|Ferryboat in the storm|
The other day I decided to try to find the road that links up (according to the map) with the small road to Afra. So I head up the Afra road, from the roundabout and the local taverna (which is closed for a few days for renovations) and its garden and outside tables, which form a shady green area away from the main road with its revving traffic (and no shade).
I walk up, but I don't see any turn-off. I reach Afra (but the map says it is clearly before the village) and walk through it, still no road off to the right. The silence in the village is profound. I see only one person, an old lady, sweeping a few dead leaves from her step. So I head back. I still would not have spotted the road I don't think, except a car came up it just as I was passing. A wall divides the two roads, and obscures the other one, which goes sharply downhill, so it was very hard to see. I walked down, but still wasn't sure. It is a very narrow road, it could have been a driveway to someone's house. But no, it turned out to be the road!
It's bordered by all kinds of trees – oak, olive, quince, pine, cypress, and giant bamboo. In places, it's completely shaded. Only one car passed me the whole time I walked along it. Even the dogs seemed too somnolent to bark.
The road comes out onto the main one opposite the Toyota garage, and the turn-off to Kastania. There is a shiny new sign at the turn-off, indicating one way to Kastania and to Potamos in the other direction. The old one lies in a ditch at the junction. Then it's back along the main road, past two bakeries and cafes, the stationer's on the other side, and the garage with its wood pile.
On the main road I meet the man-who-walks for the second time. The first time was on the Afra road. He walks this way every day (or every day that I have been out, either walking or on the bus) at the same time. He walks very slowly, and carries plastic bags in both hands. (I've gone in a circular route, from my road end and the roundabout, uphill to Afra, then downhill along the back road, returning along the level main road, which is how I have managed to see him twice.) I don't know where he begins his walk, or where it ends. For all I know he walks the same circular route as I did today. Over and over.
The forecast warmed that the weather would change. So I headed to Agios Gordios for what I imagine will be my last swim of the year. First the local bus into town, then a walk to the Green Bus station. The huge bus clambers up the narrow twisting roads to mountainous villages, with views of whole valleys of cypress trees and a mountain beyond. The bus eases itself between the narrow gaps between buildings, then heaves its bulk slowly back down again, to the village resort of Agios Gordios, by the sea.
|Looking down on Agios Gordios from the bus|
It's quiet now, but there are still a few tourists, a few people swimming.
The sea is warm, as ever, and I'm now so practised I find it easy to slide into the water and swim. There are some slight waves and they lift me up and down. As always I wonder where this magnificent force comes from that can lift everything so easily, like the beating of the ocean's heart.
Then the weather changes, as the forecast said it would. Heavy rain, loud thunder overhead and frequent flashes of lightning. The buildings and paving stones of Corfu town gleam in the rain, and there are few people on the streets.