Durrell’s Corfu

White House Durrell

“The little bay lies in a trance, drugged with its own extraordinary perfection – a conspiracy of light, air, blue sea and cypresses.”

This beautiful phrase from Lawrence Durrell wasn’t actually about the bay where he and his family had a house in Corfu before the outbreak of the Second World War; rather, he was speaking of nearby¬†Paleokastritsa but he could just have been talking of the bay at Kalami where the family lived their curious life together:

The Durrells in Corfu

The Durrells left Corfu in 1939, never to return, and Lawrence famously regretted his own writing about it, thinking that he had encouraged the mass tourism which he abhorred. Yet on a recent visit, the beauty of those bays in both Corfu and neighbouring Paxos remain intact, seeming quite able to absorb the bobbing white charter yachts and the ferries filled with selfie-sticked visitors. There is an uncomfortable snobbishness inherent in the denigration of tourism – it’s OK for me to visit, but not you. The Greek islands seem still to offer a lesson in kind welcoming.

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