Lefkada – last stop on our Ionian islands tour. On the ferry we’re sitting on the top deck, enjoying views over Ithaca island close by and eating the tiropitas and baklavas we bought earlier. Around 7pm we enter the port at Nydri. This was a change of plans, arriving to Nydri, but since the port in Vasiliki is under construction until next year it can’t be helped. Nydri is pure, proper summer resort town. Souvenir shops, night clubs, attractions for tourists. At least 3 on each and every corner. Better to leave this place quickly.
We are lucky that Katerina and Nikos, whose wedding we enjoyed few days before, chose Lefkada as their post wedding chill place as well. This is also one of Greek uniques. Most of our Greek friends don’t feel the need to travel far to tropical paradise like Maldives, instead they go to one of many Greek islands with turquoise sea.
We shall meet in small taverna in Charadiatika village. It doesn’t look like meat free dinner today. In general it’s rather difficult to eat vegan or vegetarian in Greece. At least if you want to choose from mains on the menu. On the other hand you can easily pick a selection of starters and enjoy some really good food this way. Tonight is special though, as locals (including taverna owners) know Nikos from back then when he worked at Lefkada as a doctor. The evening ends after midnight and we set off towards the chosen minibeach on the south coast. On a small road leading to the beach we meet a black and white dog, who happily runs towards the car, as if she was waiting only for us. The pure joy in this pup’s eyes when we open the window and she jumps up on the door… we can only offer some canned fish as reward.
We wake up here in the morning.
One of the most luxurious beach hotels we’ve ever had. We go for a bit of snorkeling in the bay before we go and Tom experiences an encounter with a moray, luckily only from afar.
We drive to Sivota next where, according to some historians, Odysseus landed after his 10 year struggle on the sea (meaning the Ithaca kingdom from legends was really on Lefkada).
Beautiful small port town, marina full of ships from around the globe. We spent there few hours, in a cafe with palette furniture, chill and dream about a day when we sail on a ship like that.
To finish the visit we bought some more canned fish, as you never know, and set out to Porto Katsiki beach. The road takes us over high mountains of Lefkada, which has yet another feeling and atmosphere. Tiny villages, where locals sell honey (from the many bee hives all around), olives, oil and fruit. And the goats again…
Porto Katsiki lies on western coast of Lefkada, under high coastal cliffs and last November it was partially destroyed by an earthquake. Walking down the steep stairs to the beach we notice signs warning of falling rocks, which we experience ourselves maybe an hour later. First we noticed some commotion on the beach as we were in the water (snorkeling of course). A very unfortunate guy was hit by one of the rocks that came flying down from high above onto his leg. Second time we heard the falling rocks to our left as we were lying on the beach. One big enough to tear a person apart fell directly to the sea, few meters of shore, with a geyser of water shooting high in the air. Uncomfortably close to another, this time very fortunate, guy. And the culprit? Goats, selfishly running and jumping in the steep hillside, eating grass and leafs of the bushes, not considering the poor tourists down bellow. And the poor tourists? Instead of running for their lives, they take out their phones to film the whole situation. But ultimately, the goats managed to clear out a good fourth of the beach ;).
By the evening we made it to small town Agios Nikitas, where Katerina and Nikos were staying in an apartment. We planned to place our own apartment on the Milos beach close by. Beauty of this beach lies in it’s relative remoteness. You can only get there by boat, or walk over a hill, both from Agios Nikitas.
We went to check out the beach before dark, so that we know what to expect when we walk there in the middle of the night with backpacks and tent. We even noticed a fellow wild camper on the far end of the beach. It was when we were deciding on where to put up a tent later on that we heard a noise similar to a small airplane. Horse flies! Difficult to say where they came from, as we didn’t notice any livestock anywhere close by, but these little (or rather huge) unpleasant creatures maintained clear areal supremacy over the beach. We could only hope, they’d be fast asleep somewhere by the time we come back.
We drank a bottle of Kefalonian wine we bought earlier on the beach in Agios Nikitas, had a nice dinner in a taverna and a drink in the bar after. We ended up climbing over the hill to the beach around 1am. Using the headlamp may have been a bit unnecessary as the moon was once again shining brightly. We camped in the middle of the beach, putting up only inner net part of the tent again and fell asleep listening to the sound of waves. Breakfast is happening in a safety of closed tent. The horse flies are back! No snorkeling then, I refuse to wave around chasing them away all the time. We say final goodbye to Katerina and Nikos after morning cofee and we head for our last beach stop on Lefkada. On the way we stopped in minimarket in Kalamitsi and bought tiropita again. Still hot, it was the best tiropita we’ve had in Greece! Finally we made it to Avali beach following Nikos’ directions, which yet again include never ending narrow road full of sharp curves.
How we love Avali! Crystal clear water, small hippie style bar with hammocks above the beach and we regret we can’t just stay here for the rest of the day. Snorkeling nothing extraordinary, but the laid back atmosphere of the “private” mini beach we discovered more than makes up for it.
But we had to say goodbye to Avali eventually, get into the boiling car and head for the bridge connecting Lefkada to mainland. In more or less three hours we’ll be in Zagorohoria, enjoying yet another kind of Greece.