April 2009

April 2009

Shooting Stars

Shooting Stars, April 2009, Newsletters, Agni Travel

News was released on 25th March concerning a meteorite that ‘collided’ with the Earth on 7th October 2008. The size of a small car, weighing 80 tonnes, it exploded 37 miles above the Sudanese desert, less than 24 hours after being first sighted, exactly when and where the scientists had predicted. Over 200 fragments were recovered by a team of students from Khartoum University.


Shooting Stars, April 2009, Newsletters, Agni Travel

(OK, it's not a meteorite, but the closest I could find to one on Paxos! Any ideas what it is!!)
Is this close enough to 1st April to be considered a hoax? Some on-line posts did suggest that, but we prefer to believe in it, and to be confounded, yet again, by the marvels of Nature.

Shooting Stars, April 2009, Newsletters, Agni Travel

In Corfu, we are not unused to such phenomena – people living in Corfu, with its unpolluted skies, areas with little or no street lighting, and – let’s face it – frequent power cuts! – have been privileged to enjoy stupendous sightings of Halley’s Comet, for example, when it raced through our skies in 1986 (next sighting not until 2061). Both lunar and solar eclipses have been witnessed – one member of the Agni Team spent a whole night, some years ago, perched on top of the loo staring out of the tiny window, across the roof of the Corfu Fire Station, waiting for the right moment. Was it worth it? Emphatically, yes, she says.


Shooting Stars, April 2009, Newsletters, Agni Travel

Shooting stars are frequently seen in Corfu – try lying on the beach at the northern end of Agni Bay, preferably after a good meal but before you drink too much wine, and just let yourself drift away, not focusing on any particular part of the sky… inevitably, you will see a shooting star and feel the sharp thrill of this message from the heavens. In August every year, (8 – 14 August this year) the Perseid meteor shower passes across the skies of Greece, and is usually very visible in Corfu, and rather exciting. Just make sure you are peering in the right direction – we were misled one year and didn’t realize until too late that all the action had been going on – behind our backs!


Shooting Stars, April 2009, Newsletters, Agni Travel

August, too, is the time to look for that enormous, ruby red full moon that comes up over Albania and has caused many an Agni diner to abandon his or her table and race to the end of the jetty, convinced that the Albanian hills are ablaze.

Talking of Stars.....

Watching Greek TV is an enlightening experience, especially if you tune into STAR Channel. If you want the really serious news, this is not the channel for you, but for a gossip-ridden round-up of Greek celebrity and wannabee news, this is it. Current topics are dominated by Eurovision speculation, with the Greek contender Sakis Rouvas featured heavily. Rouvas is a Corfiot, born in Mandouki, and won third place in the 2004 Eurovision contest. Let’s see what he can do in Moscow in May – Corfiot support is guaranteed!


Talking of Stars....., April 2009, Newsletters, Agni Travel

STAR Channel must also take the prize for the most gruesome weather forecasting – but this opinion perhaps depends on whether you are male or female. The weather presenter, Petroula, looks and behaves like an Italian porn star, and most women I know switch over to the urbane middle-aged gentleman on Antenna rather than endure the vulgar show put on by Petroula, with her Barbie-on-speed outfits and her Mickey Mouse weather maps. Have we said too much?


You'll only ask, so I may as well just tell you now, yes she does have a website! Petroula Greek Weather

Getting Around

Talking of weather – and who hasn’t been this winter? – Corfu has had the wettest winter that anyone can remember, and that includes our friend Niko’s grandpa. When did it ever rain so much and so often, putting a blight on our usual enjoyable winter pastime of open-air coffee drinking. So many residents of Corfu are what you might call ‘at leisure’ in the winter, when the holiday business shuts down, and a trip into Town to sit under the trees of the Main Square and people watch or browse through bootleg DVDs has always been a favourite pastime. People come from as far away as Kassiopi and Lefkimmi to indulge in this pleasant pastime, perhaps indulging in a delicious spinach or cheese pie around noon. But this has not been the best winter for such idle pleasures.
Some people, however, have put the windy weather to good use.


Walking on Barbati Beach recently, giving the dog a real run for once, we were startled when the rare sun was blotted out by a series of giant shadows, as flying objects swooped overhead and landed on the beach.

Getting Around, April 2009, Newsletters, Agni Travel

Visitors to Barbati often arrive by boat, but rarely by parachute, as these guys (and one girl, for the record) did. Parachuting down on their wildly colourful wings, they had launched themselves off the crags of Mount Pantocrator and glided down on the air currents to the shore. Like gods, oblivious to our open-mouthed admiration, they unbuckled their harnesses and stowed their ‘wings’ carefully in the packs they wore. Cigarettes were smoked, banter exchanged, and a battered jeep arrived to take them away. The dog was spellbound – and so were we. One way of getting around.


Red Rain

Red Rain, April 2009, Newsletters, Agni Travel

Another example of weird weather is of course what the Venetians, who suffer from it frequently, as do the Corfiots and many other inhabitants of Greece, call 'Red Rain'.  This strange phenomenon occurs about this time of year usually, just when people have whitewashed their house and garden walls, hung out the winter carpets and bedding and cleaned their cars, all in time-honoured preparation for Easter, a festival that requires a high degree of cleanliness (and new clothes and shoes). The wind comes up from the south, the sky turns yellow and brings the rain, laden with red sand from the Libyan Desert. Within minutes, everything is clogged up and stained by the liquid mud. Apparently Cairo suffers from it too, in March, when the desert winds revolve in the right direction, but heck! Is that any consolation? They are a lot closer to the Libyan Desert than we are – it hardly seems fair.


Load of Rubbish

Load of Rubbish, April 2009, Newsletters, Agni Travel

Rubbish disposal and recycling are rather delicate subjects of discussion in Corfu (along with the neverending story of the new Corfu Hospital). In February, details were published in the Agni Forums of an actual, working recycling operation. Click here
http://www.corfurecycling.com/corfu.html for full information (in English) of this Danilia-based business, that disposes of all kinds of scrap metal from burnt-out toasters to cars, PCs, batteries and more. They have been in business since 2001, but only recently seem to have come to wider notice. What’s more – they do not charge to collect items and they pay you for your scrap!


Load of Rubbish, April 2009, Newsletters, Agni Travel

Helping to turn discarded rental accommodation fridges into new, useful, things!

Easter

Easter, April 2009, Newsletters, Agni Travel

Just a reminder – Greek Easter Sunday falls on 19th April this year – one week after Easter is celebrated in Britain and other non-Orthodox countries.
Happy Easter to everyone!


Easter, April 2009, Newsletters, Agni Travel

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Agni Aunt

Agni Aunt, April 2009, Newsletters, Agni Travel

POLLY VROMIKOS COLUMN APRIL 2009


It's only in March that many of those who live in Corfu begin to emerge from their winter lethargy, rub their bleary little eyes, strained from an overdose of dvds – and look around for the first time in weeks, if not months. This probably applies more to anyone who works or is otherwise dependent on the tourists for a livelihood, for those exotic creatures, the tourists, visit Corfu only in summer, causing a general hibernation for workers in the travel industry.


Agni Aunt, April 2009, Newsletters, Agni Travel

Around March 25th each year, the swallows return to repair their old nests or build new ones; their chirpy optimism seems to awaken something in our hearts, and we manage to shake off the dull discontent of winter and get back to the business of making a living.
Scientists have not only studied the beneficial effects of the Mediterranean Diet, they have also investigated with some wonder the subject of human hibernation, as witnessed in the inhabitants of Greek holiday resorts.


It seems it really is possible to turn one’s back on the misery of winter, with no earnings coming in, no debts being paid, and little or no interesting scandal or gossip to break the monotony. Corfiot hibernation may not be as extreme as that of the bear, for example, or the squirrels, that simply pull the plug, switch off, and go into a state of suspended animation. (This state is actually quite easily and quickly induced by watching repeats of House, CSI etc for a few days). But the subjects start getting up later and later each day, manipulating other people into doing their shopping, and keeping the shutters closed to avoid having to look at another day of rain.


Agni Aunt, April 2009, Newsletters, Agni Travel

Then, one day, you hear the birds. You look outside and realize that the grass has grown up to the level of the first-floor balcony. People are whitewashing walls and painting around the separate stones of the crazy paving path in a burst of energy brought on by the fact that Easter is imminent and everything must be clean and tidy for that great event.
And you suddenly realize that people you haven’t seen for months are suddenly visible again, looking nut-brown and healthy in acute contrast to your own hibernation pallor. If you wonder where they have been, it is probably to Thailand, the new winter retreat for Corfiots.


Agni Aunt, April 2009, Newsletters, Agni Travel Agni Aunt, April 2009, Newsletters, Agni Travel

Yes seriously, Thailand. Greeks adore beaches and swimming and snorkeling and some of them never quite recovered from the euphoria of seeing Leonardo diCaprio in The Beach. To be sure, that film didnt have a happy ending, but the scenery was divine and desirable. (Much as Leo was to young females). Cheap deals and a growing familiarity with the concept of holidays abroad has meant that many Corfiots now simply abandon Corfus shores once the winter sets in, and fly off to Thailand, there to live, wearing very few clothes, swim and fish and have massages all day, and be surrounded by polite and smiling people.


Agni Aunt, April 2009, Newsletters, Agni Travel

Sounds like Eden to me. Where do I sign up for next winter?
Mind you, it doesn’t seem so long ago that Corfiots, at least the male variety, swanned off to Britain for the winter, armed with the addresses of girls they had met during the summer, expecting to find the same generous and unstinted hospitality that they had themselves shown.


Agni Aunt, April 2009, Newsletters, Agni Travel

They soon found out that the golden-limbed girls of the summer, generous with their favours, were really suspicious, hostile harridans tightly wrapped in impenetrable layers of M & S woollies, unwilling to open their arms or their front doors to young Greeks bearing no matter how many gifts. The girls, too, often failed to recognize their handsome bronzed summer Lotharios in the shivering strangers huddled on their doorsteps swaddled in thick grey three-piece suits and anoraks.

It just wasn’t the same, somehow. You would hear the plaintive bleat of the displaced, disillusioned Corfiot all along Oxford Street, or on the escalators at Marble Arch. It was only when they sighted each other at check-in at Heathrow, on the way Home, that they smiled again, slapped each other’s backs, and started sharing cigarettes and experiences.
That’s why it’s better to hibernate, dream of golden bodies and summer days and simply forget about cold reality.


Agni Aunt, April 2009, Newsletters, Agni Travel

Editor's Note: Agni Aunt, is that you in the photo above? Because the above photos are not Thailand at all! No, they are photos of our very own dear Anti Paxos!

Agni Aunt's Website Treats

Spending so much time at home, out of the rain, has one advantage. Surfing the Internet can be done without any effort at all, and what delicious surprises it can provide.
Half of Corfu must be on Facebook now(*), and one result is a fascinating group called: Corfu Old Photos
Check it out for some very interesting photos of Old Corfu.

Another website with a wonderful display of photographs taken by a very talented local man is this one:


http://www.ctts.gr/photos/pan/pan.html


It is the website for RadioTaxis Corfu, and the talented photographer just happens to be – one of the cab drivers.


Blogs are bursting forth from the fertile Corfu soil like so many mushrooms – and can keep you entertained for hours. They can also provide answers to some of those nagging questions you carry around in your head for days or even weeks. One such instance is to be found on the Corfu Blog. Back in February, the Blog mentioned the rather surrealistic bronze column that had recently been erected in Dassia, at the side of the main road. Rumours as to its meaning were rife – a monument of some kind? - but it turned out to be an innovative method of environmentally-friendly rubbish disposal. Thanks to the ladies of the Corfu Blog for this information.

*Oh, yes, and even Petroula is on facebook!

This Month's Animal Story

Agni forum members are not by any means strangers to inspiring, harrowing or just plain cute stories about Corfu’s animals. Usually, stories are about cats or dogs. We are going to try to bring you each month stories about other animals.


We thought we would start off with the story of how one of our Team reunited an African Grey Parrot with its owner!

Working quietly in her office, she was interrupted by a phone call from a girl friend, on holiday in Corfu, gabbling excitedly into her mobile phone. ‘Come to the villa, now! You are not going to believe this!’ Luckily the girlfriend was staying in a villa very close to the office. When she got there, the friend was waiting, hovering anxiously behind the curtains of the windows that led out on to the magnificent terrace with stunning view of the sea. (OK, we got that bit out of the brochure..). She pointed a shaking finger. On the bamboo table, dipping its beak delicately into a glass of fruit juice, was a large and very handsome grey parrot.


As we walked over to the table, it cocked its head and regarded us with remarkably intelligent eyes. It showed no inclination to leave, and seemed to be amused by the rather inane remarks we made to it, in something like baby-talk. You know, ‘Oh aren’t you a beautiful boy!’ – that kind of thing. Our words clearly did not impress the bird.
Our friend said something stupid about not knowing parrots were to be found in Corfu, and with one of those sudden flashes of memory I recalled hearing that a Nissaki couple owned an African Grey. On the off chance, we did a spot of networking, obtained their phone number and were soon talking to the couple, sobbing with relief that their beloved pet had been found. The parrot had been missing for days and showed little interest in leaving his magnificent terrace with stunning sea view – but then who would?


Caption Needed

Caption Needed, April 2009, Newsletters, Agni Travel

With Petroula still in mind, I thought we should have a more relaxing caption competition. (It's an old one, but one of my favourites!)
The prize for this month's caption competition is a week at the Bella Mare, Corfu!
Just post a caption and enjoy a free week away: April Caption Competition

Agni Who?

At Agni Travel we specialize in offering individual, 'unpackaged' rental properties, including luxury villas with pools, traditional houses, and apartments. We offer accommodation on the Greek Islands and Italy. Why not contact our dedicated and knowledgeable team to help plan your next perfect holiday:
Email: sales@agni.gr
UK Office Tel: (0044) 0207 1836468
Greek Office Tel: (0030) 26630 91609
Office Hours: Mon - Sat : 8am - 5pm (+2GMT)
or take a look at our:
Online Brochure

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