corfu

CORFU IN 5 SENSES…BY APHRODITE

I was not born here in Corfu. I come from Greek parents who emigrated to Canada in the early 60s. My parents raised me to be passionate about life.

To feel laughter in my belly, to hunger for my mother’s luscious Greek recipes, to get excited when visitors arrived, to listen to Greek music while my aunts and uncles danced in the living room. To love to travel. All my senses were awakened by these experiences.

I often visited the island as a child with my parents and sister. My father owned a property in Barbati, a lovely house with gardens so close to the beach. Winter seemed to be just the time until my next holiday to Corfu.

Then as a young adult, on one of these infamous vacations, I met and later married a Corfiot who enticed me to make the huge decision to leave what I knew as a great life in Canada and fly thousands of miles across the ocean to live in my holiday fun place, permanently.

20 some years later I think back to the time I made the choice to come to Corfu forever. I grew up in a somewhat different lifestyle, in a continent across the sea and I often get asked the question whether I have ever regretted my decision to come to this island to live.

My answer is definitely….

NEVER

And my 5 senses will tell you why……

Corfu in 5 senses

TOUCH

A memory I have strongly in my mind is the moments we would arrive at my house in Barbati. My Corfiot family and friends would always be excitedly awaiting to greet us. It was hugs and kisses all over the place.

This delightful feeling that you were really missed by a strong but warm embrace or a sloppy kiss on both cheeks from loved ones is something that characterizes the Greeks.

Another thought that comes to mind when I think of my sense of touch in Corfu is the feeling of the crystal, clear water on my body as I slowly enter the sea. How refreshing! I think I have tingling goosebumps on my skin already just thinking about it.

Corfu in 5 senses

TASTE

My mother and father taught me to eat good food. There was no fighting about whether I would be tasting something new or not. I was expected to eat it all. My taste buds were trained to appreciate every Greek flavor in the book.

Living in Corfu has reminded me of how lucky I am to be able to enjoy fresh local produce. There is nothing like biting into a wonderfully ripe tomato from your garden in the summer. Or the taste of “Horta”, edible wild leafy greens, growing under the olive trees in the groves. With a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon, this dish is the epitome of healthy eating.

The flavor of traditional sauces and “Pites”, pies, made with fresh products and the hand of a “Giagia”, grandmother, is always unforgettable. These thoughts spark a smile on my face every time.

The taste of local village wine. I always heartedly laugh when I am welcomed in someone’s home and served from their own barrels. Every proud village winemaker will claim they have made the best wine of all and you will not get away without a taste of it. It just makes you feel like part of the family.

I salivate just contemplating all the gorgeous tastes and flavors in Corfu. Olive oil from your own groves, Greek coffee or ouzo in the local Cafeneion, Pastitsada cooked by your aunty, fresh fish delivered regularly by the fisherman and so much more….

Corfu in 5 senses

SMELL

You will never forget breathing in Corfu air. Every season is different.

The Winter has a distinct smell of the clouds. You just know when rain is coming. Also, the smell of wood-burning in fireplaces and warming every household sends off feelings of comfort and bliss.

The Spring is delightful. Sweet smells of blooming wildflowers and the grass that grows at speeding rates. Even the sunrise smells different suddenly. It awakens every sleeping muscle in your body.

The Summer smells of glorious fun. The salt in the sea smells, the heat smells, even the people smell happy, if that even makes any sense, the wafts of yummy food coming out of the open kitchen windows. These are summer smells.

Autumn brings you back to nature. Walks in the mountain paths allow you to smell the wet soil and decomposing leaves. It reminds you of the beauty of rural life.

Corfu in 5 senses

SOUND

I believe this sense is most prominent for me of Corfu’s memories and sensations. Where to begin?  Just to name a few, the sound of sparrows and swallows in their nests, stray cats outside of your window, children playing in the “Platies”, village squares, sounds of philharmonic bands playing in the cobblestone roads of Old Town, church bells ringing on holidays, interesting old tales from villagers who’ve lived in harder but memorable times, hums of ships docking at the port.

I could go on and on.

Corfu in 5 senses

SIGHT

I left this sense for last because seeing is believing.

How many colors could I tell you I see every day? How many hues of green in the mountain? How many blue, pink, orange or grey in the beautiful sky? Do you know how many shades of blue the sea can have? I drive down the mountain and I always remember to stop to take it all in. I wonder if those who were born here, and this is the sight they saw every day, do they take it for granted?

I cannot express how lucky I feel to wake up and see this view every day from my balcony.

ONE MORE SENSE

I would like to cheat a little and add one more “sense”. Each sense is felt by various parts of the human body but all are run by the main organ – the heart….

I feel ardent LOVE for Corfu. It is the combination of all my 5 senses put together. These words are only a fraction of what I feel. You only know if you’ve embraced, savored, scented, listened, and seen fascinating Corfu.

Corfu in 5 senses
SUNSET ON CORFU …
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9 Comments

  • Richard Coates

    Aphrodite…that is such a lovely,wonderful,heartwarming and truly inspirational boost…a huge boost and shot of inspiration to return to my favourite Island very soon. You showed me round some houses last November…in Spartilas and Porta…I’m still determined to find my dream bolt hole and will be over to Corfu just as soon as the travel restrictions are lifted.
    Spring is here on the Isle of Man too….lovely warm(ish!) days with all the new growth and flowers…..but this is my favourite time to be in Corfu…and your lovely article on senses was so welcome…….I can’t wait to come back. I’ll be in touch again soon with my up to date wish list.
    Stay safe all of you and I look forward to meeting you again soon
    Kind regards,
    Richard Coates

    • Aphrodite

      Hello Richard,
      Thank you for your kind words. I’m glad this article helped boost your mood and that it left such nice feelings in your heart. I look forward to seeing you again when you manage to come back to Corfu and I am certain we will find you the perfect home.

  • Thalia Ladovrechis

    This is such a beautiful story that should be published. Written so nice! Congratulations my beautiful daughter and although
    I am so far away, Not a single day passes without me thinking of you and not missing you. I wanted you to be near me to be able to hug you and kiss you but I am comforted that you are happy with your life in Corfu. It is definitely a beautiful island. My live

  • Susan Wehrli

    Brilliant.
    Beautiful words Aphrodite.
    We need people like you to detail how life is ever changing on this island.
    People who can re-tell times gone past, who can relay long told stories before they disappear, who can keep the history of this wonderful place alive in our minds.
    So much has “changed/moved on” even in the short time we’ve been here. No longer do we see old ladies sitting together crocheting (some even in traditional dress). We’ve lost a lot of Kafenions where only local men (never women) would sit for hours over a coffee or an ouzo putting the world to right, these are now mostly touristy. Donkeys carrying kindling for the fire are now a very rare sight.
    I remember you visiting Barbati when you were young, and I hope you keep writing about this beautiful place so we don’t forget and more importantly don’t take it for granted.
    My love to you and your family – stay healthy xx💙🇬🇷

  • Paul

    What a beautiful write-up. I miss Corfu so much, I have plans to settle there in a few years time. This post has only encouraged me to pursue my dream further still. Thank you so much.

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