One of the greatest events during the summer in Corfu Island is Varkarola atPalaiokastritsa. Varkarola is an annual event that took place for the very first time back in 1996 and represents the arrival of Homer’s Odysseus at Corfu Island.
It is taking place under the moon and literally into the sea, at the main beach of Palaiokastritsa, usually on the first weekend of August. A festival for which people from all around Corfu and tourists from other places travel to Palaiokastritsa to enjoy.
The story of the play is known all around the world. Odysseus managed to escape Calypso, and with a small raft he is heading towards his hometown, Ithaca. On his way he is shipwrecked by Poseidon, who started a storm in order to take revenge for his son’s blinding, cyclops Poliphimos. A great storm starts, that hit Odysseus’s ship, and he found himself on Corfu.
In the meantime Nausica, the daughter of King Alkinoos, enjoys her bath, and her servants wash her clothes at the same beach where Odysseus is. He stays hidden while listening the voices of the girls, and stays hidden for a little while, until he decides to show himself. When Nausica looked at him she was magnetized by his beauty, and agrees to take him to her palace and help him.
Nausica’s father, King Alkinoos, is so excited to see the hero Odysseus and after listening to his story he proposes him to marry his daughter Nausica. But Odysseus remains faithful to his wife Penelope and doesn’t agree. He asks then from Alkinoos to give him all he needs to return home. The King respects his choice and he gives him everything he wants in order to go back home. And thus Odysseus returns to Ithaca and his beloved Penelope.
In the chorotheatrical scene participate musicians, vocalists, dancers, cheerleaders and dancers on boats and on floating stages, along with the boatmen of Palaiokastritsa while fireworks end the festival. During the play and the narration (which is on both English and Greek) the famous song of Vaggelis Papathanasiou “The chariots of fire” is being played… After Varkarola at Palaiokastritsa a beach party almost every year takes place to continue the feast till the early hours of the next day!
Well, if you would like to join the event I would suggest you to go to Palaiokastritsa pretty early because most of the times, the traffic is high and the three large parking areas get full quite early each year. The best idea is to go to the beach on the afternoon, swim in the beautiful blue sea of Palaiokastritsa and get the best spot on the beach to enjoy both the beach and the festival, just when the sun falls.
On the area, you will find cafeterias and restaurants and of course the organizers of the feast set up a kiosk selling souvlaki, beers, wine, beverages and other stuff.
For more info about Varkarola of Palaiokastritsa, videos and photos, you may visit the official website www.varkarola.com
This year the Varkarola of Palaiokastritsa will take place on the beach of Saint Spyridon on 5 of August.