James Bond’s epic car chase in a Citroën 2CV in Corfu

One of the all time favourite James Bond movies, For Your Eyes Only, duration 127 minutes and directed by John Glen, was released on July 2nd 1981. Worldwide it made 195 million US dollars and effectively saved United Artists from financial ruin. When British actor Roger Moore – in 2003 knighted by Queen Elizabeth II – had become Sir Roger Moore he would clearly remember which car he liked best in the seven Bond movies he played in: “The Citroën 2CV was my favourite.”

So where did he drive the 2CV? Corfu was one of the primary locations in For Your Eyes Only. We see James Bond and Bond-girl Melina Havelock (French actress and model Carole Bouquet) in sceneries ranging from the Agios Spyridon church, the Old Fortress and the Mandraki marina in Corfu Town, to the Vlacherna monastery and Kanoni island, Danilia village, the Achilleion casino, and Agios Georgios beach. And the narrow, winding roads of course that turn the odd car chase into something else!

Yellow Citroën 2CV
Let’s watch Bond and Melina being chased and gunned at in a yellow – no, not a submarine – but a Citroën 2CV through the rough terrain of olive groves. They end up in the narrow streets of the village Pagoi (in Corfu’s hilly northwest, between Palaiokastritsa and Agios Georgios). Melina driving escapes from running straight into a bus by turning the car upside down, near a café. Bond to Melina: “Take the low road… not too low.”

Bystanders rush in to roll the car upright again and on goes the epic chase, now with 007 behind the wheel: “You don’t mind if I drive, do you?” Next thing we see is bus nr. 44 continue its journey to… Madrid – as this part of the movie story is taking place in Spain. (Are you still with me?)

Roger Moore (1927-2017) lived to be almost ninety years of age. Carole Bouquet (playing the character of Melina Havelock) was only 23 when the movie was shot, being thirty years his younger. She is acting to this day.

Spiros Bond 007 Café Bar
Want to visit the café opposite the spot where the famous yellow 2CV went upside down? Spiros Bond 007 Café Bar does not just provide a terrace with a (virtual) view of that spectacular film scene, inside you will find many photographs, posters and memorabilia reviving For Your Eyes Only. You will find the café (actually a restaurant as well) in Pagoi, on the provincial road Arkadades-Agios Georgios. Want to stir up your appetite and see the car chase (4min. 40 sec.)? Follow this link to YouTube.

The interior of the café, not ‘for your eyes only’

Corfu Animal Shelter: one important step nearer

Hope at last for the future of these strays

The  Municipal Council for Central Corfu & Diapontia Islands on December 2nd unanimously agreed to proceed with the plans for establishing an Animal Shelter on the island. 

The plan however to start this shelter for stray animals in a mansion donated by an individual (in Lakones, near Palaiokastritsa), lacked enough support.

While the Council has now voted in favour of setting up a shelter for stray animals the location remains unclear. In the mean time there is a deadline for the funding, from the national Philodimos Programme. The actual plans need to be proposed before or on December 31st.

Source: enimerosi.com. See also my previous post To stray or not to stray.

Giallinas Mansion renovated over the next two years

The Giallinas Mansion in its actual state of deterioration

The Giallinas Mansion near the Esplanade in Corfu Town is saved from further deterioration and will be renovated over the next two years. A budget of over € 5 million has been approved for the reconstruction and restoration of the Venetian building, where the painter Angelos Giallinas lived and worked. Mayor Ydraiou announced last week the mansion will be “one of the most modern art and cultural venues” in town. She proudly added: “Corfu is slowly healing its open wounds, renovating its historical buildings and will become a major attraction.”

When the work is complete the building will be put to new use. The ground floor of the gallery will host educational and commercial activities and a restaurant. On the first floor there will be an exhibition of works by Angelos Giallinas, no less than 586 watercolours and oil paintings divided into 16 thematic units. The two rooms at the front, thanks to the wealth of decorations (ceiling paintings, ornate plasterwork etc.), will be a reconstruction of the Giallinas living room and studio with authentic furniture.

Source of this news: http://www.enimerosi.com. Read more about the painter Giallinas in my previous post (published on November 19th.)

Fewer air travellers to Corfu in 2019 by 2,7%

A landing airplane, caught between the Vlacherna Monastery (left) and Pontikonisi (Mouse Island)

In October 2019 the Corfu’s Ioannis Kapodistrias Airport saw -2% fewer domestic passengers compared to the same month in 2018 (from 28.538 to 27.956). Over the first ten months of 2019 there is a +1% increase of domestic passengers though (from 294.910 to 297.882).

October 2019 saw -1,1% fewer international passengers (from 227.723 to 225.290). The decrease over 2019 till November 1st was even bigger by -3.1% (from 3.020.823 to 2.928.680).

Domestic and international passengers combined lead to a -1.2% decrease for October 2019 (from 256.261 to 253.246. The combined figures for the first ten months of this year show a -2,7% decrease (from 3.315.733 to 3.226.562).

With the exception of January, February and April all months show a decrease in the combined numbers of domestic and international passengers.

Number of flights
The numbers of flights to and from Corfu show more or less the same pattern. In October 2019 there were -2,1% fewer domestic flights (374 to 366 in 2018). Over the first ten months the decrease was -6,8% (from 4.289 to 3.996). The international flights in October 2019 came to a total of 20.564, a decrease by -3,2% (21.236 flights in 2018). The combination of domestic and international flight totalled 2.057 in October 2019, a decrease by -2,8% (2.116 in 2018). Over the first ten months domestic and international flights together mounted to 24.560, ad decrease by -3,8% (25.525 in 2018).

These figures are produced by Fraport Greece.
FG Traffic Data Management (preliminary data)
October 2019 traffic statistics are provisional and subject to change.

Wines don’t travel, do they?

The last of the wine, a bottle of Kakotrygis

Very rarely a bottle of wine taken home from holiday tastes anywhere near you remember it and loved it. Different company, circumstance, climate? You tell me. I was only ever happy with the boxed (!) Burgundy Chardonnay my dear friends in the Morvan used to send me off with in fine quantities. Greek retsina especially seems infamous for ruining the beginning of a romantic evening back home with your holiday pictures.

So I was very lucky the other day when my daughter presented me with the bottle on the picture above, as a belated birthday present. Bought on Corfu and stored in her hand luggage. This very pleasant white wine, bottled in 2018, “citrus fruit taste and the fine bouquet of lemon blossom’ (12% vol.) didn’t make it till the end of the evening.

The local grape variety ‘kakotrygis’ is cultivated on the western hills by the Ionian Sea by the Spiros Grammenos family, respecting a long standing tradition. Kakotrygis wine is bottled and produced in Aerostato, Sinarades. I will surely pay them a visit on my next trip. If only to find out if the roadside winemaker Spiros Grammenos whom I used to know for decades and who died in his eighties two years ago, was in any way related.

Corfu’s waste problem soon a ghost from the past?

Corfu’s serious problem with waste management is about to be solved soon. That is, if the measurements announced by the national Ministry for the Environment and Energy on October 31st are implemented as planned. 

The mixed waste on Corfu will be removed and taken to the Kozani landfill in Western Macedonia for the next three years until the construction of the Integrated Waste Management facility in Temploni (in Corfu’s Ropa Valley) is completed. The funding will come from the national programme ESPA and the three Corfu Municipalities.

The Kozani Waste Management Facility Board has yet to decide on acceptance of the Corfu waste. The board meets next week.

Recycling to be stepped up
To get the Temploni facility upgraded and ready for processing by the end of 2022 tenders will be invited in early 2020. Meanwhile the Hellenic Recovery Recycling Corporation will start collaborating with partners on the island to set up a network for sorting garbage and biowaste management as soon as possible. In this way the volume of waste for processing will be reduced.

Continuous collective effort 
There wille be a continuous need for sorting garbage at the source by residents, for recycling and for Green Spots in each of the three Municipalities. Three Waste Transfer Stations will be set up in the North, the South and Central Corfu along with Biowaste Processing Units.

Both the Corfu Federation of Tourist Accommodation Owners and the Temploni Cultural Society are pleased with the plans. The first organisation stresses the need to continue to increase the percentage of recycled materials according to European guidelines.

The combined effort of all partners will have to ensure the sorry sight of garbage piling up along country roads, in villages and even on historic squares in town – as was the case during the tourist seasons of 2018 and 2019 – will be forgotten forever. Along with the unfortunate impact on the residents’ everyday life.

For more information: http://www.enimerosi.com

Locandiera: tranquility in vibrant, historic Corfu Town

The old town of Corfu is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2007 on the grounds of ‘outstanding universal value’. Visitors and tourists can find hostels, B&B’s and hotels in all classes. My fondest personal memory goes back to a weekend many years ago in the classic Hotel Konstantinoupolis, opening the Venetian blinds in the morning overlooking the square, the old port and the magical blue of the sea.

But here is a tip for a quite different accommodation.

Guest house Locandiera advertizes itself as a ‘mini hotel with personality’. You can find this hidden gem at 8 Ioanni Gennata Street, a quiet side street in the historical centre of Corfu Town, between picturesque Guilford Street with its art shops and Kapodistriou Street, bordered by beautiful Spianada Park & Square, near the Old Fortress.

Locandiera – based in a carefully renovated originally Venetian building – provides six single/double rooms with kitchenette, each with its own individual and artistic identity and style. The ground floor offers a cosy open living room and kitchen area, where you can enjoy your breakfast or drink a coffee. There are regular exhibitions of paintings and photography. 

The accommodation blends traditional architectural elements (a centuries old well!) and modern comfort. Quality products (breakfast is included) and reliable and friendly services (free WiFi, iMac, music, books, games, fax, postage, photocopying, bicycles to ride the town!) add to your tranquility, relaxation and wellbeing.

Andreas Monopolis (who learned the art of hospitality in his father’s Jimmy’s Restaurant in Pelekas) and his business partner went out of their way to design and fabricate unique furniture as well as the interior and exterior of the historical building. They even upgraded the street by painting several neighbouring buildings.

Tripadvisor: ‘Great boutique hotel in fabulous location’ (14 October 2019). 

For more information and bookings: www.locorfu.com E-mail: info@locorfu.com. Phone: +30 26610 39035.  

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