Every weekend, I try to forget my days in the office and plan interesting excursions with my friends. Besides, in Corfu we can choose to visit a variety of places, according to our tastes, on foot or by car or bicycle; its crystalline waters, its picturesque seafront towns and villages, its hidden beaches and caves, its cosmopolitan resorts will leave you mesmerised. This time we decided to visit the old Peritheia which is actually a ghost village located in the foothills of Mount Pantokratoras.
We are lucky because we have our own car so we choose to leave early in the morning because later the heat would be really unbearable. We take the Ethnikis Palaiokastritsas road until we reach the village of Loutses. From this point the road is quite dangerous; twisting and narrow. Just a few meters away, we see the old Peritheia and the time seems to have stopped back in the Venetian rule of Corfu. Although the village was originally established in the 14th century, during the Byzantine times, it grew and prospered during the Venetian rule due to the need of people to move from the coastal side and protect themselves from pirate and enemy attacks. Its fine Venetian architecture is still all around; in each and every beautiful house and estate. However, when piracy was confronted from the Mediterranean Sea in the late 19th century, some inhabitants started to gradually move to the coasts until the 60s when very few, mostly older, were left to take care of the crops and to keep alive Old Peritheia’s history.
At the entrance of the village, we saw the bell tower of Saint Jacob from Persia.Very impressive is also the fact that the village is surrounded by eight churches, showing the deep religious faith of the locals. We wandered through the beautiful paths; after all they are not so many, admiring the ruins of the houses, abandoned in the hands of nature, who is actually the best decorator. The rooftops were covered with bougainvilleas and ivies and where there was no floor, thousands of daisies and other wildflowers created a wonderful natural carpet. The view from Old Peritheia is spectacular; views reach to the sea on one side to the imposing Mount Pantokrator on the other, with rolling valleys in between.
The sun is now at its highest point; the heat is unbearable and we are starving! We are heading to the village’s square, Foros, for lunch in one of its wonderful tavernas. This part of the village is certainly not abandoned, there are some bed and breakfast and the tavernas are packed; both with tourists and locals. We enjoy the traditional pastitsada, sofrito and cheese pie with homemade phyllo dough. The flavours and the aromas are fascinating- I’m feeling blessed to live in this beautiful island. The beauty of its landscapes and the variety of the recipes you can taste are incomparable!
As the sun sets behind the gorgeous mountain, we walk down the cobbled path; the journey to the past is now close to the end. As the memories meet the thoughts of the present, we stare at the broken shutters and the crumbling stone walls; the bright blue sky shines through the holes and it feels as If the village was back to its glorious times. We look behind for one last time, the buildings are shining brightly in tones of orange purple and pink. The nature is the best decorator after all….