Date: Oct 22/2020
Place : Lake/Lagoon korissia and other beaches of the Southwest
Lake/Lagoon korissia, which we headed toward this mid morning, following Ana's suggestion, is a waterland protected Nature Reserve, about 50 minutes down on the Southwest coast.
But prior to arriving at the reserve, we detoured on the way to take a glimpse of
The climbed up to the beautiful village of Gastouri worth the visited at
the majestic Achilleion Palace, though unfortunately, it is also a magnet to many buses' tours.
I visited the insides of the palace on my 2015 visit , so this time we just passed by and took another gaze at the exterior.
Gastouri is a picterouse village, offering stunning views of the Southeast coast below, only 12 km from Corfu town.
It is built οn a verdant hill аbovе the sea lеvel on the slopes of the mountain of Agioi Deka, It is full of mansions and summer houses, dating back to the 18 and 19 c with coats of arms, verandahs, elaborate, characteristic doors and well-groomed yards.
Such is the summer house, a mansion dating back to 1751, of the Bulgari family, which is probably the most significant family in Corfu, whose members were politicians, scholars and teachers of the genus such as Evgenios Bulgaris.
The villagе of Gаstоuri is better knοwn as Achillеio because the famous Аchilleion Palасе, located just 500 m befοre thе villаge's entrancе.
Built in 1890 by Empress Elizabeth of Austria - Sisi, in a property originally owned by the philosopher and diplomat Petros Vrailas Armenis and replaced the former “Villa Vraila”.
She was the younger daughter of the Duke of Bavaria. The Emperor of Austria, Franz Joseph, was told by his mother to marry her elder sister, but he fell in love with her instead.
The Empress had a soft spot for the Homeric hero Achilles, and so named her palace after him. The neoclassical building is set amid magnificent gardens.
The back part of the garden is dominated by the statue of "Achilles Dying", a creation of the German sculptor Herter. Some of Sissy's personal possessions are kept on the lower floor of the palace.
After her murder the Achillion was purchased by Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany.
The views off the narrow spiral road coming down from Gasturi took us through the steep lush verdant mountain to the Southeast coastline road, which we already drove on 2 days ago, and which we enjoyed again, driving so near the seaside water.
Southeast Coast Road
We veered off that road from Moraitika, and continued across and up again on the hilly agriculture landscape to get to the Southeast side of the island, getting off at Linia.
Linia is situated 28 kilometers south of the Corfu town, right next to the beautiful Lake Korission, and is the point to get off as to go to the golden sandy beach of Issos with its vast impressive dunes, to see the cedar forest the only of its kind in the island, and the lake.
The best panoramic views of the lake and the Southwest coastline are to be seen from the traditional village Chlomos, located only 3 k away from Linia and which is worth the car climb drive up, before getting down to the lake and beaches below.
Chlomos is one of the oldest villages in Corfu and one of the most picturesque in the whole island. It is built amphitheatrical on the slope of the hill at an altitude of 270 m, with an amazing view of the Ionian Sea and Lake Korission, and thus is called the "Balcony of Corfu"
Built approximately during the 13th c, it has special architecture in which its houses are built around the main square and not along a main road like many of the Corfu villages are. Most of them are of Venetian architecture and they are painted with traditional red and orange colors. Cobblestoned alleys leads to
many old mansions, one which dates back to 15th c belonged to the Despot of Morias, Thomas Palaiologos, the brother of the Emperor Konstantinos Palaiologos.
Chlmos Village house
Lake/Lagoon korissia and its protected waterland
The coastal lagoon located on the southwest side of Corfu, about 20 km from the
town, near the village of Agios Mattheos and next to the beach of Issos.
It covers an area of approximately 6,000 acres of saltwater, it connects with the sea through a narrow opening called "Mouth of the Lake '', and separating it from the sea by the southern part of Halikouna beach.
It is the largest lagoon in Corfu and the most important wetland that constitutes an undisturbed natural very rich ecosystem. It is a shelter for more than 120 species of birds and other animals.
Flamingos can also be observed at the lake in certain seasons, but not now,
so we saw none, only in the video link.
The lagoon was created by the sand dunes that cut the lake's basin off from the sea between 140,000 and 250,000 years ago.
Korission Lagoon and its environs are also important areas archaeologically.
A tool found by French geologists was determined to be between 950 and 750,000 years old, the oldest known prehistoric artifact discovered in Greece. Another find consisted of a large portion of a right lower jaw of a hippopotamus, along with some small bone fragments discovered near the lagoon's outflow.
The heat of the day, and climbing up on the beautifully shaped sand dunes attracted us more to the nearby beach, where swimming is allowed but is forbidden in the Lake.
Issos Beach Dunes
The wide gorgeous sandy beach strip between Issos and Georgios beaches was the only strip in the entire Corfu island we toured, where I saw, during my entire stay, so many bathers, mainly tourists, inside the water and on the beach, Most of the other beaches we toured, were quite empty or fully deserted..
It is one of the best Corfiot sandy beaches, belonging to the village of Chlomos, on the west side of the island's seashore, covered with the unique sand dunes,
which were created form 140 -250 thousand years ago.The terrain height is now over 17m. The natural setting of this wide soft beach is gorgeous, and the water is clear and most inviting.
David had his swim of the day there, while I walked the beach toward the bordering Agios Georgios beach.
Sandy Beach at Agios Georgios by Argyrades Vilage
The fine golden sand beach stretches for about 6 miles and consists of two pieces separated by a small harbor in the middle, bordering with the Issos beach in the north and the Marathia in the south.
My impression of this beach, contrary to the Issos one , was that the over built developments of low cost resort and vacation villages which overpowers landscape, diminishes the landscape's natural beauty.
It also seems that this beach attracts mass chartered low budget tourism, many from the UK , Germany, and Russian, which I could detect when walking by.
About three decades ago, the beach had nothing but sea and sand, and very few locals have some houses down there. Visitors came to swim there from other resorts just to enjoy the wild and untouched beach and the clear waters.
The beach was virgin without loungers and other amenities, just 2-3 houses belonging to residents hardly any restaurants
Life and habits may not change in Argyrades, but it has changed rapidly in recent years at the beach of Saint George.. It has been transformed into a swelling tourist seaside resort catering to families with children with many water sports and sun loungers with umbrellas in most places.
The many hotels and apartments emerged literally from the sand, the bars and restaurants, supermarkets and all sorts of shops on the street were constructed just behind the beach, along with noisy clubs for nightlife, were a big turn off
The best fresh fish can be obtained mainly at the northeast shore, so we returned back to Spiro's Taverna in Bukaries, and enjoyed yet another the freshest great seafood meal.
David was so excited about the Greek coffee the Taverna serves at the end of the meal, that we departed with one kilo coffee bean package brand from Athens called Mokka (firstname.lastname@example.org +302103216892) which david persuaded Akis-the owner, to sell to him. Now we are suffering additional overweight..
Tomorrow Friday is, sadly, our last day in Corfu, as we LOVE the island.
We will be flying back to Israel on Saturday.
To be continued...