Off-season turns into the best time to visit

We arrived to a quiet Corfu – ahead of the beach season, ahead of other tourists. Some shuttered shops and restaurants had not yet opened. We knew that would soon change when we saw repairs underway and paint being applied as the days turned warmer. Anticipation was in the air. The first week we spent wandering and observing the narrow lanes of the Old Town, our new neighborhood.

A very thin strip of a park in full bloom diverted our attention from the sea just meters away.

On a good weather day we decided to walk to the British Cemetery and that is when we discovered the glories of Corfu in the spring.

First, we wondered how the British came to have such a high profile in Corfu.   After the Napoleonic Wars in 1815, Corfu became a British protectorate. After a rocky relationship that lasted only 50 years, Corfu left Britain and joined the kingdom of Greece. Still, it seemed the British had not entirely left. Tourism from the UK remained high and many Brits have made Corfu their home. Probably the most famous British residents were the Durrell family, the subject of the popular TV series, “The Durrells in Corfu.Lawrence and Gerald Durrell went on to become well-known authors.

The British Cemetery dates back to 1814 and became the Anglican final resting place on Corfu.

Almost all of the gravestones recorded deaths of people under 30 years of age from the 19th century. Still, it was a very peaceful place.

Some flowers had been planted but wildflowers appeared here and there. We read later that 30 species of orchids can be found in the Cemetery.

We planned to return and see how many we could find. Now the search was on. How many wildflowers could we see and photograph on the island? What a delightful prospect!

Another day, with cameras ready, we headed for Mon Repos. As we approached, we walked on a narrow sidewalk by a high stone wall and there, at eye level, we were delighted to see a profusion of wildflowers.

What could be a more perfect place for wildflower photography? We’d never seen a summer asphodel before (asphodelus aestivus). When we researched this plant we discovered its connection with the underworld in Greek mythology.

White ramping-fumitory (fumaria capreolata) was a new one for us and rather difficult to photograph with its soft white edges.

Finally we saw Mon Repos through the trees. The house was built in 1828 on a promontory over the sea.

Mon Repos became a summer residence for the Greek royal family and was the birthplace of Prince Philip, now Duke of Edinburgh, in 1921. The property is now owned by Greece.

Clearly, springtime on Corfu is the perfect time to look for wildflowers and the weather is ideal for long walks. What might be off-season for some turned into the right season for us. On our daily strolls we pulled out our cameras and started a new photo collection – the wildflowers of Corfu. What better souvenir to remember our visit to the island? This was truly an unexpected find.

 

March 2018

About simpletravelourway

Beth and Joe enjoy simple travel.
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11 Responses to Off-season turns into the best time to visit

  1. No holiday makers – perfect.

  2. All that fun and cool weather to boot! Perfect.

    • We started the month long visit wearing jackets. A week or so later – with warmer temperatures – we only needed sweaters. By the last week we ate our gelato in the warm sunshine in just shirtsleeves. It never got “hot” and we were happy with that!

  3. Thanks for the quick history of Corfu – it looks beautiful! I love traveling during the off-season to avoid the crowds of (other) tourists and spending the high season at home. The weather may not be ideal but having a piece of paradise to explore at your leisure looks like my idea of perfection! Anita

  4. This sounds like a wonderful way to spend the days and how nice to have it to yourself too.

  5. It looks and sounds lovely. Thank you for sharing.

  6. taphian says:

    beautiful place

  7. plaidcamper says:

    I wouldn’t want to visit in high summer, too many visitors, but early spring Corfu looks and sounds wonderful – lovely wildflowers!

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