THE WHITE HOUSE, CORFU - KALAMI, GREECE
Very special and exclusive holidays in the house of Lawrence Durrell, Henry Miller and Anais Nin - partly with original furnature from 1935. Ca 90 qm with 4 sleeping rooms, dining room/living room, full equipped kitchen, 2 bathrooms (shower/tub). Room service possible. Cleaninf twice a week. Washing machine, Coffee maker, toaster. Breakfast balcony and living room with a perfect ocean view. 2 minutes walking distance to the nice beach with clear water. Parking space.
The White House is one of the most famous houses on the Island of Corfu. It is situated in the touristical but quiet resort of Kalami on Corfu.
The White House is famous because Lawrence Durrell, the well known writer, lived here with his wife Nancy from 1935 until the 1939,- the period in Corfu he wrote “Prospero’s Cell”. (and he got visits from Henry Miller and Anais Nin)
Lawrence describes the House in Chapter I of his book - “Division upon Greek Ground” as “...set like a dice in a rock already venerable with the scars of wind and water. The hill runs clear up into the sky behind it so that the cypresses and olives overhang this room in which I sit and write. We are upon a bare promontory with its beautiful clean surface of metamorphic stone covered in olive and ilex...”
The White House from outside is probably one of the few buildings in the area that has lost none of its character.
A few steps from the upper floor lead to the private patio outside.
Further down you will find the main common patio that looks over the White House jetty and to the Kalami bay.
A well proserved array of flower pots decorates the empty space of the outside patio and the entrance to the middle floor of the White House (home of Anastasios Athinaios, the owner).
Having small space for a proper garden, flower pots have always been a very important part of the Greek and Corfiot outside flower decoration.
Needless to say that the Mediterranean climate is more then helpful to the richeness of this ‘habbit’.
The biggest open space inside the White House is the lounge and dining area together, reaching from one side of the House (the entrance) to the other (the balcony).
Three sofas, plenty of bamboo armchairs and many small tables, decorate the room, providing plenty of resting space.
A big firm wooden table Lawrence used to consider his desk, some chairs and two wooden benches make the dining table of the White House to a nostalgic place.
The new installed French doors make the balcony to a place with privileged views of the sea. This small balcony with its perfect ocean view makes the morning breakfast and night to delight.
The kitchen is very well equipped with a kettle, toaster, toast maker, coffee and washing machine, a big freeze / freezer and a full cooker.
The following text is the outcome a three hour conversation (not an interview) with the godson of Lawrence Durrell, Georgios Athinaios. This document does not show the exact facts but it wants to show what the people who lived with him remember and will pass on to the next generation from mouth to mouth. That is something Lawrence would enjoy too, as he was never reluctant to sacrifiy the truth for a good story!
In 1935, a young journalist called Lawrence Durrell, become the godfather of Georgios Athinaios. The child was named after King George of England.
Durrell felt in love with the island and its locals so he rented the house of Tassos Athinaios called “Prosperos”. That is also the name that he gave to his book (Prospero’s Cell).
He helped Tassos to build an extra floor on the existing structure and named it The White House, because it was painted entirely in the bright Mediterranean white. The Second World War found the house half finished and it was completed after the war.
The construction of The White House brought together a lot of the constructors around the area. Headmaster was “Spiros Mavronas” from Kaminaki and ‘Tassos Athinaios” who was a skilful carpenter.
The White House was built to be Lawrence study, where he would rest and write his books. However, it turned out that his most favourite location was Agios Asernious, a church between Agni and Krouzeri beach. That is where he wrote the “Prospero’s Cell”.
He stayed with his wife and two daughters until 1939 just before the war.
Lawrence was loved by the locals and he loved them back. He used to go fishing with the local teacher Nikos and his brother John Katsaros. He especially enjoyed ‘pirofani’, which is night fishing on the moonless night, using just a torch or lamp.
Lawrence had some really good friends in the island. One of them was “Spiros Chalicopoulos” who had one of the first taxis on the island and “Mary Aspioti”, one of the biggest factory owners that time on the island of Corfu. They spoke a very good English and Mary was one of the first tour guides on Corfu the area.
In 1939 Lawrence left the island and visited Cyprus, Egypt and settled in Marseilles, South France. He also visited once or twice (following he white tradition) the White Island at the South of England.
Much has changed since that time,- however: The White House is still the only single building in the area of Kalami.
At the beginning it was a single storey house, owned by Athanasius Athinaios. The second floor was added for Lawrence and his wife. It is the only building in the area with such proportions and literally at the sea front of the Kalami bay.
Describing the house Lawrence wrote: “... The rooms look lovely and gracious with their white-washed walls, and the few bright paintings and books. The windows give directly on the sea, so that its perpetual sighing is the rhythm of our work and our sleeping. By day it runs golden on the ceilings, reflecting back the bright peasant rugs - a ship, a gorgon, a loom, a sypress-tree; reflecting back the warm crude pottery of our table...”
The rooms where Lawrence lived and wrote in present form a House which can be rented during the winter and mostly summer season.
The ground floor is still the house of the Athinaios family, while the lower level and old fishermans area became the White Houses Taverna.
The White House is a landmark for the island of Corfu and many visitors arrive inspired by the words of Durrell to see and live where he spended a few of the most creative years of his life.
A few years ago the Municipality of Kassiopi, where Kalami and The White House is located, installed a marble plate at the entrance of the The White House in memory and honour of this famous guest that gave so much to this part of the world and to whom all are grateful.
Kalami is one of the most famous resorts on Corfu. But in opposite of many others it is a quiet resort.
Who is best to go there?
It attracts all sorts of people,- from the younger generation to elderly couples and families with children. It has a balanced mixture of lively self catering accommodations, pool bars and tavernas.
Where it is located?
Kalami bay is located on the North East Coast of Corfu under Vingla, Vlachatika and between Kouloura, Gialiscari and Agni Bay.
The main coast road is about 1 km away from Kalami itself, making the resort a fairly quiet location.
The main village is actually spread out equally to the extent of Kalami bay, with old and new accommodations that range from studios and apartments. Private villas with pool are located at the hill sides. However, all of them are just a few metres from Kalami beach.
Except a few apartments up the hill of Kalami, there are no big blocks of apartments and hotel complexes. Kalami is ideal for families. Once you visit Kalami you do not need to leave the resort because everything can be provided.
What should I do there and what could I see?
There are a few local activities taking place during the summer season and also some places to see.
The ‘Varkarola’ takes place at the end of August or the beginning of September of each year. It is a custom for the local chorus to get one boats and sing from the sea. It has become a tradition and is sponsored mainly by the local businesses owners.
Self catering facilities and things to do:
You will also find a few supermarkets, and tourist shops.
There are a few restaurants, tavernas, some pool bars.
Activities including water-skiing, boat trips, boat hire, crazy Ringo rides at later hours, drinking, quiz games, karaoke, dancing and having fun in a normal fashion, avoiding exaggerations.
What is the beach like and its facilities?
Kalami is a blue flagged beach, with all the proper facilities.
On the beach, there are plenty of sunbeds and pedalos to rent. The beach itself is pebbled with a wooden path laid on it to help walking and moving around it.
The seashore is a bit shallow at the beginning but in a few metres deepens enough not to be able to stand.
It is good for small children, however supervision is considered essential. There is one small mooring spot, where most of the boats from nearby bays come to take customers to their tavernas.
What about public transportation?
There are two public busses that reach the hill top of Kalami to Corfu Town, and have a frequent bus timetable in the summer. These are two main ‘green’ buses that reach Kassiopi and Porta. Getting down to Kalami from the main road takes about half an hour. However, there is an elevator and plenty of steps leading through a complex of apartments down to Kalami bay in less then ten minutes time..
Corfu Town 29 km
Gimari 1.3 km
Agni 4 km
Sinies, 3 km
Nissaki, 6 km
Kalami, 15 km
Kassiopi 7 km
You will not have any problems to find money and traveller cheques exchange offices. The nearest ATM is in Kassiopi
The nearest pharmacy (7 km) is in Kassiopi.
A small public surgery operates in Gimari (1 km) and there are also two private surgeries in Kassiopi.
The nearest telephone box you will find on the main coast road, on the way to Kalami. You will also find a post box.
If you would want to rent a car in Kalami it is possible from most of the travel offices in town. There are also daily cruises by coach or by boat.
Parking space is available in certain places in the resort, but not in abandance.
If you want to make a phone call, there a plenty of telephone boxes.
Vespa hire is also available.
In general, Kalami Corfu is one of the most organized resorts in Corfu, offering a good accommodation and services for the independant traveller.
If you like to explore the place you visit on holiday, the use of a car is probably the best way to do it. Corfu has a lot of interesting places to go to.
For your car hire, we offer good car hire services. Prices will be settled in a few months and will be published on this page. Follow the link below to do the reservation online so that one of our associates can get back to you as soon as the prices are settled.
A taxi can be arranged to pick you up from the airport when you arrive and to get you back on the day of your departure. In order to help us arrange this for you, please provide us with the following information
For you arrival:
Day of arrival
For you your departure:
Day of departure
Pickup time from the accommodation
We will require a 5 Euros deposit for either way to reserve it. The fee for the taxi driver is directly to him.
Prices will be settled in a few months and will be published on this page.
Probably the most astonishing view of the island of Corfu is the view from the sea. Go around and explore the St Stephanos, Kouloura, Kalami, Gialiscari, Agni, Krouzeri and Nissaki bays. Find a small private beach and spend the rest of the day fishing and snorkelling.
We offer good boat hire service with a long experience in the area.
Rental fee per week:
01.09. - 30.09. 1300,-
01.10. - 31.10. 950,-
24.03. - 15.05. 950,-
15.05. - 31.05. 1000,-
01.06. - 30.06. 1300,-
01.07. - 31.08. 1500,-
01.09. - 30.09. 1250,-
01.10. - 15.10. 1000,-
16.10. - 31.10. 950,-
Attention: for the summer it is necessary to book really early (best 1 year before arrival)
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