Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Travel Tuesday: The Temptation that is Corfu
Sarah Morgan shares the glory that is Corfu!
It’s October which means the evenings are dark, the mornings are chilly and winter is just round the corner. Although there are many things I love about this time of year, I’m not quite ready to let go of the summer so my temptation at the moment is my holiday photographs. While I’m reaching for another jumper, I’m still thinking sunshine and the island of Corfu, which we were lucky enough to visit this summer.
I am in love with Corfu. It is the most northerly of the Greek Islands, which means that even in July (school holidays for us!) it isn’t as hot as some of the more southerly Greek islands, like Crete, but still hot enough that all I really want to do is lie around reading or take a cooling dip in the sea. The water here is crystal clear and the beaches are some of the cleanest in Europe. Take a boat to one of the hidden coves and you’ll have the place to yourself because large parts of this island are undiscovered by tourists.
Inland, far away from the few noisy resorts that have grown near the airport, you’ll find tiny villages where farmers still use donkeys as a mode of transport, where goats graze in back yards and where you can stumble across a beach that no one else has discovered.
Corfu is unusually green and lush for a Mediterranean Island. It’s been called the Emerald Isle, and that is largely due to the enormous number of olive trees which cover the island – more than 3 million. They carpet the island, protecting it from the harsh summer sun. Olives are an important local industry here and, like wine, no two olive oils are alike. Interspersed among the olive groves are tall Cypress trees, which make the place feel more like Tuscany than Greece.
Part of travelling is trying new food and the local dishes on Corfu are delicious - my favourite is Stifado, beef simmered in local herbs and a rich tomato sauce - and of course everything cooked and dressed in the best olive oil you will ever taste. Even the thick, golden honey has its own special flavour because the bees on this island are spectacularly well fed. In every tiny village, and around every corner there are flowers - Oleander and bougainvillea tumble out of pretty pots, displaying dazzling colours even in the dry heat of summer.
I’m not alone in falling in love with this place - plenty of people have done the same before me. Corfu was Homer’s last stop before returning to Ithaca, Shakespeare reputedly used it as a background for The Tempest and Gerald Durrell wrote My Family and Other Animals while living here.
I’d definitely love to have a house here but sadly that’s just a dream. In the meantime I have my photographs.......
Sarah is currently working on a new Harlequin Presents set in Corfu so that she has an excuse to look at her photographs for a little longer. In the meantime her September release in the UK, Powerful Greek, Unworldly Wife will be published in Harlequin Presents Extra in December. For more information visit her new website which should be live from November www.sarahmorgan.com.