Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Forgotten Corfu 12: The Blondel house in Garitsa, built on the site of a little known catholic monastery

  This neoclassical mansion in Georgian colonial style was built during the british protection by a british man named Blondel at the point where Marasli meets the coastal Mitropolitou Athanasiou street.
   Blondel built the villa in the middle of an exotic garden which had many kinds of trees and plants. He did not hesitate to plant quite a few weird trees of the citrus family (Rutaceae), native to Australia and non-edible. Two or three of these rare trees, remnants of Blondel gardens, are still being preserved in the Garitsa coastal park, just opposite the building. Some of the locals can remember students from the nearby high school (now moved to another site) playing with the massive yellow-green fruits. Corfu's lover, Felicity Baxter, indicated that these trees are unique throughout Europe. Two identical trees exist in the courtyard of the old British Government House in Gaios, Paxos. 

Detail from an 18th century map showing the monastery of S. Giustina 
  On the same site that Blondel's villa was built, the catholic monastery of Santa Giustina (Santa Gioustina) could be found. The monastery was built to honor Santa Giustina, whose memory is honored by the Western Church in October 7, the day when in 1571 the united christian fleet won the ottoman one in the battle of Nafpaktos (Lepanto). The monastery is being considered the oldest naval hospital after that founded in Livorno, Italy in 1570 and was used to hospitalise those who took part in the battle of Nafpaktos. 


The villa in the early 80s with the façade exposed
  Today the pink villa is squezed by the modern neighbouring apartment blocks, hiding its ornamental façade.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

This year's first autumn storm - September 19th

  The hot sunny morning gave no indication of what was to follow during the night. As the winds picked up and turned southern, it was obvious that the first autumn rain were approaching coming from Africa. The storm was accompanied by extravagant lightnings which provoked a temporary power outage in many parts of the island and leaving Corfu's airport in the dark for almost two hours. Enjoy a few minutes video of this spectacular storm as seen from the balcony of the famous cafeteria in Kanoni.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

An interesting documentary about Corfu's 1943 bombardment

  On 14 September 1943, Corfu was bombarded by the Luftwaffe; these bombing raids destroyed churches, homes, whole city blocks, especially in the Jewish quarter Evraiki, and a number of important buildings, such as the Ionian Parliament, the Municipal Theatre, the Municipal Library and others. The next day, Corfu Town looked different...there were ruins and smoke all over the place, the shocked locals still hidden in their shelters...
   Corfu had been bombarded without remorse, being the greek town that had been the most damaged by the nazi germans - I dare to relate this event to the notorious London blitz in 1940-41. The current german state refuse to compasate us for the extensive damage provoked by them - will they ever pay? This is an interesting video (in greek) narrating all these events from the local's point of view. It features some rare footage as well.

- A song which commemorates all these tragic events, composed by corfiot musician George Kardamis:

Monday, 12 September 2011

A video promoting Corfu's beauties

  Here is a wonderful video promoting the beauties of our island. From the sandy beaches of the west to the town at the east, Corfu is full of colour and diversity.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Improvement in the so called "Mayor's steps"

  You may think that Corfu nowadays look rather messy and little is done to improve its appearence. In fact, there is something done by the local port authority to improve the area which belongs to the organisation's juridiction. 
  So last month they layed traditional corfiot plaques on the previously cemented pier colloquially known as "I skála tu dhimárchu" ("Mayor's steps"). 

  Now the pier is looking better. This spot popular with fishermen now looks more human and warm. It suits more to the area's traditional character and it could look even better if they put some stainless/ stone benches on it.  

  I should congratulate Corfu's Port Authority for this initiative and I hope soon more actions will be taken to impove our beautiful coastal areas.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Abba's "Mamma Mia" performed by Philharmonic Society of Corfu junior band

Last month Philharmonic Society of Corfu junior band gave a concert at the square on the front of St. Spyridon church (colloquially known as "Plakada tou Agiou"). They played a selection of easy listening music which demonstrated that these young musicians have talent. Here is a video with the band performing the famous "Mamma Mia" song by Abba.

Copyright: CorfuWeb (Spyros Margaritis)

Monday, 5 September 2011

A classic Routemaster London bus in Corfu Town

  The Routemaster doubledecker bus is one of the symbols of London. This type of bus was first introduced in 1956 and had been produced until 1968 but in 2005 the last ones had been drawn off and replaced by bendy buses. 

  A local english language school brought an original bendy bus in town for a week to advertise its english classes. The beautiful red bus was placed next to the old venetian fountain at the Esplanade. 

  From the very first day, our british visitor drew the attention of the passerbys who enjoyed their evening stroll.

  Do you think that Corfu's narrow streets and architecture could accomondate buses of this type?