A Snapshot Through Gerald Durrell's Corfu

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Looking north from an olive grove near the Snow-White and Strawberry-Pink Villas. The sea and mainland Greece are off-picture to the East (on the right).

1. Foreground - silhouetted olive and a cypress trees on the hillside near the Snow-White Villa and (a little way away) Strawberry-Pink Villa.

2. Modern residential and commercial development in Perama.

3. The Chessboard Fields. The Snow-White Villa was on a hillside "overlooking a great flat area marked out like a gigantic chess board by irrigation ditches, which I knew as the Chessboard Fields." (See also My Family and Other Animals, Chapter 17 The Chessboard Fields)

4. Lake Halikiopoulos - a lagoon which opens into the sea just off-picture to the right (east) where Mouse Island (Pontikonissi) & The Bay of Olives are to be found.

5. Modern Corfu airport.

6a & 6b. Corfu Town. The old town (Saint Spiridion's Church and Platia - Liston), esplanade and port, Venetian forts on the sea-front and Kanoni (Spiros House) are just off-picture to the right (east) of 6b. Just slightly above 6b the green "tiny islet lying off the town Corfu" known as Vido(s) can be made out. Vidos was once a prison island (Again see My Family and Other Animals, Chapter 17 The Chessboard Fields).

7. Gouvia  (or Govino) Bay - widely curving coastline beyond Corfu Town. Barbati is to be found inland from the coast here on the lower slopes of  Mount Pantokrator.

8. The approximate position of the Daffodil-Yellow Villa  on a rise overlooking the sea at Kontokali, beyond Corfu town on the wide curve of the coast called Gouvia (or Govino) Bay.  

9. The "dead lands rise sheer" to Mount Pantokrator (3000 feet high). Kalami, and towards Lawrence Durrell's 1930's sea-front home, The White House, located just off-picture between the lower slopes of Mount Pantokrator and the sea to the right.

10. Looking roughly towards the north Corfu coast and Lake Antiniotissa (The Lake of Lillies) and towards the north-east, to the narrow sea channel separating Corfu from Albania. Visible in the very far distance, beyond the sea, the "Tibetan-looking" snow-capped mountains of Albania can just be made out.

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"The island lies like a strange, misshapen dagger in the blue lonian Sea, midway along the Greek and Albanian coastlines.

In the past, it has fallen into the hands of a dozen different nations, from all of which it has absorbed what it found good and rejected the rest, thus keeping its individuality. Unlike so many parts of Greece, it is green and lush, for when it was part of the Venetian empire they used it as their oil store, planting thousands of olive trees, so that now the bulk of the island is shaded by these carunculated giants with their wigs of silvery-green leaves. Between them run the admonishing fingers of black-green cypress, many planted in groves as dowries. All this creates a mystical landscape, bathed in sharp brittle sunlight, orchestrated by the knife-grinder song of the cicadas, framed in the blue, still sea. Of all the wonderful and fascinating parts of the planet I have been privileged to visit, Corfu is the nearest approach to home for me, since it was here, nurtured in sunlight, that my fascination for the living world around me came to fruition.

HOW TO SHOOT AN AMATEUR NATURALIST © Gerald Durrell 1984.

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