A Christmas Story

What better way to celebrate Christmas 2016, than with some treasured moments of summer 2016! This summer we had a wedding, a christening, a sexy fire eater, our live music night and countless endearing moments with people that are far too many to post on this short video.

We had revisits from old friends not seen from way back in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s!  Questions filled my thoughts: Would they think the place still special?  Has it developed too much?  Does it have the charm that it had all those years ago?  I’m pleased to say that my worrying was all in vain! Thank you all for making this summer so special!!

Here are but a few of the festive shenanigans that occurred at the Hotel Nafsika in 2016!

God bless us, every one!”

Advertisements

Hotel Nafsika’s Thanksgivings – Summer 2014

On this Throwbackthursday and on this day of Thanksgiving, Hotel Nafsika gives thanks to all of its guests and patrons for making the summer of 2014 special.

Although most of the world does not celebrate Thanksgiving Day, a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year, we at the Hotel Nafsika would like to give thanks to all of our guests and non-guests alike with this video.  (This video was supposed to be posted yesterday but uploading in this part of the world is a b*tch!)

Summer 2014 was not without its challenges: my father falling and breaking one of the bones in his pelvis; staff getting sick and not working most of the season; the economic climate in Greece not abating in the face of our politicians saying they are seeing a light at the end of the tunnel and local government not providing services even though we are paying them through the nose!

Yet with all these hardships and others, we give thanks to this past season and dare to be grateful for who we are and what we have. Our Thanksgiving is perpetual.

Once upon a rainy day at the Hotel Nafsika.

Corfu is one of the prettiest islands in Greece and one reason for this is that it rains much more on this island than any other island in Greece. Labeled ‘the Emerald Isle’ for its striking sea of greenery and olive groves.

Many people are surprised at how much it rains on the island, some say as much rain as London gets but this only explains its lush greenery and breathtaking beauty. Flowering bushes, shrubs, olive and cypress trees cloak most of its rolling landscape, and in spring the island is bursting with beautiful wild flowers.

Luckily for the people of Corfu, it has a long dry summer which makes it an ideal destination for holiday makers as it mainly rains in the winter months. Although not tropical in character, it is not unusual for it to rain in the morning and the sun to come out in the afternoon. As this video above illustrates!

 

Avliotes Carnival 2014

This year’s Avliotes Carnival on the north-west side of Corfu in Greece, despite its usual problems of weather and last minute arrangements, went without a hitch.  It was blessed with a mild warm day and a huge turnout even though it was raining in the morning!

This year’s theme, if there was a theme to the carnival,  would be of ‘politicians that don’t keep their promises’!  This of course is nothing new nor is it something which happens only in Greece but it exist everywhere!

This years Karnabalos (Carnival King) is of a politician asking to be re-elected! The carnival participants were satirizing daily life through the various floats in the parade:  for example when will roads be completed ,  filling in the endless pot holes,  trusting political parties since they got us into this crisis,  the graft and corruption which have made our politicians wealthy!

Lampooning these conditions is an outlet for our anger and impotence to change things.  A way to let off some steam, sadly our politicians are immune to our cries of dissatisfaction!

Merry Christmas 2013

Wishing all our friends all over the world
a very Happy and Merry Christmas!

from all your friends at the Nafsika Hotel
in Agios Stefanos Beach, Avliotes,
in Corfu, Greece.

My Small Slim English Wedding

This summer we did something that we had not done before, ever…..

Paul and Stevie's arrival at the Nafsika.

Paul and Stevie’s arrival at the Nafsika.

we catered for a small English wedding!  Here at the Hotel Nafsika we have catered for weddings before but they were Big, Fat and Greek!  So when Paul and Stevie first mentioned that they wanted to have their wedding at the Hotel Nafsika, I was really honoured that they would entrusted me and all at the Nafsika with this task.  I have known Paul and his family for the longest of time.  Paul was a youngster when he and his parents, Craig and Sandra first started coming here in the 1980’s along with his other siblings.  When he was older he would visit Corfu by himself and later with Stevie, the love of his life, and wherever he stayed on the island he would always come to say Hello! to us here in Agios Stefanos Beach where ever he might be staying on the island.  This shows you the type of person he is and his love for the Hotel Nafsika and the village!

Craig, Sandra and family by the pool during the cocktail hour!

Craig, Sandra and family by the pool during the cocktail hour!

Once they have secured the venue, Paul and Stevie needed help with the other wedding arrangements, so I sent them the San Stefanos Travel, as they were the wedding experts in the village.  They have done many weddings of this type and I knew that they would arrange everything without hitch!

Sealed with a loving kiss at the end of the ceremony!

Sealed with a loving kiss at the end of the ceremony!

As I said, we have catered for many Greek weddings from our very early years of our existence.  When the hotel was first built-in the late 1970’s my father purposely made the dining room large so that we could cater for weddings.  Only when the guest list began to be 300 and 400 plus people large did we decide to stop doing them.  Other reasons are that most weddings take place in the winter as in the summer it interferes with the running of the restaurant in the hotel and in the winter Agios Stefanos Beach is too cold and unreliable with the weather to guarantee a trouble-free wedding.

Wedding table arrangement!

This traditional centerpiece is simple but classic.

The weather of course can make or break a wedding, not only here in Corfu but anywhere in the world which is why all of the world most take place in June, a nice safe month!  Here we can have them all summer long!  My biggest fear though was having a Maestro, a fierce northerly wind blowing on the day of the wedding.  Not that this wind would have spoilt the wedding but it would not have been ideal.  But the actual wedding day was blessed and perfect in every respect!

The groom giving a speech at the beginning of the festivities!

Paul, the groom giving a speech at the beginning of the festivities!

Having been to an endless amounts of weddings in America I knew how to arrange this one along similar lines. Sandra, Paul’s mother and I were emailing each other all winter long deciding how to organize the reception.  We both agreed on having a cocktail hour beforehand at the Hotel’s pool bar, BarOne, only that we would serve Prosecco with cherries as they were in season instead of cocktails.  Sandra thinking small ordered 10 bottles for their humble group of 19!

The meal would consist of a medley of Greek Mezzes (starters) and a choice of 3 main courses: a fish dish, a chicken dish & a meat dish.  Being our first English wedding and wanting to please my long time friends, I might have gone a bit over board with the starters as I kicked off the wedding banquet with: bruschetta, taramasalata, tzatziki, hummus, ktipiti, meatballs and a few others dishes.  There were so many starters that I had to cancel a few that I have not mentioned as the wedding party were clearly defeated by my onslaught of Greek appetizers.

The main course meals consisted of Fennel Fillet of Sole, Rosemary Chicken, and as Craig and Sandra wished, Spit-Roast Leg of Lamb!

All this was followed by the wedding cake and fruit and of course, Greek dancing!  Sandra wanted to surprise the newlyweds with a live band and even though Paul and Stevie found this out as someone ‘let the cat was out of the bag’ but they took it in true fashion by asking me to teach them a few Greek dances.  The music all evening was all Greek, in fact, very traditional folk music at that, but went like a charm with everyone dancing to it regardless of nationality.  Sandra and I both agreed that the hotel guests should be considered as honoured guests and not be excluded from the festivities so what started out as a small English wedding, it turned out into a Big English Wedding!

During the evening Sandra had given all the guests a Thai Sky/Fire Lantern to let loose into the night sky.  It was very beautiful as it was as quite a few of the lanterns reached the heavens.  Personally, I prefer our old fashioned declaration of setting the wedding in progress by letting off fireworks or even the more traditional Corfiot custom of exploding dynamite!  All serve the same purpose, to announce to the world the joining of 2 people into a sacred bondage.  Needless to say, they did not burn half of Corfu doing it, though it did cross my mind!

What made this wedding so fabulous is that everyone participated in the festivities regardless of any cultural difference, you must remember the band was playing Greek folk music so when I asked them if they knew any modern English songs they told me that they knew how to play ‘O Sole Mio’ so they played it…  and guess what?  Everyone danced to it!

I would like to thank Paul, Stevie, Sandra, and Craig along with the rest of the family guests and honoured guests who all contributed to a magical summer’s evening, enjoyed by everyone!

Super Full Moon

One of the biggest celestial events of the year was upon us!

The biggest and brightest full moon of the year graced the Corfu sky early hours of Sunday night/Monday morning as our celestial neighbor swings closer to the Earth than usual. Here are some photos taken at Agios Stefanos Beach in Corfu, Kerkyra, Greece.

Super full moon shining over the Hotel Nafsika

Super full moon shining over the Hotel Nafsika

A Super Moon occurs when the Moon is at its closest approach to the Earth at the same time it is full or new. Super moons are caused by the shape of the Moon’s orbit, which is not a perfect circle, but an ellipse, or oval, shape. The Moon orbits the Earth once each month, and each month reaches a point farthest from the Earth, called apogee, and closest to the Earth, called perigee.

Super full moon shining over BarOne and the pool.

Super full moon shining over BarOne and the pool.

Moon watchers won’t be able to notice the difference with the naked eye. Still, experts say it’s worth looking up and appreciating the cosmos.

Super full moon... June 2013

Super full moon… June 2013

The moon will come within 222,000 miles (357,000 kilometers) of Earth making it a majestic celestial wonder.

Super full moon trying to get through some clouds

Super full moon trying to get through some clouds

Happy Super Moon gazing!