Sunday, 9 August 2015

Varkarola: Bravo to the good people of Paleokastritsa

We've got a table reserved for four and we're in poll position. Once we've feasted we'll be out of the starting blocks and sitting on the wall overlooking the beach.

We're in Paleokastritsa in north west Corfu and we're getting ready for the Varkarola. I've blogged about it before and all the background you need to know is right here.

I am a sucker for ancient mythology and the story of Odysseus is one of my favourites

Tonight, it's a re-telling of one of the hero's many adventures on his ten-year journey from Troy to the kingdom of Ithaca. In the bay at Paleokastritsa, to the soundtrack of 1492: Conquest of Paradise by Vangelis, he has a massive fight with Poseidon, the god of the ocean, played by a diver who pops up from nowhere out of the sea and then sets Odysseus' raft alight.

Odysseus is shipwrecked and surprises the Phaeacian princess, Nausikka, who had been playing on the shoreline with her handmaidens after doing their washing.

The kind King Alkínoös provides Odysseus with a boat so the wily hero can return to Ithaca after a twenty year absence.

The event celebrates the 'miracle' of Saint Spyridon whom the Corfiots believe saved the island from Turkish occupation on 11 August 11, 1716.

A few weeks ago, even the locals couldn't tell us if the  Varkarola was going to happen in these cash-strapped times. There wasn't a poster to be seen.
But with sponsorship and fundraising, this incredible event went ahead. Bravo to the good people of Paleokastritsa who put their hearts and souls into one of the most amazing and moving spectacles I've ever seen.

I hope businesses throughout the resort reaped what they sowed.

This is a fantastic video from last year by John Lanasis.
No doubt there'll be another film from last night: we saw a drone overhead, following Odysseus out to sea before the most amazing display of fireworks and then the thump, thump, thump of a beach party.

Here's a few of my photos. They don't really do the event justice but you get the drift.
Some passing Scherians have a beer and then pose for a photo.
There's tat and food from stalls in the street.
And a diabolical balloon seller.
Someone's mode of transport propped up outside a hotel.
And then Number One Son and his girlfriend wind their way back to the car. 
That's about it.

Love Maddie x

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