Sunday, 31 July 2011

A new video shot in Corfu Town

  This is the new video clip of the greek pop/rnb group Nigma shot in location around Corfu Town last month. Almost all members of the band are from Corfu and they are quite famous in Greece. 
  The locations appear in the video are the following: Liston, Campiello and the terrace next to Aktain café. 

Thursday, 28 July 2011

The La Grotta cove and the view from Bella Vista

  One of the most enchanting spots in the island is the little cove near Paleokastritsa, called "La Grotta" ("cave" in italian") where a beach bar stands there since the 60s. The bar seems to be built between the rocks from which brave swimmers use to dive. The place is usually packed with holiday groups and the music is playing loud. The establishment is open until late at night so you can have an exotic cocktail overlooking the illuminated bay down below.

A short video with the panorama from "La Grotta":

  Few kilometres up the mountainous road to Krini, there is another wonderful spot offering breathtaking views. It is called "Bella Vista" (italian for "good view"). There are no words to describe the views you get from up there. The endless blue of the Ionian sea is extending below as well as the hills and the coves of Paleokastritsa. At the right, Aggelokastro can be easily spotted looking as a sleepless guard of the passage to the Adriatic sea while at the opposite direction the Old Fortress with Corfu town below it can be seen at a distance.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Some panoramic night time views from the "Off Town" café

  The "Off-Town" café is located after Pyrgi on the foothills of Pantokrator range. It is known for its breathtaking views towards Ipsos, Ag. Deka and Corfu Town. Especially during the night, the views are even more magnificent as the island is lit up. Definately deserves a visit and don't forget to bring the camera with you!

The neon sign at the entrance

View towards Govino Bay
View towards Kommeno Bay
Towards Dassia
Another Ipsos panorama

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Kommeno bay in the dusk

  Kommeno bay is one of the most picturesque and affluent places in the island. It's 10 km far from Corfu Town. I visited the famous early 18th-century little church of Ypapanti  at the bay which site reminds me a bit of Vlacherna church in Kanoni. The warm day and full moon resulted in a colourful pink/red dusk making that night magical. 

Friday, 15 July 2011

Liapades beach in the sunset

     Corfu's west coast is known for its sunsets. Yesterday I hit the west coast in search of it and I ended up in Liapades, a coastal village close to Paleokastritsa. Unfortunately, the sun was setting more northenly hidden behind the mountains but I achieved to take some vividly coloured photos of the beach at sunset time.  
     Here are some of them. Click to enlarge.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

The early 18th century map of Corfu Town

  This is a quite famous Corfu Town map dating back from the early 1700s and it is one of the most accurate as well. Though nobody knows who engraved it, it is rich in detail giving us an idea of how the town looked back then.

click to enlarge

  Looking at the map, we can easily note that there is not Liston, nor Palace, as both are edifices built in the 19th century. The Esplanade didn't look quite like today, it had no trees, no cricket course - a church, a "loggia" (place where gathered the venetian noble families) and a windmill (denoted as "molino" on the map) were the prominent future of this undeveloped then open space, being a part of the town's defense system.
  The walls and the fortresses looked rigid. Inside the Old Fortress more buildings stood, housing many families while the New one should have been no very different than today. San Rocco and Garitsa were the two suburbs. San Rocco was built on the road which started at Porta Reala (Royal Gate) and led to the northern side of the island.
  The newest parts of town didn't existed. Town was surrounded by its walls which provided protection from the invaders and from the pirates. 

Friday, 8 July 2011

Villa Rosa is falling apart...everyday!

Villa Rosa is a symbolic building of 19th century Corfu. It was started to be constructed in 1864 by Nikos Aspiotis a skilled painter. As he became rich, he started to build the villa on the plot of land he bought. Later he and his family expanded it and it became their permanent home. In 1873, Nikos Aspiotis funded with 7,000 british pounds the business of his son, Gerasimos who founded a small playing card factory. That kind of industry was unique at the time in Greece. The scetches on the cards had been designed by Nikos Aspiotis himself. The business was profitable and in 1901, the year that Gerasimos Aspiotis died, it passed to his sons, Konstantinos and Nikolaos. Konstantinos Aspiotis was a bright and progressive man who until his death, tried to adopt every novelty of his era. He brought to Corfu the first car in 1905 and later on the first radio and two-seating bicycle. He was Corfiot Automobile company manager and he brought Corfu's first bus in 1912. Much later he begun to construct the big printing factory in Avramiou street, in where most of the card postals, greek stamps and lottery coupons had been printed. His wife was Aspasia Marketi, daughter of Nikolaos Marketis who served as a local member of parliament. They had three kids, Amalia, Gerasimos and Mary Aspiotis. The parties given in the villa were big social events, even members of the greek royal family attended them.
  In 1997 the property was bought by the greek state. Since then, it is left to its own luck, collapsing day by day. The villa's condition is apalling...the tiles had gone, the basement is flooded and the precious furnitures have been left to rot. In the year 2006, the descentants of the Aspiotis family sued the greek state and demanded that the furnitures should be returned to them. The court denied, claiming that if they do so, those rare pieces will be destroyed. As a result of this decision, all the pieces are gone as they had been stealed.

Below, there are two videos about the property's history (in greek).

Sunday, 3 July 2011

George Cardamis: one of the most famous jazz musicians of Greece was Corfiot

  A pioneer of jazz in Greece, George Cardamis became famous in the late 40s and through the 50s as a clarinet and sax alto soloist. Born in Corfu, he was involved in music from a very early age playing the violin.
  He arrived in Athens in his 20s and soon after the war he formed his own band working at the best night clubs of Athens attracting the Athenian elite who would go to the clubs "to listen to Cardamis " the same way nowadays they go to clubs to listen to famous singers.
  Indeed it seems incredible that a musician who had never travelled abroad, had developped such a refine sound and attitude just from the sounds of the vinyl he was exposed to!
  Besides his fame as a superb exponent of jazz clarinet and sax, he also composed several pop hits of his era in swing-bolero-rumba-mambo-tango fashion. Among his hits are the swing songs "S'ehasa ma ego den se ksexasa" (1948) "Irthes" 'Pos thelo na se kano diki mou" (1951), "Oloi mas zilevoun" (1945) etc, as well as his great bolero hit "Giati na se latrevo toso" (1950)
  George continued performing with his own band till the late 60's, a period when bouzouki music had started getting the attention of the middle and high class societies in Greece becoming the "in" thing. As a result, musicians who played the horns and the clarinet gradually found themselves without jobs due to the lack of demand. Most of them had to give up their main instrument and force to play the guitar or the bass guitar.
George followed the same trend and in the 70s made the transition from a bandleader and clarinet-sax player to solo piano performer at some well-known hotels like Hilton and Divani.
  After that transition he did not seek publicity but most importantly he did not merge into the new style of music that was spreading. As he used to say: "They are taking us back to cantades (traditional songs, popular in the ionian islands)..
  His love for music and especially for jazz, was immense - a musician who remained faithful to the music he loved and of which he was a great exponent.
   As he was not seeking publicity, he didn't merged with the new trends in music and as a result of it, he has not yet been recognised in Greece for who he was and for what he offered in the local jazz scene.
"Yesterdays" comes from his weekly live radio program in the early 50s called " The George Cardamis Sextet ". The video below is a rare document, uploaded by the son of the composer.

*Bio courtesy of Spiros Cardamis, son of the composer

- An earlier post featuring Cardamis "Nostalgia", a song commemorating the 1943 german bombings in Corfu: