Remote and close despite (or how we met Slovakia on Kefalonia)

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It was half 9 by the time we made it to Kefalonia. And yet again we used google maps to find a place to sleep. Following the navigation we were soon on a small side road, which soon turned into a gravel field road. Given it should be less than a kilometer we’re not giving up. Tom stops the car abruptly on top of a slope. The road at the bottom totally washed away by recent heavy rains, leaving a 1,5 meter deep and 2 meter wide “canyon”. Reversing about 10 meter, there was a place to turn and we had no choice but to drive the road back where we came from. Finding the main road, we continued towards the beach. After finally reaching the actual road to the beach, we were welcomed by a big sign warning of potholes. Not willing to risk another “adventure” we walked ahead to check out the road. Totally eroded, not really suitable for our Fiat Punto Grande. We leave the car parked next to the monastery and walk about one kilometer down the road. Everything we need in backpacks. We were surprised by barking dogs, one crossed our path, but obviously he was more scared than us as he got almost stuck in the fence trying to climb over. Finally on the beach. Midnight and we are setting up the tent in moonlight, bright enough not to use our headlamps. After eating some crackers with olive oil, we’re falling asleep.


Cephalonia 1st night beach


Empty morning beach is screaming “let’s swim naked!”, so we do.  There’s even improvised shower – someone brought the water from a spring uphill to the beach using large hose. Walking back to the car, we met first tourists heading for the beach. From the monastery we drive north to check out Melissani cave close to Sami. Mountain road winds between vineyards and on every corner we see goats, lot’s of goats, typical inhabitants of Ionians. Big car park by the cave was full. We could have already suspected something foul. 7 euro entrance paid and we’re walking down the artificial tunnel dug in the rock. In front of us is the most blue-green colored water of all. Few rowing boats come to where the tunnel opens into the cave. One group out, another in, not an inch to be left unoccupied. We got lucky and were seated opposite to each other, by the oars, uncomfortably close to rower’s armpits. And that he’s been working since morning we found out very soon. The whole tour took about 10 minutes and we could breath freely again. Don’t get it wrong, it really is beautiful, but the mass tourism bit around it is too much for us.


Cephalonia Cave


All that fuss made us hungry and so we decided to follow recommendation from our friend Katerina. We drove to Kyriaki beach to find this small family run taverna. The menu there consists of fish (whatever was fished out in the morning), chips and horiatiki (greek salad). And really, at the time, that was all we needed to be happy.


Cephalonia Beach Restaurant


We traversed the island, had amazing view on Myrtos beach from the road, but let’s leave that for tomorrow. We’re on Paliki peninsula, which is supposed to be even wilder than the rest of Kefalonia. And that already enchanted us. Just driving around, enjoying the views, sliding through the many curves. We’re heading to the very south, where red sanded Xi beach is. We were there, saw it, used local toilets and quickly disappeared. Million people, sunbed next to sunbed.


Cephalonia Xi


Last stop on today’s schedule is Petani beach, where we hope to sleep overnight with a bit of luck. But first some snorkelling between the rocks. Starfish, crabs, thousands of fish.


Cephalonia Petani dive starfish


Cephalonia Petani dive stonozka


Greece isn’t like Mauritius or Maldives, but we discovered some underwater gems here as well. Sun is slowly setting down and we’re turning blueish and rattling our teeth in the water. We wait until all the romantic pairs finish watching the sunset so we can start putting up the tent.


Cephalonia Petani snorkles


Naively we thought we were alone, until a shower of small rocks came down from the cliff above. There’s a bunch of goats up above. We’re obviously in their territory and they came to check out what’s going on here. Suddenly one leans a bit too much over the edge, slips and skilfully, fully controlled, “falls” down to the beach. The rest, maybe 7 of them, came rocking down as well. Luckily our tent stands outside the impact zone of both rocks and goats. The moon is up, almost full now, shining down as if it was still daytime. We’re falling asleep, hoping no goat will land on/in the tent by the morning.


Cephalonia Petani am tent


We quickly pack everything in the morning, before the people get here. Also we want to get to super famous (and super beautiful) Myrtos beach while not packed with tourists. We stop in small local minimarket to buy some breakfast. Greece is perfect in this sense, as almost every shop has espresso machine, where you can get espresso freddo or capuccino freddo for great price. You just have to hold them back with the amount of sugar they put in, otherwise it’s hyperglycaemic coma under a minute.


Cephalonia Myrtos


Myrtos. That Lonely Planet guide wasn’t kidding, Myrtos is really a beautiful place. One thing ruining the mood slightly are the wasps flying everywhere. We discovered secret cave between the rocks as we were snorkelling. One could get there by diving down and swimming through the crack (Tom) or waiting for the right wave to get you over the rocks (me). It felt like in the aquarium. We left the beach shortly after noon, when the beach filled up by tourists grilling themselves under the sun.


Cephalonia Myrtos dive


Next stop was Foki beach. When planned this whole roadtrip, among other things, we found out where the best snorkelling spots are. And Foki should be one of those. It’s a deep bay close to Fiscardo, with  a small beach and many olive trees.


Cephalonia Foki


The snorkelling there was really good, even though we were still stunned by the Myrtos aquarium.


Cephalonia Foki dive


But the biggest surprise came as we were leaving. We’ve heard some people speaking Slovak also earlier, but we didn’t pay much attention. Later, walking uphill to the car, my sight stopped at a mother holding her baby. I though I was seeing things. I shouted out her name and started greeting one another. We haven’t seen each other with Salome for maybe 10 years. And here we are on Kefalonia. They visited Foki just as a daytrip, staying on the other end of island and us, spending 2 days on Kefalonia and stopped at Foki for hour and a half maybe.


Cephalonia Fiskardo

In Fiscardo we re-supplied our stocks of tiropita, spanakopita, baklava and other greek specialties and set out on board of Captain Aristidis towards the shores of Lefkada.


Follow Luba Lapsanska:

Older woman, 33 years old, experienced. She stopped being a doctor and started being a traveller. She likes animals more than people because they don't lie. She also likes looking at the the world through the viewfinder of her camera.

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