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Bouas Danilia village, where The Durrells of Corfu often film their outdoor scenes, is not a real village. It was built as an open-air museum back in the 1970s.
In this picture, I am photographed there (on the left) with school friends in April 1985 during an excursion organized by my school in Athens. Typically in Greece, the pupils in the final class of high school get to vote about where they will get to spend the ‘pentaimeri’ i.e. their eagerly awaited five-day excursion away from home. Being the Greek equivalent of a ‘prom night’ in a way, it is the Greek 18-year-olds’ last chance to enjoy carefree time together with their schoolmates before inevitably taking their separate ways in life.
Back then, the usual choices across all schools in Athens were Rhodes, Corfu or Crete as the destination. The choices in my school were narrowed down to either Corfu or Rhodes. Personally, I was rooting for Rhodes as back then I hadn’t been there yet, but Corfu won. For me, it was still exciting, of course, as I knew I’d be visiting new places around Corfu that I hadn’t seen till then.
As the ferry approached the dock of the old port in Corfu town, I made out on there the shape of a man that seemed familiar. As I soon suspected, it was indeed my grandfather Spyros, waiting to meet me, having arrived all the way from Moraitika on the bus. It was a wonderful surprise! He had even brought a big, round cake for me to share with my friends, a present from my grandmother, Antigoni.
(那些读过的低潮,这是完整的f so many truths about my grandparents, are probably chuckling right now. Yes, that was my grandmother all over).
And with this warm welcome to Corfu from my grandparents, my Corfu school trip began…
Indeed, as expected, during those precious five days we visited a couple of places I hadn’t seen before, including Paleokastritsa’s lovely monastery on the hill, and the traditional village of Bouas in Danilia that I mentioned earlier.
We were the only visitors walking its streets that sunny afternoon and it seemed eerily quiet. It had only been in operation for just a couple of years and hadn’t yet thrown its doors wide open to the multitudes of tourists who flocked to dine, dance and party to the sound of bouzouki songs from all over the island, especially in the 90s.
I remember walking down a main road, peering through the wide open front doors of ‘shops’ and ‘workshops’… A bakery, a blackmith’s… Antique tools and other items lay before the doors… a loom, a spindle, a pitchfork… ceramic pots, sacks, scattered hay…
And even though many of the artifacts on display looked suitably old, the buildings and the whole set up seemed brand new, and so pristine in fact that they didn’t do much to create the illusion of a genuine, liveable village. As a result, I wasn’t particularly impressed by it, which is probably the reason I never took any pictures except for the one above. But now, in retrospect, I regret it, and can appreciate the tremendous work and love that went into this place. It was a monumental feat of the Bouas brothers and, clearly, a lifelong dream too to create this special place from the ground up.
That visit in 1985 was the only one I ever made to the village. Nowadays, thirty plus years later, the humid Corfu winters and the relentless summer sun have done their work to give it the genuine, decrepit look that makes it an enchanting place to be in and, thus, a gem for the film and TV world too.
It’s no wonder that the popular TV series, The Durrells of Corfu, uses it largely these days for the filming of its outdoor scenes. With its decaying walls and picturesque facades, I expect it’s child’s play for the professionals of the set to give every scene the nostalgic 1930s look that we’ve all come to cherish in the series.
Sadly, for most of us, it’s only through the show that we can now admire Bouas Danilia village as it is no longer open to the public. Its creators and owners, the Bouas brothers, have now passed away. Since 2000, the village ownership has been transferred to the Daskalantonakis family of Grecotel.
的Corfu Imperial Grecotel Resort is situated near Bouas Danilia village. Nowadays, guided tours to the village, grand dinners and various other events are offered exclusively to the guests of the resort.
Did you know? Even James Bond has walked the streets of Bouas Danilia village! A Greek wedding scene was filmed there for ‘For Your Eyes Only’.
I highly recommend you check out the first link below to see pictures of Danilia village and more on the filming for the James Bond movie.
If you’re not familiar with The Durrells, the second link below includes a short trailer for your enjoyment, as well as more info on the series.
的Durrells of Corfu series is broadcasted on ITV in the UK, on PBS in the USA and on OTE’s subscription channel in Greece.
I recently interviewed one of the Greek actors who play in series three of The Durrells. Scroll down for details!