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"A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others". - Ayn Rand

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I did it again this year. Booked another walking week with Paul after the nice walking week I had last year. Might do it again next year.

- Lenie B, Switzerland


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Walking blog: The philosophy of walking

Corfu and Cornwall: The Links

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Is it just sheer coincidence that I am equally in love with both Cornwall and Corfu? I also happen to be in love with walking in Corfu and Cornwall. Would it be churlish to say that the only reason is because they both start with the letters C,O and R? Yes it would. However, having looked at it objectively and subjectively there are indeed some similarities to be drawn with both places which do satisfy the more orderly, compartmental and love of research sides of my make up. The words "clutching", "at" and "straws" could be levelled at this but bear with me as if it makes you nod in approval and recognition then I'm on to something (as opposed to on something:-) and this little blog post would be worth the effort. Read on.

Firstly both are at the western most point strategically and geographically of their respective, and I have to tread lightly here, mother country. Yes I do argue for the point that Cornwall has been and still is in many ways independent and of Celtic origin but in the modern times it is part of the United Kingdom. Looking at the history of Corfu it is evident even in recent history of the past few centuries that it has been invaded and run by many European countries, under "ownership" of the British, French and Russians whilst invaded further back by the Venetians, Byzantines and Romans, and many of the Greek city states of Corinth, Sparta and Athens.

Both are climatically different from the rest of their respective country and sets them apart. corfu is known as the Green Island as it has a lot more rain than Mainland Greece. Cornwall is influenced by the Gulf Stream and thereby influenced by the dominant South Westerly winds. In winter Cornwall is a few degrees warmer than the rest of the country because of this.

Literature, Music and Dance have all played a strong part in both cultures. There are myths and legends which are an important part of the cultural stories of both places from the Celtic myths of Giants, Piskies, Mermaids and Witches to Greek Gods like Odysseus placed around Paleokastritsa according to Homer. One story bestrides both Corfu and Cornwall, that of Ariadne and Theseus and Dionysus and Tristan with Isolde and Mark. In one version of the Greek myth that is repeated by Tristan their true love is tricked into believing their partner is dead or not coming back by the report of the wrong coloured sail being raised as a signal whereby their partner dies or throws themself into the sea in desperation. As ever there are many versions of what happened but the plot is too similar.

Presently there are TV productions involving authors who utilised their experiences of living in both places respectively for their stories. Both Gerald and Lawrence Durrell made Corfu their home for a while and in Cornwall Winston Graham who wrote Poldark and Daphne DuMaurier both wrote their stories based around the mining areas and river creeks of Cornwall respectively. I will explore these themes in more details as time goes on, especially the Durrells and Winston Graham.

Dare I mention though the pride of both Corfiots and Cornish who over many centuries have put up with "invasions" of one sort or another, some tragic and life changing, others more cultural and commercial. These themes also need exploration but one thing is for sure. Both Cornish and Corfiot remain proud of their heritage, their independence and their unique culture.