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28 May, 2013

The Seductive South

Experience the seductive energy of Corfu Island’s South and be enchanted by a land waiting to be discovered.
Many countries around the world demonstrate a qualitative difference between their Northern and Southern cities or towns. Northern Europe is certainly different than Southern Europe both in temperature and in the life style of their peoples. Naples is different to Milan, London to Manchester, Berlin to Munich and Athens to Thessaloniki in the North of Greece.
In line with this apparent trend the Northern part of Corfu Island is decidedly different to its Southern counterpart. Corfu Town sits comfortably and uniquely in its own right, somewhere in the middle.
It is not a question of “for better or for worse” but rather a matter of feeling, of ambience, of natural environment and even of people at times.
As is most often the case, the landscape of Corfu’s south shaped its history and later development. Notably it is home to one of the oldest Paleolithic communities discovered in Greece. In later years most traditional villages on the island developed on higher ground in order to protect themselves from pirates and other threats coming from the sea. The South, however, has a limited number of inhabitable heights. The villages of Chlomos and Agios Matheos are fine examples of Corfiot village living in the south. For the rest houses tend to be smaller, further apart and in some sense feel less permanent than in the north.
The South of Corfu Island is collectively appreciated for its many and seemingly endless golden sand beaches. Isos Beach, Santa Barbara, St George South, Marathias are but the most commonly known. Long stretches of flatter lands with a much dryer environment are enjoyed by many free campers and hot sun lovers. Famous for its crystal clear shallow waters this part of the island has also become the hang out for wind and kite surf aficionados. Cyclists, walkers and motor cross riders all fall for the seductive energy of the South.
Large areas of grape vines grown for commercially sold wine and less dense olive groves cared for in order to produce first class quality olive oil cover the landscape. There is indeed the feel of an ‘agricultural south’. Two areas of wetlands of considerable size one in Lefkimi and the other Korission Lagoon, are recognized for their environmental value by Attracting many types of bird and other small creatures they provide a haven for nature enthusiasts.
A bush size cedar tree covers a sand dune area the size of a small forest and is unique to only a couple of places in the world. Today the privately owned enterprise called BIOPOROS is open to the public as an example of agricultural style living in Corfu’s south. Their own organically grown products are served for lunch and dinner. Alonaki Taverna set beneath the shade of a thickly grown garden also offers freshly made Greek delicacies by the sea.
The southern end of this Ionian Island also provides easy access to Paxos and Antipaxos, the two islets that many fall for further south in the Ionian Sea. Ferryboats depart from the port of Lefkimi to the Greek mainland here as well. Whilst the purpose built holiday resort of Kavos, famous for loud music and unsightly entertainment, is to be avoided it should not be allowed to taint the powerful energy and rustic beauty of this less discovered holiday destination.
Overall the South feels more grounded and has a timeless quality that carries with it the energy of neighboring desert lands across the Mediterranean Sea. Time seems to turn even slower down here and the long setting sun melts deeply into the sea easily awakening our shamanic pasts.
Medieval castles, paleolithic caves and hill top monasteries speak of a land that has been lived on for centuries. A land that has been appreciated for its life giving value that resonates with a powerful and yet peaceful energy.
Should you wish to answer the seductive call of the south Ionian Eye studio flats in Messonghi provide independent style accommodation from which to set off and explore this lifetime adventure. Delfinia Hotels in Moraitika also offer the tranquillity of meditative gardens and a catered for holiday providing an easier approach to this part of Corfu Island. Both are privately owned Corfiot businesses with a vision to preserve the island’s natural beauty whilst maintaining a life style that speaks of respect and inner wholeness.

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