Corfu, Greece

The second largest and greenest Ionian island. It is also the best known. It was the writer Homer's 'beautiful and rich land', and was Odysseus' last stop on his journey home to Ithaca.

Homer's 'beautiful and rich land' is the best known and one of the most beautiful of the Ionian Islands. A beguiling place of wildflowers and cypress groves, Venetian architecture and herb-scented mountains, 30 years unscrupulous and indiscriminate development has done its best to quash its charm.

More than one million visitors descend on Corfu every year, the vast majority of them package tourists heading for the beach resorts. Unless crowded beaches and rowdy bars have huge appeal, it's best to give the ugly resorts north of Corfu Town a wide berth and head northeast to Nisaki and Agni.


5 Jun 1999 - Corfu (Kavos), Greece

In June 1999 I went to Corfu with Pat Taylor and Nick Williams. To be more precise, I went to Kavos. This bears no resemblance to what has been written about this island. Kavos bears no beauty other than a few beauties often scantily clad. It is simply a strip of beach with a road running parallel and absolutely no cultural icons at all.

As mentioned before, this kind of holiday with Pat and Nick meant it was always going to be hard going. Hard as in hard drinking every night. To make things worse, we arrived during a heatwave that sent the temperatures shooting from the mid and high 30's to the 40+ degree Celsius mark. Not nice for me and even worse for my two portly chums who to be polite, have no trouble keeping warm in cold weather. This contributed to our lack of enthusiasm to see anything interesting on the island. The will to venture more than a few minutes away from a body of water tended to be non-existent and our prime concern was keeping cool and moving slowly.

As I am writing this more than 2 years after the trip my memory of what went on escapes me. Only a few points stick in my mind.

As I said, the drinking was heavy and later in the week I suffered because of this. Rejection of alcohol led to me waking up on two consecutive nights at about 6am. This was followed by 10 hour vomiting and crapping. At some points I was doing both simultaneously and believe me, that places a hell of a strain on your body.

After one night out I woke up on the beach at about 6am not knowing where I was. What I did know was that nature was calling me and never one to ignore this particular call, left a deposit on the beach, between the sunbeds, yards from a series of hotels. At this point, not wanting to contaminate my pants, urgent measures had to be taken to remedy this. No problem, ground floor hotel Brits with the towels hanging over their balconies were my saviours. Then I left to regale the lads with my disgusting tale. Waking up in a daze and operating on autopilot makes you do these things - still no excuse though.

The sex ratio was pretty poor unless you are female, the age gap wide with no happy middle (us being at the top end) and for most of the people there, Kavos represents the ultimate in foreign travel. Real classy like - said in your best Geordie accent. Lines like "I work in a shoe shop and me mate's a carer" spring to mind. Even compared to other resorts such as Kardemana on Kos, Kavos seems like a haven for the very young but I accept that things can change from year to year.

This really is a little enclave of Britain and if visited again will only be as part of an island hop. Actually I am being a big bit unfair as Kavos is not representative of Corfu and really does represent the dregs of English culture. But as mentioned, to see anything else on this trip was just impossible because of the oven like heat.
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