January 2009

January 2009

  • January 2009, Newsletters, Agni Travel
  • January 2009, Newsletters, Agni Travel
  • January 2009, Newsletters, Agni Travel

Our Winter Warmer!

Welcome to 2009! January can often be a low point on the calendar and so we hope our newsletter has some topics to brighten your wintry days and give you something to look forward to until the summer. We feature a short break to the Greek mainland, our new 'Agni Aunt' column and some special offers from Agni Travel. Put on your slippers, pull up a chair by the fireside and enjoy some summer sunshine.

Our Winter Warmer!, January 2009, Newsletters, Agni Travel

Kefalonia Connection

Our Kefalonia office has only just surfaced after Christmas and Francesca has this to report:

Kefalonia Connection, January 2009, Newsletters, Agni Travel

The 6th January is an important feast-day in Greece to celebrate Theophany which is also known as Ton Photon or Feast of LIghts (reference to the spiritual illumination of the Holy Spirit). It commemorates Christ's baptism. This religious 'feastday' attracts large congregations who wish to be blessed and take home some holy water.

Around this time the local priests make house calls to bless the home. I have just found out (too late) that one should prepare for this by cleaning the house and opening and lighting all the rooms. For a house blessing you will need an Icon of Christ, candle, large serving bowl for the Holy Water, incense, incense burner, charcoal and a sprig of basil leaves.
When our local priest called round unexpectedly we had all the doors and windows closed and were sitting around drinking some Tsipero to cellebrate the new year. The local priest was well prepared and had all the necessary equipment with him. He was obviously keen to do a quick blessing having quite a few other calls to make. He breezed in, said some prayers, splashed some water around and disappeared as quickly as he had arrived.

A Vist to Zagoria

A Vist to Zagoria, January 2009, Newsletters, Agni Travel

People who know Corfu only as a sunny summer holiday island find it hard to believe that in winter there is usually some snow to be found on the top of the island's highest mountain, Pantocrator. It isn't always visible, however, whereas the snow that covers the mountains of the Pindus range, that straddles the northern Greek province of Epirus and neighbouring Albania, and stretches into central Greece, is visible for most of the winter months. Glittering in the sunshine that comes as a welcome distraction between the storms, with their gales and monsoon-type rains, those perfect, pristine mountains exert quite an attraction on us, causing us to pause whatever we are doing and simply absorb the beauty of the view.

Zagoria, a wild and mountainous region, part of the Pindus, is easily accessible from Corfu, and a break of a few days over there has all the beneficial effect you could hope for from a winter holiday.

A Vist to Zagoria, January 2009, Newsletters, Agni Travel

The mountain scenery is spectacular, especially when you look up to the towering, snow-covered crags and peaks, or peer down into narrow gorges where rivers rush and tumble beneath the impossible but durable arches of ancient stone bridges.

Weekenders from Corfu and the mainland towns throng the scattered villages in search of the region's excellent and robust cuisine, but on weekdays you can drive - or walk - for hours and not see another soul.

A Vist to Zagoria, January 2009, Newsletters, Agni Travel

The Zagoria region is home to one of the last three surviving ancient European forests - the others, mostly coniferous, are in Sweden and Finland, but here, just across the channel from Corfu, is a great forest of mixed trees. In its wildest, most inaccessible parts, the brown bear, the lynx, wolf and chamois are still to be found, though unlikely to be seen by the casual visitor. Wild boar is prolific, and finds its way, inevitably, into the local cuisine. Nomadic shepherds and their flocks have always inhabited these mountains and valleys, moving their flocks according to season. Driving along the winding roads - a comparatively recent feature in a region where humans and animals for centuries moved around by means of steep, cobbled paths only - encounters with herds of healthy-looking cattle and flocks of equally lusty goats are frequent. Sometimes they are accompanied only by two or three of the fierce local sheepdogs - not a human in sight.

A Vist to Zagoria, January 2009, Newsletters, Agni Travel

A winter visit to Zagoria is the perfect tonic for jaded bodies and souls, with scenery that rivals that of any of the world's better-known mountain areas, an abundance of fast-moving water, snow, villages that are perfectly in harmony with their setting. The local food is irresistible, with homemade pies filled with meat, mushrooms, cheese, horta and herbs. One pie is called 'flour pie' and is made while you wait from flour, yoghurt, eggs and feta cheese - a kind of melt-in-the-mouth pizza. Galotyri is a creamy mixture of feta and yoghurt that goes well with the crusty bread and wild boar makes a tender and utterly delicious stifado. Local honey, homemade jams and preserves, pungent cheeses and mountain tea, feature on the delicious breakfast menus of the quaint and comfortable pensions of the region. Tsipouro, once an illegal brew, is nowadays respectable and popular, and the perfect antidote to cold and damp, but there are some excellent wines produced in the region of Epirus.

A Vist to Zagoria, January 2009, Newsletters, Agni Travel

This region is noted for the quality of its water, and there are several bottling plants, but when you ask for water in a village restaurant, it comes straight from the tap, and tastes just as water should - cold and pure.

Getting to Zagoria from Corfu is a simple matter, with one reservation - gale-force winds are not unknown in the Ionian and can play havoc with the ferry schedules. Once on the mainland, however, the new Egnatia Road makes short work of much of the journey (though trying to find it when you come off the ferry is rather like trying to find the end of a tangled ball of string!). In about 4 hours, assuming you skirt round Ioannina and leave a visit to its beauties and its shops for another day, you will have entered another world.

A Vist to Zagoria, January 2009, Newsletters, Agni Travel

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The Agni Aunt Column

Happy New Year from Polly Vromikos, the Agni Aunt! Yes my dears, officially employed by Agni Travel as a health and safety officer and available for counselling on any subject, this is Polly! The Agni team has asked me to write a regular column for the newsletter, so here goes!

When it comes to health and safety at this time of year, my advice to you is wrap up warmly, drink plenty of alcohol (tsipouro is good and comes in handy as a back rub too), and do not under any circumstances watch the news on TV! Stick to the soaps I say, and if you think about it, life in Corfu often resembles one of the soaps.

Take 'Lost' for example - filled with improbable coincidences and unexplained happenings, not to mention unanswered questions.
That's life in Corfu all over.

I mean - what did happen to the Food Department at Corfu's M & S? Those who were lucky enough to grab a frozen Toad-in-the-Hole or a packet of Real Fish & Chips, with a packet of Jammy Dodgers to follow, speak of a beam of light and a mass disappearance of food items, never to return. Don't be surprised, though, if you go in there one day and find an Ocean Pie in the pillowcases you buy, or a mince pie in the menswear....

'Lost' in Corfu - oh yes indeed.
What does live in the holes in the olive trees? Those sinister black nets that appear overnight to hide what's really going on in the olive groves - where do they come from and who exactly spreads them on the ground? Are those polar bears in the garden or just Flokati rugs laid out to air?

The questions are endless.
What's on at the cinema tomorrow? Will there be a ferry to Igoumenitsa today (it's a bit windy). Is it a Public Holiday today? When will the 'new' hospital open?
And how did we all get here anyway?
Lost indeed.
Well that's it for this month, so pop along to the forum and post a question for next time!!!
Agni Aunt Question Time

Summer Holiday Sale is now On!

Summer Holiday Sale is now On!, January 2009, Newsletters, Agni Travel

We have some great holiday offers for you to consider:

Summer Holiday Sale is now On!, January 2009, Newsletters, Agni Travel
Villa Leana

Situated in a village location, Villa Leana boasts full air conditioning with pool, yet a perfect beach, tavernas and shops are all within walking distance - a rare combination: Villa Leana, Corfu

Flights & Luggage Allowance

It's very good news that EasyJet has decided to come to Corfu again this year and there are plenty of cheap flights available. However, with restrictions on the luggage allowances we have decided to make two special offers.

Beach Towels

Beach towels are big and bulky and take up so much space. To give you more room in your suitcase for more important items (bikini, sun cream, shoes!!)we have decided to offer a beach towel rental service. For a small charge we will provide enough beach towels for each member of your party and at the end of your holiday you won't have a suitcase full of sandy, damp towels to take home with you (more room for the prezzies)!

Light reading?

We all like to read a good book on holiday but they can take up so much space in your suitcase and also add to the weight. So, we are offering you the chance to order your holiday books online with Amazon (or other online bookstore) and have them shipped direct to the Agni Travel Office in time for your holiday. Prior to your arrival we will deliver the books to your accommodation ready for you to change out of your travelling gear into something more comfortable and relax on the terrace or by the pool. The most taxing decision you will have to make is which book to read first!

Summer Holiday Sale is now On!, January 2009, Newsletters, Agni Travel
Villa Delphine, Corfu

In the heart of a sleepy little hamlet, only two minutes from the beach and with a pool, 'Delphine' sleeps 6 and has been fitted to the highest standard to include: air conditioning, satellite TV, fully fitted kitchen (with dishwasher and washing machine), double-glazed windows and doors and a safe for your valuables. With the beach and tavernas on your doorstep, a car is not required: Villa Delphine, Corfu

Summer Holiday Sale is now On!, January 2009, Newsletters, Agni Travel
Kantada Villas, Paxos

Kantada Villas is a group of four identical villas which have been designed to provide the maximum privacy. With shared pool and yet only a few steps from a beautiful beach. Although an ideal choice for a family of four, it is also well suited to groups of friends who would like to holiday together and yet be completely detached: Kantada Villas, Paxos

Summer Holiday Sale is now On!, January 2009, Newsletters, Agni Travel
Villa Belvedere Rosa, Lefkas

Located in the beautiful region of Tsoukalades with fabulous views over the Agios Ioanis Cape, this delightful villa has been built with care and attention to detail to offer you the perfect holiday accommodation on Lefkas.

Summer Holiday Sale is now On!, January 2009, Newsletters, Agni Travel
Anthy Beach, Kefalonia

In high demand due to their proximity to the beach which is just 20 metres away, Anthy's Beach Apartments are modern and comfortable with private balconies and panoramic sea views. Fiscardo's centre is just a short stroll away: Anthy Beach, Kefalonia

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