Posted by: travelrat | December 3, 2017

Mouse Island

‘This island was inhabited by an elderly and extremely verminous monk, whose major function in life appeared to be ringing the bell in the matchbox-sized church, and rowing slowly to a neighbouring headland in the evenings, where there was a small nunnery, inhabited by three ancient nuns’

(Gerald Durrell: ‘Birds, Beasts and Relatives’)

Mouse Island

Having done our reconnaissance on the ‘hop on/hop off’ tourist bus, we returned to Kanoni the following day, by way of the local KEM bus. This time, we descended to sea-level by the steep stairs, and inspected the trim, white-painted Vlacherna Monastery of Panayia. It stands on a little islet, joined to the mainland by a causeway, and from here, the boats will ferry you across to Mouse Island.

Its name comes from its shape, not from any rodent infestation, and is sometimes said to be Odysseus’ ship, turned to stone by the gods for taking him home. It only takes a short while to be ferried across.

‘I’ll be back in half an hour!’ said the boatman, and that’s really all you need to see the island. The only building on it is the church, and, of course, a little souvenir shop. There were formerly a couple of other houses, too, but these are long gone. Nevertheless, Lawrence Durrell wrote in ‘Prospero’s Cell’  that it: ‘ … defies paint and lens, as well as the feeble word …’

Church on Mouse Island

After we returned to the mainland, we walked across another causeway, across the Halikipoulou Lagoon to Perami. During his stay on Corfu before the war, Gerald Durrell lived here … and his ‘chess-board fields’ were close to hand. But, I think it’s possible they are no more, for it’s now the site of the island’s airport.

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