have a variety of fresh vegetables and salads and then summer fruit and icecream. For those living in the town it is the best place to enjoy a meal by the sea. At nights these tavernas are open till very late and the peak time is around 10 pm. Since it is very hot in the summer, people have dinner late at night!

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Herbs: Corfiot Chamomile

Chamomile is found on Mount Pantokrator. The road you can see in the pictusre leads to the top of the mount. There you can find chamomile flowers in springtime and summer.

To pick chamomile flowers collect only the flower top (anthos) not the stem.

The best time to pick chamomile flowers is in the morning, before the sun goes up.

Leave the fresh flowers to dry under the sun for a couple of days.

Store them in a jar and use them like normal tea leaves.

Chamomile is a beautiful small flower that grows on Mount Pantoktrator, as well as in fields and gardens. I remember my mum picked the flowers up from our garden, dried them in the sun and used them to make chamomile tea.
It is good for colds, stomach upsets, indigestion, skin irritation and lots of other
treatments. The best chamomile is the natural one, but you must know where to find it and make sure this place is not polluted. On the mount it is clean and fresh but not easy to get it!

Where to get chamomile:
In big supermarkets you can find chamomile bags or dried flowers. You can make chamomile tea the same way you make common tea.

Chamomile-how to use it

Sore throat and colds

In a cup of chamomile tea add a teaspoonful of honey and some lemon juice. Sip at intervals. This remedy provides you with ample vitamin C and rare honey properties that boost your immune system.

Stomach upsets

Prepare a cup of chamomile tea and add some lemon juice. Drink slightly warm or cold. For best results, drink it first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.


A cup of chamomile tea before bedtime is highly relaxing.

For external use:

Stiff neck

In a pan, simmer some dried chamomile leaves in pure olive oil for a few seconds. When still warm (not hot), apply mixture to affected area. Leave as long as possible and repeat 2-3 times daily.

Ear ache

Prepare as above and apply some chamomile mix (on some cotton wool) to the back of the ear.

Aching joints

Apply mixture prepared as above on joints and leave for as long as possible. Repeat several times (use a bandage to hold cotton wool on affected area).

Mouth ulcers

Prepare chamomile tea and use it for gargling or as a mouth wash after meals and especially before bedtime. However, if mouth ulcers persist visit a doctor.

Skin problems

Women’s rash

Use cold chamomile tea to clean the affected areas. It can be used many times a day as it is soothing and healing.


Cold chamomile tea is soothing and helps restoring the skin’s texture.


Ody, P. (1997) ‘100 Great Natural Remedies: using healing plants at home’ London, UK, Kyle Cathie Limited.

Related Sites

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Olive oil: a local product

This is a small part of an article of mine on olive oil. It explains why I use olive oil daily.

'I use olive oil every day. My ancestors used olive oil every day, too, and they lived to an old age – some lived more than a century. Their main meals were combinations of fresh vegetables, fruit, fish and some meat dressed in olive oil.

So, olive oil has been known for centuries. But it is now that people have become fully aware of its goodness. It can be used almost everywhere, adding a special flavor to food as well as boosting our immune system as it contains Vitamin E. Thus it is good for our health and we should use it every day. Combined with vegetables and fish is an excellent food, as well as with meat of every kind for those who are meat-eaters.'

If you would like to read some recipes that include olive oil, you can go to
and try them!

Good luck!


Bio products online!
I'm sure you've heard about bio-products, they are expanding in Europe and many people prefer them to conventional ones.

This 'green' turn in our lifestyle shows we, consumers, become more and more aware of the benefits of real food that is natural and chemical free. The latter aspect is the one that makes me eager to buy this kind of products, despite their high, at times, price.

In Corfu you can find bio products in big supermarkets like 'Demetra' markets.
What can you get?
Honey, olive oil and a range of herbs.
Sometimes there are vegetables and fruit available.
Also you can get wine, pasta, sauces and jam.
You can get cookies and toast as well.

For online shopping, try where you can find the best prices. This is a Greek site, though, but I hope they will create an English version sometime in the near future.

Also, at
you can find a big variety of natural products.

To view the site in English, click on the British flag at the bottom of the page.

More sites in Greece:
for bio products in Greek big cities
and (Sorry, Greek only!)
for more information on bio products.

What do I buy for my family?
Olive oil, herbs, honey and wine. These are the essentials for the every day meals. I don't buy jams because I make my own, but I do buy cookies made with olive oil and spices. I get them from Demetra market in the town.

Enjoy them!

Saturday, 7 July 2007

Out of the town there are a lot of interesting places to see, and one of them is Mount Pantokrator, the highest mountain on the island. It is 918 meters high and has a small monastery on the top of it. There is a wonderful view to all directions from up there.

On the way to Pantokrator the road is winding and narrow but lies between endless olive groves which are the green beauty of the scenery.

On the mountain there are a lot of villages easy to reach by car, motor bike, bicycle or on foot. Walkers usually follow the route: Ipsos beach, Ayios Markos, Korakiana, Dassia and back to Ipsos from a different road.

Mount Pantokrator is for those who love the countryside and its tradition. Visitors can admire the breathtaking view of the green olive groves and the sea, as well as the magic sunset and dawn. Ideal for relaxing and enjoying natural living in a friendly atmosphere.

Climbing the mount is easy, as there are roads and paths right to the top and a drive by bike, motor bike or car is feasible. There are numerous villages scattered among the green on the way up and there are vast olive groves in every direction. The scenery is adorned by an abundance of tree variety as well. You can see tall cypress trees, pine trees, oaks and orchards and vineyards in between. There you can feel the smell of wild herbs and flowers lingering in the air.

A big village on the side of the mountain is Korakiana, Crow Nest in English. There used to be lots of crows in this village years ago, but nowadays there is a big variety of singing birds around, offering the people a unique melody all the year round.

Korakiana is the perfect village to rent a house or a room or even stay there for good. Some foreign visitors have recently bought real estate at low prices and have built their own houses on the mount. It is worth the money and time spent on a housing project over there if one likes nature and especially the green.

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Summer Frutopia

What is better than a cool summer frutopia?

Summer fruit on the island are perfect for a quick cool dessert that will please all the family! This month you can buy fresh cherries, apricots, peaches and green apples. Of course there are melons and water melons as well, but I haven’t experimented on them yet!

What kinds of fruit should you choose for frutopia?

I’ve used some peaches, apricots, cherries and an apple. The more variety you have, the better it is.

How to do it:
Just chop them or slice them (I prefer bigger pieces) and put them into a small pan with some water, not much, just half a cup will do. Bring to boil for a couple of minutes till they soften a bit. Add a spoonful of sugar if you wish (I don’t add any sugar) and stir well. Dissolve 2-3 spoonfuls of corn flour in some water and add to the mixture stirring all the time. In a minute, your frutopia is ready!

Pour it into a bowl (I use a pyrex bowl) and leave to cool. When cool, put it in the fridge. You can keep it in the fridge for many days.

You can eat it alone or add it to yoghurt, toast, vanilla cream or ice cream. It’s fresh and healthy and much better than the ready- made processed desserts sold in supermarkets!