25 April 2014

Driving through a cloud

I know they say its a good idea to view property in the rain so that you see it at its worst, but today's viewing was taking this to the extreme.

Susan and I set off with our clients on a carefully planned route, starting with Spartilas, going over the top to Episkepsis, then down, along and up to Loutses. We could see that Spartilas was in cloud as we drove along Ipsos bay, and as we drove up the windy Spartilas road it did get a bit thick, necessitating headlights. We viewed the house, promised our clients that there is normally a lovely view, and then set off for Episkepsis.

Coming out of the upper end of Spartilas we hit a wall of fog so thick that we really couldn't see further than about three or four metres! Too dangerous to continue, we decided not to go any further, so turned round and headed back down the mountain.

This photo is taken about half way down, when the fog was a lot clearer!

22 April 2014

Easter Visitor

After our Easter lamb lunch we were looking out of the window to some trees just outside our land when we saw two large bright yellow birds. Rushing to find binoculars, we are pretty sure that we’ve identified them as Golden Orioles, migrating here from Asia. They are big birds, about the size of a small pigeon, but their colour makes them quite unmistakable, and they have a lovely song, something like a thrush. I’ve never seen them before, but will be keeping my eyes and ears open from now on. 

20 April 2014

Good Friday in Corfu

We all know it is supposed to be gloomy on Good Friday - funeral marches are played by the bands and sad songs accompany them and the lamps on The Liston are coloured in mourning purple especially for this day. Yesterday, however, the weather decided to join in! We were treated to sudden downpours, temperatures colder than at Christmas and several epitaphio processions were cancelled altogether. Nothing daunted, we decided to head into Corfu Town and having circled several times searching for a parking spot managed to find one on the side of the road within a reasonable walking distance of the centre. The rain held off - I really don't know how anyone would have managed to open an umbrella in the crush, so it is just as well it wasn't necessary. There were hoards of people, standing patiently in the main on the sides of the streets as the various church processions wound their way, criss-crossing through the back streets and returning to their starting points. The photograph is taken on The Liston - with apologies to the people who have been included in the picture - I kept trying to take a general scene, but someone always walked into view.

17 April 2014

Foreign buyers attracted to Corfu

This is a recent article from a property analysis group:
Corfu’s position as a high end recreation destination means that its property market has proved resilient when set against the markets of mainland Greece, according to a new analysis from real estate firm Savilles.

Prices are down by around 30% from their former highs in the desirable north eastern coast of the Greek island, but this is much less than falls in excess of 50% in mainland cities.

The analysis suggests that the market seems to have bottomed out so good deals are on offer. However, it points out that demand is selective and turnkey properties are favoured, while the market for building plots has all but disappeared.

British, German and French buyers account form most of the purchases and most sellers are Greeks. The recent introduction of a golden visa programme is anticipated to generate interest from Chinese and Russian buyers in particular.

I have to say that's not exactly our experience, although certainly the market here in Corfu has not suffered as much from the economic crisis as mainland Greek cities. The best properties in seaside locations are still in demand. Also we do have requests for new builds, since many buyers really want to be a part of the design and creation of their new homes, and with reliable professionals, they can achieve this.

15 April 2014

Speaking of not choosing your dogs in Corfu....

Susan's not the only wondering how we all end up with extra members of the family, generally unintentionally. Years ago we always had Labradors, then when our last one had died we decided not to have another dog, until a friend begged a home for a 'sweet little puppy, one of 11 needing a home'. So of course we took the one with the biggest feet, who turned into a donkey-sized, one dog destruction force. 

Seven years on he has cancer and was living quietly and peacefully for however long he has left. Until one day there was a little Lab sitting outside the gate. I fed her and hoped she had a home to go to. Two days later she was still around so I gave in and she moved in.

The first few days she was quiet and shy, too good to be true of course. The photo shows the current happy family, old sick dog has reverted to puppyhood, little Lab has gained her confidence, and our house looks like the aftermath of a cyclone! None of this was planned; as Susan says, we don't pick our dogs, they just happen to us!

It's a Wisteria tree!

We spotted this unusual tree on the way to the office – it’s a Wisteria Tree! Usually seen as a rampant creeper, the wisteria has completely overcome the tree underneath it and now appears to be a tree in its own right.

It’s beautiful, perfect for this time of year when Corfu is in full bloom and ready for the Easter celebrations.

Palm Sunday in Corfu Town

Balmy weather tempted crowds of people into Corfu Town to watch the annual procession of bands, schools and priests. It never ceases to amaze us how very many bands there are, from villages far and wide, each in their different coloured uniforms and carrying their incredibly shiny brass instruments (though there was one very battered trombone that had seen better days!).

I believe that this is one of the longest outings for our patron saint - Spiridon, after whom a hefty percentage of children are named (Spiros for the boys and Spiridoula for the girls).

The photo shows Aghios Spiridon in pride of place amidst the mass of priests. 

Holy Week begins, with the atmosphere slowly building towards its triumphal climax on Easter Saturday - there will be church services every day, and a selection of concerts throughout the week.