The last sun before winter: A trip to Ipsilos Monastery, Corfu

Ipsilor Monastery

Winter is coming. The leaves are already reddening on the trees and the path beneath my feet has started to crunch with the sound of dead foliage. For this reason, I was glad that my family and I had one last stab at some warm summer sunshine before we started the process of bundling ourselves up in woollen jumpers.

As soon as we got off the plane in Corfu, we welcomed the warmth that seeped through into our rain-sodden bones. For the next two days we did nothing but lounge in the heat and soak up the rays while looking up at the clear azure sky and marvelling at the fact that there were no looming rainclouds nor the stirrings of a gale-force wind (Corfu does apparently have some spectacular storms, but we were lucky to miss them).

However, after the second day we decided it was time to get out and about. We set upon a visit to Ipsilos Monastery, which is perched upon the highest point of Corfu. The original plan was to drive part way up and then walk the last hour, but sadly we couldn’t find where the walk started, so we ended up driving all the way up the twisting, hairpin road. It was not a pleasant drive.

However, once you’re at the top and your heartrate has returned to normal, it really is a spectacular view.

Ipsilos Monastery Corfu

Sadly, the beauty of the monastery is somewhat tarnished by the presence of a gigantic pylon which sits right over the top of a rather pretty courtyard. Our guidebook described this as a pleasing ‘contrast between the old and the new’. We weren’t convinced, and it seems that the monastery owners weren’t either; the postcards sold in the shop helpfully depicted an aerial view of the monastery with the pylon photo-shopped out.

Ipsilos Monastery Corfu

The beautiful pylon…

Nonetheless, the views over Corfu were still breathtaking and the monastery itself was very beautiful. I’ve never been inside an Orthodox building before, so it was interesting to see.

I was hoping to catch sight of the lone monk who resides in the monastery during the summer months, but sadly he was hidden away somewhere.

Ipsilos Monastery Corfu

Once we’d filled our eyes with the views and rummaged through the shop, it was time to descend down that steep winding road. Suddenly I craved the flat plains of Norfolk, but then I remembered the rain and wind, so I steeled myself and we started the long trip back down. I’ve never been so glad to get out of the car!


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