The sunset is luminously peaceful, the water of the pool reflecting the umbrellas, sunloungers, tables and chairs now empty as guests get ready for dinner. But they are missing one of nature’s most beautiful shows, as the sun sinks slowly behind the dusky islands outlined across the sea, which is so still, it’s more like a painting than reality.
I’m sitting sipping a cocktail bedecked with requisite umbrella, ice and fruit, on the second day of a very special holiday at Vicky’s Apartments in Aghios Stephanos on Corfu. I first visited Greece in the late 1970s on a cheap package holiday. My boyfriend and I stayed in a youth hostel in the middle of Corfu about 30 minutes walk from the almost deserted Myrtiotissa Beach. Back then, the island had few visitors and was delightfully unspoilt. I’d fallen in love with it via that famous book, My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell, recently remade into the TV series The Durrells.
Now I was back and glad I was staying in tranquil Aghios Stephanos on the NE coast and not in one of the very busy touristy resorts around this extremely popular island. My friend Liz and I had spent the day on the beach, which is a short totter from our apartment. With soft golden sand and shallow, crystalline water, it’s the perfect place to relax, swim and unwind. We return to the pool for an excellent lunch of Greek salad, calamari, toasted cheese and ham sandwiches, wine and beer. The pool bar is run by George, the charming barman and his wife, Nicola, a very good cook.
In the afternoon we return to beach from more swimming and sunbathing. But it’s the sunset that is the real highlight of the day, sending its golden light across the Ionian Sea towards the four Diapontia Islands and Italy in the distance. Tomorrow we will head out for a day’s exploration of northern Corfu but for a few moments, I sit and take in the natural beauty that is sunset on an island in Greece.