25 February 2014

As usual, where is Greece?

Law 4146, passed last year, provides for the issue of a five-year Greek residence permit to non-EU nationals who own properties valued at 250,000 euros or more or have signed contracts for a lease of at least a decade for hotels or other types of tourism accommodation valued at the same amount. The permit can be renewed for another five years and also covers family members. Such permits have already been issued to Chinese, US and Canadian nationals, as well as Russians and Ukrainians'.

This permit has been available since last year in Greece. It has also been available in other countries such as Portugal (with a higher threshold amount) and yet if you look through the various property portals such as Rightmove they extol the advantages of 'the Portuguese Golden Visa' with not a mention of Greece.

A similar situation occurs regularly in tourism - a recent airline advert in the UK says 'Spain or Turkey' and a listing of places recommended to buy property, where you would actually like to live again does not even mention Greece.  I know we have our problems, doesn't everywhere, but that seems ridiculous given the number of people who do want to buy here.

Are we the worst country in the world at publicising the advantages of our country? Tourist Board - what tourist board?

24 February 2014

Spring in Corfu

I love driving home from work watching the seasons change - almond blossom is now in bloom and the bright yellow of acacia trees brightens the landscape. Smoke lazily rises from the chimney pots of the villages I drive past and bonfires burn here and there as the local farmers prepare their land for planting spring vegetables. It is wonderful to be able to watch the smoke without the fear that we all feel in the summer when smoke only means one thing - a forest fire with the potential to cause a huge amount of damage.

20 February 2014

Spring is on the way!

I wish that I could write an audio blog. Just been out on the upstairs terrace before going to bed, and there is a light breeze blowing a faint scent of wood smoke and hyacinth, a squashed moon on the wane, and the most amazing background buzz of hundreds of frogs way down in the valley below. This morning our alpha male dog was getting frisky with the newly acquired stray - even though he is male too, the almond trees are in full blossom and the days are growing longer.

6 February 2014

Corfu acquires new territory

Many of our clients ask us not only to find properties to buy, but also to make recommendations for properties for them to rent for their holidays. We also we have holiday villas which we advertise for rental. One of the major holiday rental sites allows you to search by area, so for one of our clients I searched Agios Stefanos and came up with this. And this one in Kassiopi. The only problem with them is that they are both actually in Albania.

I am sure they are very nice, but when I think how often our own clients get confused about locations, it does make me wonder if anyone not familiar with Corfu takes advantage of a bargain price and finds that they are not exactly where they thought they would be!

4 February 2014

Spot the owl

I'm definitely never going to make a wildlife photographer, but believe me, on the lower branch on the left of the olive tree is an owl.

Walking around the garden I noticed some owl pellets under the tree and looking carefully up I spotted the one owl in my photo. What I didn't realise was that there were about fifteen more of his family in the tree too, who flew away in all directions far too fast for a photo.

The owl definitely had ears which were quite noticeable, so I think it was either a Scops or a Long Eared owl; I will look more closely next time I'm near that tree.