05 July 2007


I have been told off in no uncertain terms for inventing friends (especially the lady kind) and social events about which the Rat Pack knows nothing and to which they never seem to be invited.

Well, I can't help it if they're too classy to slum it hence never get to mix with the Corfiot under-class.


So, to distant Barbati for one of my mythical lunches, but I arrive too early for polite company and decide to drive down to the beach and observe the Polloi at play.

As usual, blessed are the couturiers, who also get parking privileges.

view of house from beach 

My destination is that invisible red-roofed villa on the horizon but too small to make out in blog. They are no doubt on the patio with their flutes of champagne, going:

"Oh God, look at the unwashed masses down there." Perhaps I should wave.


Pantokrator looking magnificent and I almost feel like swapping my lunch bib for hardy shorts and 'sensible' shoes and just driving upwards. At that altitude, the villagers are not used to lone wanderers and will happily set out bread and cheese and olives and press on you a carafe of their rough local wine.

At 906 metres/2970 feet, Pantokrator is the island's highest peak. It's meant to be popular with walkers but I hardly meet any at the dizzy heights I prefer.

From the monastery atop the mountain, the view is stunning:

  • The coast of Epiros and Albania
  • Lake Butrint and the small islands of Othoni
  • Erikoussa and Mathraki to the north west of Corfu
  • South, the hills of Lefkimmi, the island of Paxos
  • In the far distance, Kefalonia

    It defines mountain terrain and is dotted with abandoned villages, such as Old Perithia which in fact boasts several good restaurants during tourist season. It's a famous treat to drive visiting pals up up and away and then reach this barren spot and walk a bit and then voila! In the midst of nowhere, a cosy taverna with the patron beckoning you in and drawing you towards the kitchen to inspect the day's offerings. Magic.

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