Again cloudless, warm start to the Friday. Wished the couple from Llanelli ‘Bore da’ at the WiFix taverna and had a another good chat with them before ambling back to the supermarket to buy water and had a long chat with an English girl who married a local guy and settled here nearly a quarter of a century ago. A very sociable and enjoyable start to the day but it meant I didn’t set out for a walk until turned 11.00. Not a problem.
The plan for the day was a coast-to-coast walk. Not quite Wainwright but my modest alternative. It seemed a good idea because it used the only footpath I have found near Boukaris and went to Chlomos, the attractive historic hilltop village I walked to on Wednesday, and then down to the west coast for a swim before walking back via an alternative route. And indeed it was very enjoyable.
The walk to Chlomos was just as enjoyable as the last time as was the sandwich and bottle of cold water in the taverna at the top. The only way down to the west coast from there seemed to be via the very windy road and in fact the rest of the walk was on roads of different kinds.
It was hard going on the feet and there was little breeze but nonetheless enjoyable because of the different perspectives which it offered.
For a start it looked northwards up the long narrow ‘lake’ viewed from the top of the mountain on Thursday. It is separated from the sea only by a low, very narrow hillock which seemed to be composed mainly of sand.
The road also passed an olive grove which seemed to have been set on fire with blackened stumps left behind. I wondered if this was an attempt to prepare the land for building development. The olive groves on the mainland around Parga, on Paxos and here on Corfu are not viable on a commercial scale because the trees are so big that the harvest is necessarily very labour intensive. Apparently there has also been a disease which has attacked the trees and rendered the olives of poor quality for making into oil. Both of these factors could explain the large number of olive groves which have ‘For Sale’ signs on them, some of them on sale by English language development companies.
I headed for a place called Alissos Beach which was a good decision. It turned out to be a sunbed-and-umbrella beach but actually very pleasant. The beach taverna at the back of the sunbeds was very civilised with armchairs, sofas and hammocks under shade or partial shade to suit, and it was very reasonably priced. The beach is a few miles long and the alternative to Alissos further to the south looked far too overdeveloped for my taste. Again a different perspective on the Greece I know.
I swam a long way straight out from the beach as there was no headland or point to aim for and as the shore receded thought to myself that if I kept swimming I would finish up in Italy. In fact I was only a few hundred metres offshore but the red T-shirt I had put on the back of my sunbed as a marker was a small dot. Maybe it just seemed small because I didn’t have my specs on and my astigmatism makes everything in the vertical plane shrink. But a sense of satisfaction.
Then a climb up the low hillock which is in fact made up of slabs of very friable sedimentary rock with sand drifted up onto it so that from a distance it looks like dunes. Once again a very different perspective on the island.
A caffeine fix with a frappé on one of the sofas outside the taverna and then back along the road, this time trudging the main road to Agriades, an inland village which was more traditional than tourist. The turning I was looking for seemed a long time in coming once I was in the village so I asked a guy outside a garage who was more than pleased to help with directions and chat about where I was from and what I was doing. I was in fact only a short distance from my turning and then it was 40 minutes back to Boukari and the hotel.
I haven’t banged on about it because I don’t want to do the country down but there are many examples of a very slack attitude towards what might be called municipal cleanliness. One such presented itself very vividly as I reached the top of a hill before dropping down to the attractive Neohoraki (New Small Village) o the final leg of the route to Boukari. There are no door-to-door rubbish collections around here. Instead there are large communal skips many of which are overflowing and stinking. Judge for yourself.
A great day. Some 22 kms and 7 hours altogether including half an hour in the taverna at Chlomos and 2 hours on the beach. Very enjoyable.