老村生活照片#Moraitika #Corfubetway必威官网登陆官方网

The writing says: Cultural center of Moraitika, a calendar of memories from our village. 2020 wishes for health, love and progress.

Late last year, I was contacted on Facebook by Mrs Aglaia Anthi, President of the cultural center of Moraitika, Corfu. She said she’d seen some old photos on my website and asked for permission to use them for the 2020 calendar of the cultural center. I was thrilled and, of course, I said yes.

Last January, she sent me a copy of this beautiful calendar which I am thrilled to share today. I meant to do it back then but, sadly, I was in a bad place at the time, caught up in my late mother’s daily cancer fight. When I received the calendar, I took it to her bed to leaf through, and she cried to see the photo on the first sheet, which depicted her grandparents, Stefanos and Olga Vassilakis. She kissed their faces on the photograph whispering, ‘i nouna mou, o nounos mou…’ (the Corfiot words for ‘my granny, my granddad). The memory still causes my heart to twinge with feeling. My mother passed away on February 12, and I am comforted to think she is in her grandparents’ and her parents’ arms right now.



My great-grandfather was also a teacher of Moraitika. The house he built for his family still stands on the hill near the church. Part of it was used as the village school at some point. He is buried in the church yard. For more photos and information, see my post about the莫拉伊蒂卡的两个教堂在山上。


Or how the locals pronounce it, ‘Katou Vrysi.’ Loosely translated, it means, ‘The tap downhill’. It is situated on the side of the main road outside the dilapidated estate behind the Coop supermarket. There is also an ‘uphill tap’ called ‘Panou Vrysi’ which is at the edge of the village on the hill under a big plane tree. This is why the locals also call it ‘O Platanos’ (The plane tree). For detailed directions to Panou Vrysi, seebet way官网.


The building on the left is the Papadatos estate house. This family also owns the little church of Agios Dimitris nearby (my great-grandfather is buried outside the main door of this church). The building on the right is the Koukouzelis estate house. Today, the grounds are used by the council for cultural events (concerts mainly). For more info and photos, see thesame post about the churches.


My uncle Kostas passed away a couple of years ago, but Aunt Leni remains active at her old age (born 1933), and still helps out at her seaside apartments of ‘Nea Zoi’ (beside Caldera on the beach).bet way官网for these establishments. Here, below, follows an excellent commentary about this photo by my Aunt Leni as relayed by her daughter-in-law, Spyridoula Vlachos:


Re my Aunt Marika (daughter of Great-Uncle Stamatis Vassilakis): She was one of my favourite relatives of the Vassilakis family. She had the heart and the soul of a child. I still recall so vividly the last time I saw her, visiting her in her house after a long while during my short stay in the village. It was a couple of years earlier, just months before she died. She was confused with dementia and didn’t recognize me when I approached her. Still, her good heart must have done, because she kept holding me, her eyes sparkling with love and delight while saying, ‘I love you! I love you!’ I’ll never forget her face that day; so innocent, so loving. Somehow, she is the only one whose name I didn’t have the heart to change in my largely autobiographical novel set in Moraitika, The Ebb.



My great-grandmother’s maiden name was Vlachos, and her wedding to Stefanos Vassilakis bound the two families together as one with great relations. This photograph was taken outside the Vassilakis house (late 40s to early 50s). She sits at the center dressed in black, as befitted a widow at the time. My great-grandfather passed away in 1944, and she did in 1953. The building shown in the background is the Koukouzelis estate house as mentioned earlier. The mulberry tree they’re sitting under still stands today and so does the olive tree on the right.

图为从左至右:后排:叔公安东尼斯·瓦西拉基斯,阿姨奥尔加(Lilis的女儿),姑奶奶Irini酒店,大妈迪娜(或贝巴,Lilis的女儿),克里斯托Vlachos,Tsantis Vlachos。中排:Kotsoris叔公(Kotsos)Tsatsanis,曾祖母奥尔加Vlachos,安吉丽娜Vlachos,叔公Lilis瓦西拉基斯和他的妻子,姑奶奶Fotoula。前排:叔公斯塔马蒂斯瓦西拉基斯。在他们身后,孩子佩特罗斯和索非亚Vlachos。佩特罗斯用于运行海滩(现在火山口,由他的儿子克里斯托运行)上的螃蟹餐厅。在我的曾祖母的右侧,你可以看到叶夫根瓦西拉基斯(斯塔马蒂斯的妻子)和她的孙子,Vasso和Stefanos的Moraitis(两者玛丽卡的孩子)。

November-December. Caption: Washing in the ‘mastello (old Venetian word for ‘wooden tub’).


The rest of the caption reads: ‘Open-air barber shop (Pippis, Kapouas, Tatsos, Lopi, Sofia).

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Messonghi river, Corfu
Messonghi river

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My guide will tell you everything you need to know if you’re planning a visit, or if you’re simply hoping to do that sometime in future. ‘Cos who doesn’t like to daydream about beautiful exotic locations, right?

Messonghi beach, Corfu
Messonghi beach



Moraitikabeach, view to the mountains of Chlomos and Martaouna

Did you know?

Moraitika’s old village quarter is nestled on a hill and is full of picturesque lanes you’ll love to explore and revisit. My insider’s guide will give you intriguing facts and history tidbits as well as offer tips on places of interest off the tourist trail.



Speaking of stunning views, there’s another taverna that overlooks the same bay, but this one is on the side of Messonghi. The taverna is situated on Martaouna, one of the two iconic mountains of both the Moraitika and Messonghi skyline. In the same building, there are also apartments that offer the same breathtaking view.bet way官网

Messonghi beach
Messonghi beach


Are you a Durrells fan?bet way官网will tell you how to book a great boat trip from Messonghi river that will take you to both Kalami (to visit the White House) and to Kontokali to see the film house of the Durrells TV show (from the boat). In the guide, you’ll also find out how you can book an exclusive guided tour (specific dates and times only!) to visit Danilia, where many village scenes of the show were filmed!



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Have you visited Moraitika and Messonghi? What did you think? Comment below or on my guide and let me know. I’d love to hear from you!

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On the hill in Moraitika, at the center of the old village, there is a small church that I used to visit occasionally for Sunday mass during my long summers in Corfu in the 1980s.

这种古老的教堂 - 贴水季米特里斯 - 仍然在操作当时,它是唯一一个在村里的时间。它是由帕帕扎托斯家庭,他们(现在废弃)官寨位于它后面竖立。

One of its early priests was my great-grandfather, Stefanos Vassilakis. He and his wife Olga built a house for their big family a stone’s throw away from the church. Part of their house was used as the school of the village. Other than his two main professions, my busy great-grandfather also worked his own land (situated in two different parts around Moraitika: behind the Coop supermarket, and on the side of the mountain over Miramare Hotel).


During the German occupation, he was in his bedroom on the upper floor one night when he heard the unmistakable heavy footfalls of military boots echoing from outside. It sounded like a band of soldiers rushing down the lane. This was a scary time for the locals so, unsettled, he hurried down the internal staircase so he could peek through the front door. In the commotion he missed his step and fell down the stairs, breaking his leg. Sadly, he suffered complications from the fall which led to his death at the age of 70.

This is a picture of my great-grandmother, Olga Vassilakis (nee Vlachos), with other family members. Being a widow at the time, she was wearing black and the traditional headscarf. She is pictured with her son-in-law (left) and two of her children at the doorstep of the house in the 1950s. The locals referred to her as the ‘Presvytera’ or the ‘Pappadia’ – both names meaning ‘wife of the priest’, with the latter title being less formal.


有趣的珍闻:根据我的祖母,the name Vassilakis originates from Crete. Other than Moraitika, the name is also met in the villages of Zygos, Valanio and Sinarades. The Vassilakis of Moraitika originate from Sinarades where there’s a legend about the family name! According to Granny’s story, at some point the Vassilakis were split into the ‘rich’ ones and the ‘poor’ ones (our family came from the latter sadly )

So how did some of the Vassilakis got rich? Well, legend has it that a man from the family once found pirate treasure in a chest on Agios Gordis beach and took it home! The pirates came back to get it and searched high and low but never found it…


Interesting tidbit: If you’ve visited Moraitika in the 80s-90s, you may be able to identify in the above photo the late Petros Vlachos who ran The Crabs (Kavouria) on the beach at the time. He’s a little boy in this picture (front row, crouched on the left of my great-grandmother.


Interesting tidbit: The name ‘Moraitika’ is derived from the word ‘Morias’ which is another name for the Peloponnese (the part of Greece that looks like an inverted hand). The first inhabitants of Moraitika were emigrants from Morias, and the people were referred to as ‘Moraites’, hence the name.

This picture was taken in the lane that leads from the old church to the Koukouzelis Estate.

The derelict stone wall with the window is part of the estate. According to one of my cousins who ventured inside once as a child, there was a large library behind this wall. Now, with the overgrowth of bushes and creeping vines that have accumulated over the years it is impossible to decipher anything when peeking through the window.

This is the same lane looking towards the old church (yellow wall). You can also see the belfry of the current church of Moraitika that stands beyond it. This one was under construction for at least one year back in the 1980s, something that used to worry my grandmother a great deal… You see, she was convinced that it attracted all sorts of evil spirits while it stood as a building site.



When the church was sanctified and began operating, Granny said she never heard those birds’ bloodcurdling cries echo from the church again. I never really believed any of that, but Granny had a way to tell these things and they always had my vivid imagination going!

这是我的爷爷奶奶,斯皮罗斯和Antigoni酒店瓦西拉基斯的照片。爷爷是正确的“papadopaidi”,一个牧师的即儿子,这意味着他是一个狂热的礼拜的和喜爱,在给予一半的机会,教会呗。在我的童年雅典我还记得他呗星期天早上,他听取了群众对他的便携式小收音机。My grandparents lived in the city at the time but once they relocated to Moraitika in the late 1970s, Granddad became a regular visitor and an occasional ‘psaltis’ (church singer that chants the gospel) at the old church of the village and, later, at the new one as well.

的私人教堂贴水Dimitris只打开ce a year these days – on its festival day on October 26.

This is the belfry of the old church. The year of its erection is 1905 according to the plaque you can see here. I find it a real pity that it was left to deteriorate in this manner – same goes for the old estate houses (Koukouzelis and Papadatos) beside it that barely stand. At least, the facade of the old church is kept tidy and freshly painted, and the tourists seem to be interested in my great-grandfather’s grave a lot…


If you ever visit Moraitika, make sure to venture uphill to see the church yard and do take a walk towards the Koukouzelis Estate as well, if only to enjoy the sea view. The sunrise is always a good time!

If you ever visit Moraitika, make sure to venture uphill to see the church yard and do take a walk towards the Koukouzelis Estate as well, if only to enjoy the sea view. The sunrise is always a good time!


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Remembering my grandparents, Spyros and Antigoni Vassilakis


Today (May 2nd) marks one year since my granny’s passing and the memories are flooding in. Granddad passed away back in 2010 on May 5th. As a result, early May for me has become a time that inevitably brings me sadness, but somehow floods my mind with loving memories and fills my heart with blessings at the same time too.

Last summer, having inherited my grandparents’ house in Moraitika, it was hard opening the door and finding an empty house inside for the first time. What’s more, I was burdened with the gruesome task of having to go through my grandparents’ belongings, deciding what was to keep, what to throw, and what to give to charity. The task took days, and it was a surreal experience. Being interspersed with short bursts of summer holiday fun, it felt odd to do this too but, somehow, my mission was accomplished. At the end of my holiday I had given loads of clothes and medical equipment no longer needed to a couple locals who were grateful to have them, my husband and I had scrubbed dirty and moulded walls and ceilings clean, the house was tidy and aired after having being left uninhabited for a long time, and our minds were enriched with beautiful new holiday memories.

I share with you today a couple photos I took while sorting through my grandparents’ personal belongings. I found these in their aged bedside cabinets.


As for granddad’s things, the only item I didn’t recognize was the binoculars. They are dented, as you can see, and you couldn’t see much through the lenses, but he must have been fond of them as he kept them all the same. I can only imagine how many years he must have had them! As for the torch, granddad had a few, and this one is the oldest I remember and probably his favourite! It’s the one he used during our annual ‘pizza nights’ at the beach when the August moon was out – a memory that made its way into The Ebb, the novel I wrote to share my love for my grandparents with the world. Speaking of The Ebb, Sofia’s dented fork is also real… and I have proof. Scroll down below to see a photo of it

Granddad Spyros, born in Moraitika in 1913, was one of the children of Stefanos Vassilakis, the priest and teacher of Moraitika in the early 1900s. Granddad never had an education beyond elementary school but his impeccable manners towards family and friends as well as his loving, giving heart were prominent parts of his character. During the forty odd years that I was blessed to have him in my life he’d always been upbeat, sweet and loving and I never witnessed him lose his temper or fight with anyone, not even when he had every right to. And believe me, in my typically dysfunctional Greek family he had many opportunities to act that way.

Being the son of a preacher, Granddad spent Sunday mornings sitting with a radio and chanting along to the priest and the hymn singers. He also chanted in the church with gladness whenever asked. As I share in The Ebb, he had an odd affinity for the TV remote control, driving Gran to a frenzy. Actually, all his eccentricities that I share in the book are true, and he was a man who loved to laugh and entertain others too. Near the end of his life, he kept asking us to be merry when he dies, saying he wanted people to laugh, not cry, at his funeral. I last spoke to him (on the phone from Athens) three days before his passing at the age of 97. His mind was crystal clear, his voice jovial, like a young boy’s. His answer to my question ‘How are you?’ was a hearty laugh and the typical answer, “Got to be here another day!”

Granddad loved a good joke. Once, when he was well into his 90s, we were sitting around the table and he was laughing his head off with his own morbid joke. He had recently paid the council for a family grave and had had it decorated with the marble top and cross, and even his own picture, ready for the big day! Apparently, a local had passed by and seen the grave and told another: ‘Crikey! When did Spyros Vassilakis die? I never heard!” Someone had told Granddad and he relayed it around the table, laughing heartily at the ridiculous notion someone had thought him dead, even though he had set the scene perfectly for anyone to be fooled! And that was Granddad. He had this wicked sense of humour that often annoyed Gran and led to those ‘fights’ at the table that always caused me and my sister to exchange glances and chuckle no end.


Above all Granddad’s delightful eccentricities, one stands out for me as the most endearing: he always carried a little plastic comb in his shirt pocket and loved for me and my sister to comb his hair when we were little. Ever since I remember myself this ritual kept going strong. When I stayed or visited his house in Athens as a little girl he’d sit on his armchair, pat his shirt pocket and give me a cunning grin. I’d then rush to him, take the comb from his pocket and begin to comb his hair for a long time, the longer the better for him, but it was something I enjoyed too so much that time just flew. Often, before I knew it, he’d be fast asleep while I did this, sometimes even snoring loudly! He’d often wake up a little later to find he had all sorts of plaits braided on his head with colourful plastic hair clips at the end of them. He had the softest, snow-white thin strands and to this day I remember how they felt in my hands.

在外面的莫拉伊蒂卡房子 - 21世纪初

When Granddad passed away in 2010, I asked Gran if she had one of his combs to give me. She gave one to me and one to my sister and we both treasure them. Often, when the going gets tough in my life, I take it in my hands and tell Granddad my troubles. It always helps me to soothe any kind of heartache or mental strain – the comb having been established as the ultimate symbol of his love in my heart and mind.

I was deeply moved and very fortunate to find these old documents in an envelope in my granny’s bedside cabinet last summer. Time had rendered them gossamer thin but the writing is still legible in most places and it’s been preserved quite well despite the dozens of humid winters. These documents were my granddad’s call to military duty twice: the first in 1935 and the other in 1945.

1935年的文件,当爷爷Spyros 22日had him registered as a coffee shop seller who was assigned to serve as a telephonist in the Communications Corp (I translate all this to the best of my ability seeing I am not familiar with military jargon). The rules that were mentioned overleaf state that the person called to duty was obliged to appear on the date specified. It was also stated that a delay of one day in showing up would result in imprisonment, while a delay of two or more days would automatically declare the person a deserter, which was punishable by death, or a life sentence in prison if evidence was put forward for their defense. There was also a clear instruction in bold to treat the assigned post and the document itself as confidential.

The document of 1945 called my granddad to duty in Acharnes, Athens in September 30th, 1945. He was 32 at the time. The document listed the same kind of rules overleaf, although with less severity compared to the other document. It was also stamped in Patra in October 1945 and there’s writing beside it but sadly it’s impossible to make out what it says.


Gran is pictured with one of her brothers and her father in Corfu town


From left to right, Ioanna, Gran, and Stephania


当我走过来的,有人爱左右逢源的故事。奶奶和我很快就开发出了非常强的债券。我小的时候我经常停留在她租的房子(在雅典当时)我是如此依恋她我叫她“妈妈”(妈妈),并拒绝,除非她拉着我的手才能入睡。Gran would often laugh and say I gave her a hard time back then, seeing that as soon as she moved her hand away from my grasp I’d snap my eyes open, which meant she had to give me her hand and wait for me to fall asleep all over again.

Although my grandparents lived in Athens when I was little, we often visited Corfu in the summer to stay with my aunt Stephanie’s family in Garitsa (coastal quarter of the town next to Anemomylos). My grandparents had inherited a small quarter of my great-grandfather’s house in Moraitika but they needed to build upon it to make it a proper home with the necessary commodities first. They managed this in the early 1980s so I began to spend my summer holidays for three months at a time in the village as of then.

In The Ebb I share many of the terms of endearment Granny used to address me. There is an entertaining one I didn’t share, which tickled my husband’s funny bone so much he uses it for me now. The term is ‘kontessa’ (countess), my granny’s way of teasing me whenever, as all kids occasionally do, I acted lazy or self-indulgent. Every time Andy calls me that now if, say, I snooze a little longer in bed, there is a tug in my heart, but the feeling is wonderful, knowing the term of endearment survived, somehow.





Back in Moraitika is where sheer bliss began to pour into my life. Roughly from the age of 12, I began to stay with my grandparents nearly every summer from early June to early September. I played and swam daily with a multitude of cousins and village children and as neighbours I had a host of great-uncles and great-aunts who’d each inherited a part of my great-grandfather’s big house. Every morning would find me and the other children playing with a ball or cards under the mulberry tree or on the cemented step that can still be found today outside the house.

桑椹树在房子前面总是标出ses myriad fond memories to come to surface. This lane that leads to the village church has been my playground for many happy summers.


Most of the time, we’d walk along the Corfu-Lefkimmi highway and stopped at Messonghi past the tiny bridge near the turn off to Agios Mattheos where the petrol station is today. Beside it on the corner, there was a cafe owned by my uncle Thanassis Tsatsanis from Messonghi. This was our resting place for a refreshment or a sweet before our long walk back home on the hill in Moraitika.

All the things fun I just mentioned, interspersed with out-of-this-world good meals prepared by my granny only repeated themselves the next day and the next after that, for three months at a time. I am sure, therefore, you can imagine my joy every time June came when I was a youngster, and the absolute heart-wrenching sorrow that hit me when September arrived each year and it was time to go.

As I have said many times and also recorded in The Ebb, Gran Antigoni was an amazing cook and prepared her meals in a tiny kitchen barely big enough for two people to stand in it. These photos from the early 2000’s serve as proof!

Speaking of proof, here is a picture of the dented aluminum fork described in The Ebb. Every summer, on my first day in the house, Gran would take it out of her ancient cabinet drawer and set it in front of me at the table with a glint in her eye as Granddad chuckled. You can imagine what it means to me now they are gone. I took this photo last summer, and it was quite emotional when I set it down on the table to eat with my husband, without either of my grandparents present for the very first time. But of course, their love remains inside me, safe, where neither time nor death can ever take it away.

Below, I share a couple videos from happy days with my grandparents. These were taken in the summer of 2004.

一分之二的视频功能我的谈话my grandparents as I take the video and Andy and Granddad watch Gran BBQ fish for our lunch. During that time we elaborated a lot on the fact Granddad was difficult to cook for because there were many foods he didn’t like much (fish and meat included). I then tried to convince him to have some fish but he seemed intent on only having the boiled greens and skordalia (garlic dip) that were to be served with it. By the time Gran serves at the table, she and I have managed to annoy him somewhat to a hilarious effect right at the end of video 3.


I hope you’ll find the videos entertaining, even those among you who don’t understand much Greek, if only for the mannerisms and the real-life depiction of a typical ‘row’ between my grandparents at meal times as described in The Ebb.


去年,奶奶的临别赠言给我通过电话和清晰的思维骨髓炎的罕见瞬间期间早已开始云她的脑海里,因为她的致命秋天被说。Even though she kept silent or mumbled to herself whenever I phoned the old people’s home in Limnos where she spent her very last days, during that call I was lucky to make out these words: ‘Na eisai kala kyra mou, na eisai panta kala’ (may you be well ‘my lady’, may you always be well). I knew that day this was goodbye. And I was right; she died just a couple days later. I do hope in her heart she knew I was there when that happened, if only in spirit.



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Old photos and memories from Corfu

Today, I thought I’d share a couple of photos that my author friendStephanie Woodsent to me recently. One day, Stephanie saw one of my posts about Moraitika, Corfu and the name rang a bell. Next, she was going through old photo albums and found evidence that confirmed her suspicions: she’d spent a holiday there back in the 80s but, over the years, had forgotten the name of the Corfiot village she stayed at. When she wrote to let me know, and to send the photos she found, I felt delighted. If I could re-acquaint her with such a blissful part of her past and, what’s more, stir in her the desire to return there one day, I felt my work was done.

It’s been a year now that I’ve been shouting it out from the rooftops of Twitter and Facebook that I am mad about Moraitika and Messonghi, the villages I set my romance trilogy in, and called them Vassilaki and Messi respectively in the books. It gives me great pleasure when people write to me to say they’ve been there in the past and that my posts caused them to start dreaming about them again, spurring them on to return!


Corfu 2

This picture from Stephanie was easy to identify as a picture of Moraitika beach.

Corfu 3


Corfu 1

Throughout the 80s, there were many restaurants offering live syrtaki dancing every night in Moraitika but only one had its dance floor by petrol pumps! And that was Paizanos petrol station on the main road (a petrol station still operates there today, and it’s situated near the bookshop/post office).

Corfu 4

This one is the last of Stephanie’s snaps and it’s my favourite, simply because it’s a picture of Martaouna, the pyramid-shaped mountain on the right that I can’t get enough of marveling at when in Moraitika or Messonghi. Visible from both the villages, it houses the village of Spilio. Next to it, the Chlomos mountain is missing the two tall masts that are visible on the top today.

You can see a similar view of these mountains from the 80s in another picture courtesy of another Messonghi lover, my friend, Julie Reeves:


This was an utter delight for me when I first laid eyes on it. At the time, there were few touristic businesses in Messonghi and this photo reflects this. I used to stay at my aunt Rini’s house (aunt Rini was the sister of my grandfather, Spyros Vassilakis) for a few days at the time back then and would spend the whole day with my cousins Rini and Sofi Tsatsani. The house was just behind the building in the foreground. Seeing this photo caused a myriad of precious childhood memories to flood into my head.

Thank you Julie Reeves and Stephanie Wood for bringing back these memories!


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Have you holidayed in Moraitika, Messonghi, or anywhere else in Corfu? Leave a comment and tell us all about it!


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