Once or twice in a lifetime you might have the extreme good luck to stumble upon a person whose life and aspirations so closely mirror your own that you are instantly connected. One such person in my life is my friend Viviane. It just so happens that she lives in a pretty amazing place–The island of Corfu, Greece.
Both of us are drawn to write stories of struggle and triumph, passion and everyday extraordinary people. When we met online we began a nearly daily interaction that has included, what she terms ‘the slashing’ of each other’s work, as well as sharing thoughts and feelings about everything under the sun.
The waning days of July found me landing at Corfu’s small airport, renting a car and making my way around the bay to the Hotel Oasis where Viviane works as front desk clerk/hostess/psychologist/stand-in parent and jack of most trades.
All images by C London
Corfu’s economy is largely dependent on tourism, most of which occurs between May and September. During the cool rainy winter months the residents return to their quiet lives, but during high season it’s seven days a week long hours spent smiling and tending to the onslaught.
This is my second visit to Corfu. This time I had the pleasure of meeting Viv’s boss and family owner of the hotel. A host this rare should be mentioned. Generous and helpful, Petros made our time at his lovely little hotel a gem.
The Oasis clings to the cliff side and overlooks the crystal clear Ionian Sea. Little Mouse Island dots the warm aqua/azure water and families from all over the region enjoy its private beach, daily breakfast served on a large open air terrace and sparkling pool.
Touring about the island affords many more gorgeous vistas, none the equal of Viv’s little corner of the world, but magnificent nonetheless. From Agios Gordios distinctive offshore rock spiking from the sea,
to the tiny villages that reflect Greece past,
to the nightlife action and rocking sea sport town of Kavos,
and the beautiful curve of Roda’s cafe-lined beach,
the world weary traveler can find endless beauty and a way of life not unlike that of a small town anywhere.
People know each other, care about each other and, yes, sometimes gossip about each other. But isn’t this a sign of human connection so many of us crave in this impersonal work-a-day society?
Don’t expect to hear much English should you choose to visit, but almost everyone knows it and uses it as the lingua franka. Mythos–perhaps the best lager in the world, flows plentifully.
Pitas are unlike their cousin Gyros, but every bit as delicious and the local Kumquat Liqueur is served over ice or with a swirl of cream.
Sailboats and yachts abound.
The night time sky like a diamond spattered ebony velvet. Cicadas sing in the trees and the smell of junipers mingle with baked earth and grass.
From thirty thousand feet it looks like a dream.
Small wonder this Italian flavoured jewel is sought after for relaxation by those in the know.
Thanks for the insider tip, Viv.