Sunday, 17 March 2013

Carnival time in Corfu as Lent begins

It's a bank holiday weekend in Corfu Town as the island prepares to usher in Clean Monday and the beginning of Lent when Greeks celebrate the fast and welcome the dawn of spring.

A van stuffed full of artichokes is parked just up from the supermarket. A man in the old town is selling large shrimps from a basket. They're still wriggling.

There is bunting hanging across the streets and a civilised demonstration by young Communists outside the bank. The smell of freshly-baked bread pulls pedestrians in from the pavements and into the bakery.
Two South American men set up on the pavement and, soon, the ubiquitous sound of amplified Andean panpipes wafts up the street, past a beggar boy sitting in front of a Kentucky Fried Chicken box with a few cents inside. A couple of doorsteps up are his mother and sister, hands out for money, while further along is the Corfu bag lady, who, as usual, sits asleep in a shop doorway, with her parka hood up and sunglasses on. She doesn't collect anything except bags.

And the town eccentric is clutching red and white cuddly toys and ribbons around his ample girth and wearing a long and blonde curly wig.

A music student practises the piano behind an open window, the queue in the fruit shop, where navel oranges  are about ten cents each, is nine miles long. A small, masked parade appears from nowhere and strolls away along the street.
Even the scooters are making eyes at each other.
There is a sense of anticipation in the air as the town and villages around the island prepare for carnival events today. Austerity measures are biting and carnival is not what it used to be. But there is always room to enjoy simply being alive before the official start of Lent tomorrow.

In the old town, my favourite bird, the swallow, flies over the sea wall and is joined by six more, dipping, and diving and laughing. They're here!

Tomorrow, we will walk out with our picnic basket and look out for flying kites.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x


  1. Another wonderful post. I always feel like I am looking over your shoulder, great pictures, lovely words.


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