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    Guest Writer Stephanie Rafanelli - A Taste of Corfu

    Here at Auto Europe we like to keep things interesting with a variety of different authors, so we're delighted to introduce new guest blogger Stephanie Rafanelli, a fantastic freelance travel writer, describing one of her most recent trips.One of my favourite moments during my trip to Corfu last July was a midnight drive from the coast to the tiny hilltop village of the Rou Estate:After a gargantuan bowl of spicy fish stew and a chilled glass of Retsina (Greek wine), it required the iron will of Hercules (with the strength of Zeus) to drag myself from pretty pebble beach of the bay of Kerasia, on the North West coast of Corfu, back into the car and up the dirt track that winds up through the olive groves to my villa. It was 28 degrees and humid - even after the giant sun had dropped into the turquoise waters of the Straights of Corfu - and the seat of my car was hot and sticky; but as I climbed the coastal road, I opened the driver's window and let the salty sea breeze blow , cool, into my face.In my wing mirror, I watched as the sea fell back into the distance. At the side of the road, locals sat chatting outside their whitewashed homes eating watermelon or plates of chargrilled octopus. They nodded to me as I drove past; 'kalinichta' (goodnight) I shouted as I followed the curves flagged by cottages that took me to the main road.From here, another dirt track continues three kilometers inland to the restored shepherd's village of Rou with its immaculate stone cottages and hilltop vistas. I locked into first gear and began to feed the steering wheel, navigating one hairpin bend after another, slowly ascending the hillside into the darkness. All was silent but the deafening noise of cicadas vibrating from all around; the silvery bark of gnarly olive trees shone in the moonlight. At the end of the dirt track, at the very top of the hillside - I climbed out of the car to sniff the mix of dust, red soil and cypress branches, before lying in the grass to watch the swirls of the solar system, bright over the Albanian headland in the distance.This is the real Corfu - nature, stillness, landscape and stars. It took me just a short car journey inland to escape the crowds and find it.

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