Sunday, December 18, 2011


'Christmas' came early for those of us who live in Corfu, Greece, with a totally unforeseen hailstorm a few days ago that turned the centre of town into a winter wonderland, with the streets, cars, trees and in fact everything covered in what looked like deep snow but was actually a thick layer of tightly packed hailstones, some the size of golf balls.
Today, Sunday, weather forecasters on TV and online, not to mention the local soothsayers, are warning us of 'extreme' weather conditions - it sounds even more dramatic in Greek -'akraia kairika phenomena'. I don't know what counts as extreme anymore - all weather seems to fall into that category now.
A white Christmas would be lovely, but remains unlikely, though snow can already be seen coating the hills and mountains of the  mainland opposite our shores.
It looks something like this: This was taken a few years ago, from a viewpoint above Kalami, looking towards Albania.

In 2006, the whole of Corfu was covered in snow, and parents took their kids out of school for the day to drive up Mt. Pantocrator to see it and to make little snowmen with which  to adorn the car bonnet. That is something I have always loved about Greeks - their ability to enjoy simple pleasures.

The snow made the view of Barbati look positively alpine, as you can see from the next photo:

Last year, we spent Christmas as a family on the Greek mainland, in the region called Zagoria. We crossed by ferry-boat from Corfu to Igoumenitsa and then drove on the stunning new Egnatia Highway to the town of Ioannina and on, up into the high mountains, to Zagoria. We stayed in an inn that reminded me of the great old film, 'The Inn of the Sixth Happiness - the buildings could easily have been located in China or Tibet, or indeed in any isolated mountain area - I was reminded too of the remote villages of the Engadin in Switzerland - and, yes, I will tell you about that trip too one day.
This year money is short for all of us and Christmas will be a more frugal affair, but there will still be some presents for the kids, some delicious food on the table, and some good company.
The beautiful Christmas tree, two metres tall now that we live in a house big enough to accommodate it, will be our symbol of hope for better days to come, a reminder of memorable past Christmases, and a testimony to the joy we feel as a united family.
In Greece, shops open on the last Sunday before Christmas (and New Year) to facilitate shopping. This year it is more like a desperate hope that it will encourage people to actually shop.One of my grand-daughters has just popped in to show me the results of her Christmas shopping with her mother - two pairs of pants (black of course) and no less than five books. Nice to see she is following in the family footsteps and turning into a bookworm!
More Christmas thoughts later this week!

1 comment:

  1. Lovely, Angela. Your talent grows and grows. Keep it up.
    Happy Christmas from one Granny to another.

    Susan D.


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